Honest Funerals

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I have to buy the casket from the funeral home or can I use one I found on the internet for a better price?
  2. Must my loved one be embalmed?
  3. My funeral provider has told me I am required by law to purchase a grave liner for public health reasons, is this true?
  4. Must I pay for a casket if I’ve chosen a direct cremation?
  5. My funeral director has hired the clergy and place obituary notices, but how do I know he won’t charge a huge mark-up?
  6. The funeral home claims that a headstone comes as standard as part of his ‘funeral package’, but can I pay for a funeral without having to pay for a headstone?
  7. What can I do if the funeral director is being evasive about costs?
  8. I believe I was misled by the funeral home, what can I do?
  9. Ask a question or let us know of your experiences.

Do I have to buy the casket from the funeral home or can I use one I found on the internet for a better price?

You have the right to buy separate goods (such as a casket) through a 3rd party dealer and have it shipped directly to the funeral home. The funeral home can not refuse, or charge a fee, to handle a casket (or any other separate good) you bought elsewhere or discourage you from buying the casket online or over the phone. If you are buying a casket online or over the phone, double check on the shipping times and fees. Ideally the casket should be delivered to the funeral home at least a day before the wake just in case there are any problems with the casket.
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Must my loved one be embalmed?

Embalming is never required when you choose direct cremation, immediate burial, or closed casket funeral without viewing or visitation where refrigeration is available. It is prohibited by law for a funeral services provider to represent otherwise. If the funeral director claims that the cemetery or crematorium require it, check directly with them. The same is true of “topical disinfection.”
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My funeral provider has told me I am required by law to purchase a grave liner for public health reasons, is this true?

Outer burial containers (such as grave liners) are not required by law but are required by some cemeteries. If you do not wish to purchase an outer burial container, then choose a cemetery that does not require one. It is illegal for your funeral provider to misrepresent the law or public health necessity for an outer burial container, embalming or a casket. Furthermore it is illegal to make any misrepresentations on preservative value of embalming or an outer burial container to prevent decomposition.
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Must I pay for a casket if I’ve chosen a direct cremation?

If you choose direct cremation you are not required to purchase a casket and the funeral provider must offer the option of an inexpensive alternate container. It is prohibited by law for a funeral service provider to represent that a casket is required. If the funeral director claims that it is required by the cemetery or crematorium, check directly with them.
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My funeral director has hired the clergy and place obituary notices, but how do I know he won’t charge a huge mark-up?

Where a funeral home charges you for goods or services it acquires from outside vendors, these are known as cash advances. Although federal law allows funeral homes to charge a service fee provided they inform the customer, in New York City it is illegal for a funeral home to profit from cash advances. Therefore a funeral home cannot charge any mark up on any goods or services it acquires on your behalf from a third party. If you suspect that the funeral director is padding the charges, check directly with the church, clergy or newspaper and confirm the price.
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The funeral home claims that a headstone comes as standard as part of his ‘funeral package’, but can I pay for a funeral without having to pay for a headstone?

The purchase of a monument is not required as part of your funeral arrangement. In NYC it is specifically required that the cost and arrangements for the purchase of a monument must be set out in a document that is separate from the one under which you agree to the other funeral arrangements.
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What can I do if the funeral director is being evasive about costs?

Your funeral services provider is required by law to give you a general price list of itemized goods and services. The general price list must be given to you as soon as you inquire of the funeral providers services.
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I believe I was misled by the funeral home, what can I do?

You can file an online complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Alternatively, you can file a complaint with the New York Department of Health and mail the completed form to:

New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Funeral Directing
875 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206

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Feel free to ask us questions or let other visitors know of your experiences. Please do not mention any funeral home or funeral director by name.