Your Legal Rights

Your Funeral Consumer Rights, State by State

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Here's your one-stop-shopping for all your questions about your legal rights. Funeral Ethics Organization, run by Lisa Carlson, co-author of Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death, has generously distilled information from the book into simple tri-fold pamphlets. You'll learn:

  • How to file all death-related paperwork if you're performing the funeral as a family
  • How well or how badly your state laws look out for your protection and your money when you buy a prepaid funeral and how to avoid a costly trap
  • Which state agencies regulate funeral homes and cemeteries and where to file a complaint
  • Gaps in your state's consumer protection laws you need to know before the funeral purchase

Get them here

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 July 2012 16:04 )

Informed Consent: What You Should Know When Donating Your Body

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Recently, more consumers have become interested in whole body donation to entities that make body parts, organs, and tissue available for research, bio-product development, and demonstration of new devices. A crucial element of this donation process is the informed consent of the family, which should, at an absolute minimum, include a voluntary decision based on full disclosure of the facts. To facilitate a fully informed decision, Funeral Consumers Alliance offers the following background and informed consent recommendations for consideration.

Click READ MORE below. . .

Last Updated ( Friday, 16 April 2010 12:37 ) Read more...

Who Has the Right to Make Decisions About Your Funeral?

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Personal Preference Laws for Body Disposition

In more than half the states, there is a statutory obligation for survivors to honor the written wishes of the deceased, to follow your personal preference. In a few states, your wishes may be over-turned in the case of cremation, however. Even if there is no personal preference law in your state (blank entry below), it is better to have your wishes in writing than not at all. Courts routinely support all but the most outrageous wishes.

Download this file (azadvdir2007.pdf)azadvdir2007.pdf[AZ Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney]77 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (Ohio Designated Agent Form.doc)Ohio Designated Agent Form[ ]28 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (txdesigagent.pdf)txdesigagent.pdf[Texas Health and Safety Code]51 Kbm/j/Y
Download this file (WIDesigAgent.pdf)Wisconsin Designated Agent Form[Wisconsin Designated Agent Form]23 Kbm/j/Y
Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 April 2016 15:27 ) Read more...

Caring for Your Own Dead

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It's here! Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death will be published June, 2011, but Funeral Consumers Alliance is shipping copies now ahead of bookstores!

Final Rights
is the definitive book on the modern funeral industry. Written by FCA executive director Josh Slocum and Funeral Ethics Organization leader Lisa Carlson, Final Rights combines journalistic investigation with practical consumer advice. The only book of its kind, Final Rights unveils the tricks of the funeral trade (and how to avoid them) while calling out government regulators who dance to the $15-billion death industry's tune when they're supposed to be protecting you, the funeral consumer.


  • In eight states the law says you have to hire a funeral home, even if you want to care for deceased relative privately.
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 January 2015 14:08 ) Read more...

Filing a Complaint

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How to Start

No one is perfect, including funeral directors and cemeterians. We all make mistakes. If you are dissatisfied with your funeral or cemetery experience, try to settle your concerns with those involved first. That's how you would want to be treated, if it were your business.

Write down everything from the minute you feel you might have a complaint, to make sure you record details while they're fresh in your mind. If another person is with you and shares your concerns, ask that person to write down what happened, too. Sometimes that person will remember additional helpful information. Be sure to date all of your notes. Write down the names of everyone you deal with, even if it is just a first name or a description of what the person looked like. Keep a log of all phone conversations including who said what. If you are reading this some time after events occurred, stop and write down everything you remember right now.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 08 December 2007 09:53 ) Read more...

Was the Funeral Home Ethical?

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Are You Wondering if the Funeral Home You Used Was an Ethical One?

It probably was — IF — you can answer "yes" to these ten questions:

  • Did you receive a General Price List early in planning the funeral and before you made any decisions that would affect the price of the funeral?
  • Did you receive a Casket Price List prior to picking out a casket?
  • Was there a casket on display that cost less than $500?
Last Updated ( Friday, 07 December 2007 16:32 ) Read more...

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