Your Rights Under the Funeral Rule:

Buy only the arrangements you want. You have the right to buy separate goods (such as caskets) and services (such as embalming or a memorial service). You do not have to accept a package that may include items you do not want. However, you will often find that package prices offer discounts off of items as priced individually on the funeral home price sheet.

Get price information on the telephone. Funeral directors must give you price information on the telephone if you ask for it. You don’t have to give them your name, address, or telephone number first.

Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home. The funeral home must give you a General Price List (GPL) that is yours to keep. It lists all the items and services the home offers, and the cost of each one.

See a written casket price list before you see the actual caskets. Our advice: get the price information before you see the caskets, so that you can ask about lower-priced products that may not be on display.

See a written outer burial container price list. Outer burial containers are not required by state law anywhere in the U.S., but many cemeteries require them to prevent the grave from caving in. If the funeral home sells containers, but doesn’t list their prices on the GPL, you have the right to look at a separate container price list before you see the containers. If you don’t see the lower-priced containers listed, ask about them.

Receive a written statement after you decide what you want, and before you pay. It should show exactly what you are buying and the cost of each item. The funeral home must give you a statement listing every good and service you have selected, the price of each, and the total cost immediately after you make the arrangements.

Use an “alternative container” instead of a casket for cremation. No state or local law requires the use of a casket for cremation. A funeral home that offers cremations must tell you that alternative containers are available, and must make them available. They might be made of unfinished wood, pressed wood, fiberboard, or cardboard.

Provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere. The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it. The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them.

Make funeral arrangements without embalming. No state law requires routine embalming for every death. Some states require embalming or refrigeration if the body is not buried or cremated within a certain time. In addition, you may choose services like direct cremation and immediate burial, which don’t require any form of preservation. Many funeral homes have a policy requiring embalming if the body is to be publicly viewed, but this is not required by law in most states.

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