The Funeral Rule, which falls under the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), provides guidelines and requirements to funeral homes for pricing disclosures. Whether pre-planning or purchasing funeral services at the time of loss, referred to at-need, the Funeral Rule requires all funeral homes to disclose pricing and provide consumers upon request with a General Price List that delineates the costs and fees for all services. Consumers have the right and choose only those goods and services that are needed, and are only required to pay for the items agreed too, regardless of whether the arrangements are made in advance or at the time a death occurs.

Funeral Rule Requirements

In an effort to provide clarity for consumers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), through the Funeral Rule, and departments of health in each state, require funeral providers to disclose costs of certain goods and services. The General Price List is the keystone of the Funeral Rule and enables consumers to comparison shop and to select from an itemized list of only the goods and services they want. The list must contain the below elements:

Identifying Information of the Funeral Provider

  • name, address, and telephone number of the funeral provider’s place of business
  • the caption: “General Price List”
  • the effective date of the price list

Required Disclosures in the General Price List:

  • Consumer’s right to select only the goods and services desired
  • Embalming
  • Alternative containers for direct cremation
  • Basic services fee
  • Casket Price
  • Outer Burial Container Price List

Required Itemized Prices:
(only items that are actually offered by the provider will be listed)

  1. Forwarding of remains to another funeral home
  2. Receiving remains from another funeral home
  3. Direct cremation
  4. Immediate burial
  5. Basic services of funeral director and staff, and overhead
  6. Transfer of remains to funeral home
  7. Embalming
  8. Other preparation of the body
  9. Use of facilities and staff for viewing
  10. Use of facilities and staff for funeral ceremony
  11. Use of facilities and staff for memorial service
  12. Use of equipment and staff for graveside service
  13. Hearse
  14. Limousine
  15. Either individual casket prices or the range of casket prices that appear on the Casket Price List
  16. Either individual outer burial container prices or the range of outer burial container prices that appear on the Outer Burial Container Price List

Meeting with Funeral Director

When meeting with a funeral director, they will review with you the list of options to choose from. The pricing must be transparent. In fact, if legally you must buy an item you did not specifically ask for, the funeral director must explain the reason for the purchase in writing on the statement.

However, despite this necessary transparency, the list may not include prices for certain items, such as cemetery charges, crematory services, flowers or newspaper notices. The estimated or final prices for those items will be shown on an itemized statement describing the services and merchandise chosen.

Types of Costs

Funeral costs are typically broken up into two parts: Funeral Goods and Services and Cash Advance or Third Party Charges. Funeral Goods and Services is where the funeral home makes its profit. Cash Advance or Third Party Charges are services provided by other vendors that a funeral home will obtain and coordinate for you. They are not part of the funeral home’s bill, but should be included in the budget when calculating the total funeral cost.