CLEVELAND — A sudden loss can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and confused on what to do next, especially if you don’t have enough money set aside.
But there are things you want to keep in mind to avoid being taken advantage of when making funeral arrangements.
One of the first things you can do is check if it's registered with the state. Ohio's Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors keep records of those operating. The Better Business Bureau is good for that, too.
“Look for a real website. Many more people are doing a lot of shopping online and they don't know anything about a funeral home…or even reach out to close friends and family and ask them if they have any experiences,” said Marcella Boyd Cox with E. F. Boyd & Son Funeral Home.
Under the funeral rules enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, you have the right to buy separate goods and services. That means when it comes to your loved one’s funeral care, you do not have to accept all items included in packages.
Funeral directors must also legally give you a price list if you ask for it and you don't have to give your personal information first to receive it. It may be a good idea to ask for a written, itemized price list before you agree to anything. You should also read the fine print before you pay.
“You just don't want to be given one price and then you get in the office and find out that there's a lot of things that need to be added to it,” Boyd Cox explained.
As for burials and cremations, Ohio has no embalming requirements. This excludes cases of communicable disease deaths.
There is no state or local law requiring the use of a casket for cremation. So, you can provide the funeral home with a casket or urn you buy elsewhere. A funeral home cannot refuse anything you buy or charge you a fee to do it.
“You just got to really be vigilant and you got to be smart and you just can't take anybody's word just for granted,” said Boyd Cox.
For more information about Ohio funeral laws, click here.