Funerals and Halloween: Know Your Rights!
In this post I’m bringing awareness to your rights regarding funerals. What do funerals have to do with Halloween? Halloween typically means fun, candy and scary movies, it’s one of America’s favorite holidays. It’s so popular that it’s beginning to get celebrated in other countries and cultures!
Halloween has been celebrated for centuries as All Hallow’s Eve (the day before All Hallow’s Day). Most of us have forgotten about All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day, which follow after Halloween. In the 8th century, Roman Catholic Pope Gregory III, designated November 1st as All Hallow’s Day or All Saint’s Day, a day to celebrate all saints and martyrs. November 2nd is All Soul’s Day; a day to honor our loved ones that have passed on before us.
In other cultures like the Philippines, All Soul’s Day is celebrated by setting up a table with piping hot food and candles so the spirits can “feast” on the steam. If you’re celebrating All Soul’s Day more likely than not, you attended someone’s funeral. So, there you have it. That’s why I connected Halloween to Funerals and why I’m posting this on Halloween.
If you know people who have passed away, did they write a will and set aside money for funeral costs? Or did the family they left behind have to shoulder the burden of unexpected funeral costs and fight over property? I’ve seen that happen and it’s not pretty. The elders who passed away didn’t leave a will and they didn’t set aside money for a funeral. Their children fought over the property and had to scramble for money to hold a funeral. In the end, those siblings scatted to different parts of the country and to this day are on bad terms. Don’t let this happen to your family. Prepare ahead of time and all will be well.
More often than not, we don’t want to think of the day we die and we don’t prepare ahead of time. If you don’t prepare ahead, your loved ones will be reeling from the grief of your loss and they will not be completely “present” as they prepare your funeral. This is when unscrupulous funeral homes will do what they can to take your family’s money. If you’re not vigilant or aware of your rights, it’s easy for someone to take advantage of you. Because of this, laws were written that specifically protect you and give you the right to chose. If you’re not aware of what those rights are, you will be taken advantage of, and that’s not something any of us want.
My friend, Delbi Smart, a pre-need manager for Neptune Society, says we were all born on this earth and we’re all going to die, so we need to prepare for our passing now, instead of leaving it to our loved ones after we’ve gone. This should hit home for all of us because it’s true. We all know that our time on this earth is finite and tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Below you’ll find resources that can help you with this process.
Funeral Consumers Alliance is a non-profit organization that protects consumer’s rights to choose a meaningful, dignified and affordable funeral. Their website is a good place to start to learn about your rights. For example, did you know funeral homes are required to give you price quotes over the phone at your request? They have a nice article about Four-Step Funeral Planning. They have an article explaining how to read a funeral home’s general price list (GPL). They also have a spiral bound funeral planner available for purchase.
The goal of this organization is to promote the understanding of ethical issues for the funeral industry. They have a great resource that provides consumer rights for every state.
The article that I’ve linked for you above provides 2 great downloadable pamphlets about paying final respects and shopping for funeral services. They also have a great series of articles about shopping for funeral services.
Burial & Cremation Laws – State Specific
Burial and cremation laws are specific to the state that you live in. NOLO.com has a great resource that can connect you to state specific burial and cremation laws.
Cremation Society of Nevada has a great article with cremation FAQs just incase you’re interested in learning more about the process.
If you’re interested in cremation and you want to get started planning for the future. You can contact a Pre-Need Manager in your area and they will answer any questions that you have. The great thing about this company is that if you pass away overseas they will bring your body back at no extra charge to your family, it’s part of the services they provide.
*I’m not affiliated with Neptune Society and I have not been paid to advertise for them.
These are jumping off points for your own research into funeral planning. There’s a lot of great information out there so make sure you understand your rights completely before approaching a funeral home. The laws and requirements are specific to each state so make sure you know the laws that apply to you. I hope that this article has helped open your eyes to your rights and what’s available to you. Good luck, and God bless.