Since 1982, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has overseen the manner in which funeral homes charge the families they serve. All charges have been standardized into five distinct categories of itemized charges for goods and services selected.
This brief description of the five categories of services and merchandise funeral homes offer is intended to provide as complete an understanding as possible of the cost of the funeral. Should you have any questions about these charges, please ask your funeral director.
These are the charges for the services of the funeral home's licensed staff. These individuals embalm, dress, and casket the deceased and arrange, supervise and conduct the funeral.
Other Staff and Related Facilities
These are the charges for other services of funeral home staff and for the use of the funeral home premises and equipment. These charges are usually inclusive from the time the deceased was transferred from the place of death to the funeral home, through use of the funeral home for identification purposes, to visitation and/or services.
Transportation charges include the staff and vehicle used to transfer the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home, and the hearse, limousines, flower, clergy and family cars you have chosen.
Merchandise usually consists of the casket, outer enclosure or burial vault, or urn. Other items in this category include prayer and acknowledgement cards, register books, name plates, grave markers, burial clothing or any packaged set of memorial goods.
Estimated Cash Disbursements
Cash disbursements are moneys that the funeral home expects to pay to others on your behalf because advance payment is required. Some examples of people who would receive cash disbursements are the cemetery, church/synagogue or clergy, etc. Due to the timing of the funeral arrangement—hour, date, or holiday—the funeral home may have had to estimate what advances you wanted. Your final statement will have an accurate settlement of these charges. In New Jersey, funeral homes do not charge a fee for this service.