The decision to preplan your funeral is a very personal one. It is very normal to approach this decision with a great amount of anxiety due to the sensitivity that can surround this subject. Those who ultimately take the important step of documenting their wishes regarding their funeral and ultimately sharing these decisions with loved ones usually express a great sense of comfort and relief.
How do I start the process?
Begin by identifying what you and your family need and want for a funeral and how much you can afford. You should know that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Funeral Rule regulates funeral providers. The rule protects consumers by requiring all funeral homes to provide a General Price List with the current cost of each item and service offered. The price list must also disclose information about your right of selection, embalming, containers for cremation, cash advances and any required purchases.
Cash advances are for goods and services that may be paid for by the funeral provider on your behalf, such as flowers, obituaries, a cemetery plot, pallbearers or clergy honoraria. If the funeral provider adds a service fee or receives a discount, refund or rebate for providing this service, it must disclose this fact to you.
Can you plan a funeral in advance without paying for it?
Yes. It is possible to select funeral goods and services in advance with a specific funeral home without prefunding a funeral. You many also choose to pay for a funeral in advance without selecting specific goods and services. If you do either of these, be aware that the price of a funeral usually will not be guaranteed.
When you choose to fund a funeral in advance, you’re entering a contractual agreement with the funeral home. Each state regulates preneed agreements (or contracts), and many states strictly regulate the content of the preneed contract.
Check with your funeral director, the attorney general’s office or funeral regulatory board or agency in your state for specific information.
Who Has the Right to Make Funeral Arrangements in Texas?
Texas law determines who can make decisions about funerals and body disposition -- that is, burial or cremation -- after someone dies. This right and responsibility goes to the following people, in order:
- an agent you name in a written document before your death
- your surviving spouse
- any one of your adult children
- either one of your parents
- any one of your adult siblings
- one or more of the executors or administrators of your estate (as of September 1, 2015), or
- any adult next of kin in the order named by law to inherit your estate.
How to appoint an agent. To name someone to carry out your final arrangements, you must use a form that complies with the requirements of Texas law. You must sign and date the form in front of a notary public. Before taking action under the document, the representative you name must sign it, too. You can find a copy of the form in the Texas statutes (Texas Health & Safety Code § 711.002) or you can download a free form from the Funeral Consumers Alliance of North Texas.
If you’re in the military. You may name the person who will carry out your final wishes in the Record of Emergency Data provided by the Department of Defense.
How can I learn more about planning my funeral in advance?
To obtain detailed information about arranging the funeral you want, contact a funeral home in your community with a reputation for reliability and quality service. NFDA-member funeral homes, as a condition of membership, are required to follow the NFDA Code of Professional Conduct signifying their commitment to ethical business practices. Every circumstance, every person and every family is unique. Your NFDA funeral director will help you plan a meaningful funeral that meets your personal needs and purpose.
National Funeral Directors Association (Headquarters)
13625 Bishop’s Drive
Brookfield, WI 53005
NFDA Washington, D.C., Office