There are laws that tightly regulate cremation to ensure everything is done properly. There are also regulations in place to ensure both parties, the family and the crematorium, are protected. While many of these protections are for consumers, there are disposition laws that protect the funeral home as well.
With that in mind, consumers should understand that there are things that a funeral home can refuse to do and other things that can’t be refused. This post aims to provide clarity about what crematoriums can and can’t refuse so you know everyone’s rights are being respected.
*It’s important to note that while there are some federal regulations concerning disposition, many of the laws are created at the state level. The information below is based on federal laws and limitations as well as common practices that are typical in most states.
Crematoriums Can Refuse Requests That Are Considered Impractical or Impossible
The logic here is pretty simple. Both the deceased and family members can have interesting funeral requests that aren’t the norm. Many funeral homes will go the extra mile to accommodate requests – within reason. And there are limitations that can’t always be overcome. If a funeral home feels like a request is impossible to fulfill or too impractical they may pass on being the cremation provider.
Crematoriums Can Refuse to Cremate If There’s a Conflict
Whenever there’s any sort of conflict among family members regarding disposition, the funeral home may steer clear of providing services. This is just a matter of legalities. Conflict amongst family members about the disposition can lead to problems very quickly, especially if it’s uncertain who is legally able to decide on the disposition. In the majority of cases, a crematorium wants all of the required paperwork up front, including a cremation authorization form.
Crematoriums Can Refuse to Provide Services If You Can’t Pay for Them
Cremation is much less expensive than burial, particularly if you opt for direct cremation. But it’s still going to be expensive for most people, and the funeral home is going to want to ensure you have the funds available to pay before they move forward. If you can’t provide proof you can pay the funeral costs then the crematorium can refuse to provide the services. As a business the funeral home has to protect its best interests first and foremost.
Crematoriums Can Refuse Service If They Don’t Want to Perform the Cremation
A funeral home is a business, and businesses can deny someone service because they simply don’t want to perform the cremation. This could be the case if the person being cremated committed a crime or some other heinous act. While funeral homes do try to provide everyone with dignified disposition, they do have discretion in terms of who they provide services for.
Crematoriums Can’t Refuse to Transport a Body to Another Funeral Home
If the body of a deceased person ends up at a funeral home, but the services aren’t going to be performed there then the remains will need to be transported. If you want the funeral home in possession of the remains to transport the body the funeral home can’t refuse. They must release the body or transport it. Most funeral homes are fine with transporting the body when requested, because you’ll have to pay for the service.
Crematoriums Can’t Refuse to Use Third-Party Caskets
A funeral home can’t refuse to use a casket that comes from a third-party provider. If they do try to do so it’s a violation of your rights. The reason there are regulations against this is because there have been funeral homes that upcharge exorbitantly for caskets, even when they are just used for a viewing. If you are able to find a casket for less it’s your right to use that casket instead of one that’s provided by the funeral home.
Crematoriums Can’t Refuse to Release the Cremains for Non-Payment
If something did happen and the cremation was completed without the full payment, the funeral home can’t keep the cremains as collateral for payment. They must release the cremains if the next of kin wants them. Just don’t expect the crematorium to take on the expense of mailing them. Most likely you’ll have to go pick up the cremains yourself.
This consumer protection is why almost all funeral homes require payment upfront before providing services. However, that doesn’t mean the crematorium must hold on to the cremains indefinitely if the family doesn’t come to retrieve the cremains. There are time limits for how long a crematorium must store cremains before they are disposed of according to the local laws.
Crematoriums Can’t Refuse Requests for Specifics About Expenses
Funeral costs can be a bit obscure. Funerals typically cost thousands of dollars, but it isn’t always clear what you’re paying for. It’s possible for a family for end up paying for services only to find they don’t meet their expectations or don’t include everything they thought would be included. Worse still is when a family agrees to pay a certain amount for services only to be hit with extra charges and fees that dramatically increase the cost.
That’s why the federal government came up with the Funeral Rule that requires funeral homes provide a General Price List with the costs itemized. This makes it easier to tell exactly what you are paying for and how much each service or item costs. If you request this information the funeral home can’t refuse to provide it. Under the federal law they are required to do so.
At Cremation.Green we work hard to ensure families are treated fairly while we’re conducting business. We encourage families to take advantage of pre-planning a funeral so that you have time to work out all the specifics and fully understand the expenses that are involved.
If you’d like to discuss pre-planning a cremation or need to arrange a cremation please give us a call, text or email any hour of the day.