Your Legal Rights

Shopping and Purchasing

Shopping for Funeral Services A summary of your rights and protections under the Funeral Rule law.
Funerales: Guía del consumidor Un resumen de sus derechos y protecciones bajo la ley Regla de Funerales.
Complying with the Funeral Rule (law) The laws as they apply to funeral directors.
Paying Final Respects: Your Rights When Buying Funeral Goods & Services
Complying With the Funeral Rule (written for funeral directors, but interesting for all)

Who Has the Right to Control Your Funeral?

Want to be sure that your body disposition and funeral wishes are honored? A Designated Agent for Body Disposition or Funeral Agent is a legal document that allows you to name a person to be in charge of final arrangements. It is important to have one if you are not married but want your partner involved, if your survivors won’t agree on body disposition (e.g. cremation) or funeral wishes (e.g. a religious service), if you want a home funeral or to not use a funeral director, etc. With no agent named, control is given in the following order:

  1. Funeral Agent or designee on an active duty service member’s DD Form 93*
  2. Legal spouse, NJ registered domestic or civil union partner
  3. Majority of surviving children over the age of 18
  4. Surviving parent(s) of decedent
  5. Majority of surviving siblings over the age of 18
  6. Other relatives according to the degree of relationship
  7. If there are no known living relatives as outlined above, the funeral director may accept the written authorization of other interested parties (i.e., friend, neighbor, colleague)

Important: In NJ, the Designated Agent form needs to be included in your will.
Be sure to talk to your attorney before using these forms.

Designated Agent Information and Instructions
Designated Agent in a Last Will and Testament (if you don’t have a will)
Designated Agent for Body Disposition as a First Codocil (if you already have a will)

Funeral Directors

The State Board of Mortuary Science of NJ is responsible for the regulation of the funeral industry in New Jersey. The board licenses funeral directors, director trainees and funeral homes. You can file a complaint here. See actions brought against NJ funeral directors here. See complaints in meeting minutes.

Cemeteries

The NJ Cemetery Board regulates non-religious cemeteries and its salespersons in New Jersey.
This is their Consumer Brief.
You can file a complaint about a cemetery here.

State Laws

New Jersey Laws
New Jersey Regulations
New Jersey Rule Proposals and Adoptions

Funeral Ethics Organization consumer information and rights by state

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