Funeral Services

Are there any laws regarding funeral homes?

Yes, the federal and state governments have rules that funeral homes must follow. The funeral home cannot make you buy goods and services that you do not want.

Is the funeral home required to give me detailed pricing?

Yes, the funeral home must give you the information you need to make decisions. You have the right to ask about the cost of individual items and services. If you ask the funeral home in person, the funeral home must give you a written price list of goods and services.

Should I pre-pay for my funeral?

Planning ahead is a good idea. Your wishes for your funeral can be specified, and you can pay for the cost of the funeral before your death to ease the financial burden on your family. Many funeral homes will agree to furnish goods and services for a set price, regardless of when you die. If you pre-pay for your funeral and burial, get your plan in writing and give a copy to your family.

What information will the funeral home need when my loved one passes?

The funeral home will likely need the following information about your deceased relative:

  • Full name, date of birth, place of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Occupation
  • Father’s name
  • Mother maiden name
  • Marital status
  • Education level
  • Attending physician
  • Newspaper for obituary
  • The place where the service will be held
  • The name of the minister who will be officiating the service
  • Church affiliation
  • Cemetery plot information
  • Military discharge information
  • Names of pallbearers
  • Services and goods to be provided by the funeral home

Are there any special funeral benefits for Veterans?

Anyone who was a member of the military at their death or honorably discharged before death is eligible for special benefits. You should ask about the following:

  • Burial in a National Cemetery
  • Burial flag to drape the casket
  • Grave marker to mark the grave (Veteran must have served at least 24 months of active service or be a Persian Gulf War Veteran).

What if Social Security still sends my loved one’s benefits after his or her death?

Social Security benefits end at death. If you get Social Security benefits belonging to the deceased after his or her death, you need to return the check or money to your nearest Social Security office.

Funeral Services PDF

Acknowledgements & Disclaimer: This Fact Sheet was prepared by West Tennessee Legal Services (WTLS) and made possible by Serving Tennessee Seniors-administered by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at the request of the Chancery Court. WTLS thanks the Tennessee Bar Association for its permission to use The Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors (2014 edition) as a primary information source. This publication is supported, in part, by funds provided by the Southwest Area Agency on Aging and Disability, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The content herein does not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of the Southwest Area Agency on Aging and Disability or any agency of Tennessee or the U.S. government. Fact Sheets are for information only and not intended to replace legal advice. If you are in need of legal help, call WTLS at (800) 372-8346, or seek the help of a private attorney. (Revised 5/2017)