Your Legal Rights

Pennsylvania State Funeral Laws

In Pennsylvania, you are not required to use the services of a funeral director.

The State Board of Funeral Directors is responsible for the regulation of the funeral industry in Pennsylvania. The Board has nine members. Five funeral directors, two public members, one person from consumer protection, and the commissioner. The board licenses funeral directors, director trainees and funeral homes. You can file a complaint about a funeral home here.

Pennsylvania Code

Funeral Ethics Organization provides consumer information and funeral planning rights by state.

Who Has the Right to Control Your Funeral?

Want to be sure that your body disposition and funeral wishes are honored? A Designated Agent or Funeral Agent form 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.

Pennsylvania Statute, Title 20, Chapter 3, Subsection 305, gives you the right to make a statement of “contrary intent” that will override the next-of-kin’s usual authority. This is defined as an explicit and sincere expression, either verbal or written, of a decedent adult or emancipated minor prior to death and not subsequently revoked that a person other than the one authorized by this section determine the final disposition of his remains.

Shopping and Purchasing A Funeral

Shopping for Funeral Services A summary of your rights and protections under the FTC’s Funeral Rules.
Funerales: Guía del consumidor Un resumen de sus derechos y protecciones bajo la ley Regla de Funerales.
Paying Final Respects: Your Rights When Buying Funeral Goods & Services
Complying With the Funeral Rule (written for funeral directors, but interesting for all)
Consumer Guide to Funerals, Pennsylvania Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association

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