1. Plan ahead but don’t pay ahead. If you want to pay for your own funeral, consider opening a payable-on-death (POD) savings account with a survivor as its beneficiary, rather than a prepaid contract.

  2. Shop around. Use our price and compliance studies and visit at least two funeral service providers. Ask for a general price list; funeral homes and crematories are required by the Federal Trade Commission to hand them out to customers who ask for them in person.

  3. Provide the funeral home with a casket you bought elsewhere. Federal law gives you this right; a funeral home may not charge you a handling fee for accepting a casket you bring in for them to use.

  4. Save no to embalming. It is never required by North Carolina law. It is just funeral home business policy to require embalming for viewings. Negotiating in advance, you might be able to arrange a viewing without embalming, at least for the immediate family.

  5. Choose immediate burial or direct cremation. If a funeral provider offers burials and cremations, it must provide these low cost options.

  6. If you can, find a cemetery that will allow you to be buried without a vault or grave liner. Church cemetery associations usually are the most flexible.

  7. Care for your own loved one’s body at home until burial or cremation. In North Carolina, it is legal for a family to serve as its own funeral director, and we’re learning how to do it.

  8. Transport your own loved one’s body. Yes, you can! Funeral transport is a licensed occupation in North Carolina, but families directing their own funerals are exempt. (Your hair stylist has to be licensed to cut your hair, but you’re free to cut your own hair, your children’s hair or your friend’s hair for free.)

  9. Learn what the law allows and what it doesn’t. An informed consumer is a wise consumer!

  10. Join Funeral Consumers Alliance of the Piedmont and help make funerals affordable for everyone.

Funeral Consumers Alliance of the Piedmont
P.O. Box 14214
Greensboro, NC 27415-4214
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A 501(c)(3) organization