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Help Protect Consumers!

There are currently two consumer protection issues that need your help.

1. Help Protect Consumers in New York by having us send a letter to the New York state legislators on your behalf. We strongly oppose the proposed bill that would allow the sale of package pricing of funerals in New York.

2.Help Protect Consumers in New York by having us send a letter to the New York state legislators on your behalf. We strongly oppose the proposed bill which would allow the sale of funeral insurance.

To have us send a letter on your behalf, fill in your name and address at the bottom of this page and click 'Send Letter Now'.

Consumer Protection Issue #1, the following letter will be sent:

NYS Senators & Assemblymembers
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248

OPPOSITION: A4990 (Weprin)

Dear Senators and Assemblymembers:

I am writing to advise you that I strongly oppose A4990(Weprin), the Package Pricing Bill. New York is one of just ten states that require the services of a funeral director. Under current law, one of the best in the nation, the grieving customer selects good and services from a General Price List (GPL) that contains all of the usual offerings of the funeral home during an arrangement conference with a funeral director. The GPL is typically a few pages long and has required FTC and NYS explanations, including that the only non-declinable fee is the charge for basic services. Currently, family members can easily call several funeral homes to compare prices for goods and services.

Under present law, if offered by the funeral home, four fixed price packages appear on the GPL. They are the prices for direct cremation, immediate burial, transferring remains to another funeral home and receiving remains from another funeral home. Generally, the prices for direct cremation and immediate burial are likely to be the least expensive for the family.

Once other packages are added, it will become more difficult for a grieving customer to compare prices. How is the metal casket at one funeral home different from another? Is the price difference from one package to another within a funeral home really worthwhile? When offered three choices people often select the middle one. Are extra items added into packages such as online grief counseling or a picture of the lost loved one on the funeral home website something a family must have? Unless the family really wants every single item in a package, they are better off selecting the goods and services they want from the itemized price list that must be included and is most likely to appear at the end of the GPL.

It is important to remember that grieving family members are very vulnerable. Funerals are one of the largest expenses that many families face and many families spend eight to ten thousand dollars for a funeral according to wwwparting.com/blog. Individuals may plan just one funeral in their lives and most of us are not very efficient when we do something for the first time. New York law forbids a funeral director from criticizing a family’s choices, but a person may be embarrassed and ashamed to change their selections when they see the itemized statement presented at the end of the arrangement conference.

The GPL as it now exists under New York law allows the customer to see what items cost before selection occurs. Vote NO. This bill does not benefit New York families.


Yours truly,


Consumer Protection Issue #2, the following letter will be sent:

Assemblymembers & Senators
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY  12248
OPPOSE: A07838 (Cusick)/S06143 (Lanza)

Dear Assemblymembers and Senators:

I am writing to advise you that I strongly oppose A07838(Cusick)/S06143(Lanza). Current New York law forbids the sale of funeral insurance by funeral directors. The proposed bill would allow such sales by funeral directors who are also licensed insurance salesmen. Receipt of a commission from such a sale would create a temptation to sell insurance rather than recommending prepaid funeral funds be held in trust. Consequently, permitting funeral directors to sell funeral insurance would not serve the best interests of the public.

Efforts of death care providers to encourage prepayment have been quite successful as evidenced by the billions of dollars being held in preneed death care accounts in this country and New York State has arguably the best law in the country protecting those funds. More specifically, preneed funds plus interest are required to be held in a revocable trust backed by government securities and the owner (upon written request) can get that money back from the funeral home. In addition, if the owner of the funds is spending down for Medicaid or for SSI, the money is held in an irrevocable trust with unused funeral funds reverting to the county

Funeral insurance creates other concerns such as:

  • the premiums may exceed the value of the policy
  • the proposed $20,000 cap on the value of the policy, which is expected to increase annually, far exceeds the cost of a traditional funeral for the average family which was estimated in 2017 at $8,000-$10,000 according to www.parting.com/blog
  • many life insurance policies will not pay out for a year or two after the policy start date
  • if the insured dies during the waiting period it is unlikely that all of the money will be returned to the family because the commission needs to be paid
  • if a family cannot keep up payments it is doubtful they will receive all of the money back
  • it is unclear what happens to the policy if a person is spending down for SSI or Medicaid. Does the family get the excess money from a paid up policy not used for the funeral if the person is on SSI or Medicaid? Money held in a revocable trust is available to a family in case of an emergency.

In summary, it is better is to advise a person to hold funds for a funeral in a payable on death account. Small amounts can be added as with premiums, but all the money is available immediately should a family emergency occur. If they still wants to prepay, their money is protected under current law.


Yours truly,

  Yes, send letter #1 to help prevent expensive package pricing schemes
  Yes, send letter #2 to continue to not allow the sale of funeral insurance
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