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Funerals/death certificates and prepaid expenses


My father past away 5 1/2 weeks ago at the VA in MO. and we have not received the death certificates yet - how long should we wait before filing a complaint? On a prepaid funeral, is it normal to see upwards of 30% in extra charges for a simple service?

What does the funeral home say about the delay for the death certificate. Ten days should be all it takes to get a certified copy. Tell them that you are going to file the complaint if you don't have it within a week. You can find a complaint form for the Funeral Board here --

What were the extra charges for on the prepaid funeral? Opening and closing the grave, for example, is not typically prepaid. Did the funeral contract say it was a guaranteed price contract or a NON-guaranteed contract?


I am now concerned that with a 30% increase you may have a MUCH larger complaint to file. For example, they can't simply charge you more without giving you a price list and letting you make changes if you wish. My phone number is 802-482-6021.


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Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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