Funerals/case study


Question handled a funeral in which an attendee in the procession had a car accident.although you  put a flag on his vehicle his lawsuit claims you should have had an escort of some type and given written instructions about the rules of the road. Are you liable? do you have a contract with this person and will the law hold you responsible in your opinion ? under what theory of law might you be held liable? could you have minimized your liability in some way? again completed a funeral handled by the brother of the deceased who signed the standard funeral contract . he said his brother had life insurance and you agreed to be paid from it. after the funeral the brother said the policy had lapsed and there was no cash value. he did say his brother had a small  estate and "perhaps" you could get money from it. what do you do now? what do you know about estate law that will help you? what did the funeral home do right or wrong prior to the burial in terms of getting paid ?  3. you have scrimped and saved and want to buy a funeral home. you have two choices however, your current boss has an older funeral home in a residential neighborhood but it has some access issues for ADA purposes and will need some work.  you also know of some land but are unsure about the zoning for a funeral home. what are the zoning  and "Accessibility" issues under the ADA for both properties. what need to be done to move in either property in terms of local state and federal law issues?

You're asking me to do your homework, aren't you.

1. No liability. Idiot should know how to drive.
2. Brother who made the arrangements is liable for the cost of the funeral. That said, you should have checked the insurance policy *before* providing any services. Some FDs have an extra charge for waiting for estate settlements. FDs are usually paid first out of any assets.
3. Check out zoning and add up the costs to compare the two. Duh!


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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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