You are here:

Funerals/I have a POA, HR and name certificate holder on a prepaid funeral and was denied the right to bury my uncle who was like a father to me.


My uncle passed away recently while in my home under hospice care.  I was his Durable Power of Attorney, his health care representative and had a prepaid contract with a local funeral home for my uncle's funeral.

My uncle passed away.  We called the funeral director, who picked up the body, an obituary I had written to reflect the closeness of my uncle to me and my children. ( My uncle's only child had died of leukemia 3 years before I was born, so I was the child that filled that void in their lives.)

The funeral directory told me he would do the funeral for the amount of the policies I itemized list.  I requested it and my e-mail and 3 phone calls were ignored. He went as far as to leave out my name and my children's names on the obituary and was upset when I told him as I proof read it...that was not what I wanted.

I had been contacted before my uncle died by a local insurance company that this funeral director had called them trying to get information on the policies in place for my  uncle and the amounts of these policies.  This was illegal. He had plenty of money to pay for the funeral and he knew this...but he was trying to find more money.

I became concerned about this funeral directory's ethics, so I called another funeral directory to take over for me.  The FD call the first FD and then I get a call from the first FD who was angry...claiming I had pushed his buttons and he no longer wanted to do the service...and to bring $995.00 for the service he had provided.  He had embalmed the body with out our permission and wanted paid for it.  We show up to get the body but told him we would pay him when the funds became available.  He demanded payment or we could not have the body.  We were told to leave the property.

In the mean time, the funeral directory contacts an estranged elderly sister and brother, telling them they had to bury my uncle because they were the next of kin....ignoring my POA and HR and preplanned funeral contract I had with him.

He cons these people into signing a contract and takes away my right to do the funeral my uncle had wished for.  He was told by the Federal Trade Commission to turn over the body if I had those documents.  He ignored the FTC.  

I was so upset!  Now the man who was like a father to me was been held hostage, denying me the right to say my final good byes, because I was ordered off the property of this funeral director's....I screamed in anguish.

Now I had a memorial service to honor my uncle...without a body...and I paid for this service with the policy I had in place for my uncle.

Now this rotten funeral directory is demanding payment from that policy...that I had...clearly stating I was the certificate holder and that I had a preplanned funeral with that funeral directory back in 2010...

I am beside myself.  I need your help and I need a good attorney who knows the laws regarding funeral directors.

This FD has gone as far as stating to the State Police that he had shredded the documents that were signed with me on 2010.

I have contacted the Funeral/Cemetery board and they refused to return my calls.

I reported this to the County Prosecutor who is a friend of the FD and he took no actions against this man.

The Indiana Attorney General's office told me the "moral" thing to do was to turn the body over to me...but they took no action.

I can't believe these federal and state laws have been broken and no one is going after this guy.

This man even went as far as to have me blocked from my facebook page when I shared that I wasn't going to be able to bury my uncle and that the body was being held for the demands of $995.00.  I had previously told people the arrangements and times of service.  I had to correct that....but I was blocked for sharing that information.  At no time did I state anything but the truth.

The laws are in place and it clearly states I had priority over the brother and sister.  I am sorry for them.  They were tricked into signing a contract with this funeral directory.  But they will have to pay for the funeral they planned with their funds, not the ones I had.

Can you help me?  I want justice for this man's actions.

Mr. Butler the other funeral director called me about this. File a written complaint with the state funeral board with a copy to the first funeral home and a copy to me, Lisa Carlson, Funeral Ethics Organization, 87 Upper Access Rd., Hinesburg, VT 05461.

You can see if a lawyer will take the case. It's likely to cost $10,000 or more in legal fees, so it may be difficult to pursue. That said, I'm happy to serve as an expert witness as I have in other funeral-related complaints. I do not charge for consultation. I charge $1,500 plus travel expenses for a deposition and another $1,500 plus for a court appearance. My phone number is 802-482-6021.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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.

©2016 All rights reserved.