Section 78.1 - Contents of statement

Section 78.1 Contents of statement.

(a) Every person licensed pursuant to article 34 of the Public Health Law, including funeral directors and funeral firms, shall furnish at the time funeral arrangements are made for the care and disposition of the body of a deceased person, to the person or persons making such arrangements, a written statement which shall include, but not be limited to, the price of the funeral, including an itemized list of the services and merchandise to be furnished for such price, as required by paragraph (b)(4) of this section. No reference to the Public Health Law or administrative rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto shall appear on the front or back of such statement except as required by the public notice in section 78.2 of this Part.

(b) Such statement shall include the following:

(1) true firm name and address as registered with the department;

(2) the signature and printed or typed name of the funeral director or undertaker making funeral arrangements and the date such statement was furnished to the customer;

(3) name of deceased together with the place and date of death;

(4) the price of the funeral together with the price of each item of service and merchandise actually to be furnished. The itemization of prices shall be contained in a written statement similar in form to that contained in section 78.2 of this Part, and shall be limited to the statements, language, titles, and the numerical order contained in said section. The itemization shall be completed as follows:

(i) The charging of expenses related to the overall cost of doing business under "overhead", "administrative costs" or any similar title, is prohibited.

(ii) The statement of "cash advances" shall be in compliance with subdivision (k) of section 77.12 of this Title in regard to those services or merchandise required to be listed as cash advances.

(iii) Charges for additional services and merchandise selected by the customer, which the funeral firm purchases for the customer, such as hairdressing, flowers, death notices, pallbearers, clothing or burial garments, musicians and watcher, catering services, food, and nonalcoholic beverages, shall be specifically described and may be made either as a "Funeral Home Charge" under the section "Additional Services and Merchandise Selected," if the funeral firm charges for its services in purchasing these items, or as a "Cash Advance," if the funeral home does not charge the customer in excess of the amount advanced to a third party. If the funeral firm charges more than it advances to a third party or receives and retains a rebate, commission, trade or volume discount or other benefit, the items must be listed under the heading "Additional Services and Merchandise Selected."

(iv) Under the heading "Cash Advances," the price for each cash advance item selected shall be listed to the extent known or ascertainable at the time the itemization form is completed. If prices are not known or ascertainable, a good faith estimate shall be listed. The actual charges for any estimated prices shall be provided in writing to the person making the arrangements before the final bill is paid.

(v) Items listed under the heading "Additional Services and Merchandise Selected" shall be the actual charge and shall not be an estimate even when the item is to be purchased by the funeral firm from a third party.

(vi) Charges for preparation of the remains. The charge for embalming shall include all items of service incidental to the disinfection and preservation of the remains. Charges for "other preparation (excluding embalming)," that is cosmetology, dressing/casketing and restoration, shall be listed if selected. If a charge is incurred for "other," the service provided must be specifically listed. A charge for topical disinfection may only be listed when the remains are not to be embalmed and this service is selected. The charge for "custodial care" shall be listed, if applicable. A separate charge for the use of the preparation room shall not be listed as the use of this facility is incidental to the "preparation of remains." A separate charge for "hairdressing" may be made under either the heading "Additional Services and Merchandise Selected," if it is a "Funeral Home Charge," or under the heading "Cash Advances," if the funeral director does not charge the customer in excess of the amount advanced to a third party.

(vii) Items listed under "Funeral Home Charges" shall not be estimated and the term estimate shall only appear on the statement in reference to cash advance items.

(5) Under the heading "Explanation of Charges," a clear, concise written description of the reasons for an embalming charge or any other charge made necessary by cemetery requirements, crematory requirements or other selections made by the person making arrangements. (6) The dated signature of the person making arrangements acknowledging receipt of the itemization statement. This must be signed unless the person making arrangements refuses to sign it or signs and dates a contractual statement on the same form.

(c) Nothing contained herein shall be interpreted to prohibit the addition of legal contractual language on the itemized statement form provided that no such additional language, if any, shall be inconsistent with the provisions of this Part. Such language shall appear after the required information in section 78.2 of this Part. The customer shall be required to sign either the acknowledgment required by this section or a binding contractual agreement, which includes the itemized statement, proposed by the funeral director.

(d) (1) True copies of the statement required by this Part shall be consecutively numbered and maintained in numerical order at the funeral establishment.

(2) The following documents shall be retained at the funeral home for a period of not less than four years following the funeral and shall, during normal business hours within such period, be open to inspection by the commissioner or his representatives:

(i) itemized statements;

(ii) funeral bills rendered to customers indicating funeral charges and service/ merchandise provided. Bills for past due balances need not be retained;

(iii) casket invoices or delivery copies;

(iv) outer interment receptacle invoices or delivery copies;

(v) receipts or cancelled checks for cash advance items, except for gratuities paid in cash. Wholesale prices of funeral home merchandise need not appear on casket and/or outer interment receptacle invoices; and

(vi) customer's designation of intentions.

(e) Itemization of social services and other governmental cases shall be in compliance with the rules of the department or agency having jurisdiction; provided, however, that the requirements of this Part are also met. True copies of documents pertaining to all such cases shall be consecutively numbered and maintained at the funeral establishment for a period not less than four years following the funeral and shall during normal hours within such period be open to inspection by the commissioner or his representatives. Where any portion of the payment for such cases is not provided for by such department or agency, itemization shall be governed by this Part.

Effective Date: 
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Doc Status: 
Complete
Statutory Authority: 
Public Health Law, Section 3401