Guide to Arranging a Funeral in Alabama | Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers

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Guide to Arranging a Funeral in Alabama

Dec 28, 2023 | Funeral Home

Planning a funeral is emotionally taxing and can require difficult decisions. You may have many questions about the process — for example, how do you pick a funeral home, and what’s the best way to make the arrangements?

There are a few legal considerations to keep in mind when arranging a funeral, and understanding these aspects can help you make informed decisions during this difficult time. If the funeral home was negligent in some way, immediately contact an Alabama funeral home negligence lawyer.

Alabama Funeral Laws

Alabama has funeral laws designed to protect both the decedent and their family. For example, Alabama is one of few where a licensed funeral director must be involved in many aspects of final arrangements. According to state law, “every funeral service, memorial service, or interment, or part thereof” must be supervised by a licensed funeral director.

Who Can Make Funeral Arrangements in Alabama?

The right and responsibility to make decisions about the deceased’s body and funeral services goes to, in order:

  • you, if you designate an agent in a valid written affidavit to carry out your wishes
  • your surviving spouse
  • your adult child
  • your grandchild
  • either parent
  • your siblings
  • your grandparents
  • your next of kin
  • your court-appointed guardian
  • your appointed estate representative
  • if the state is responsible for the remains, the appointed public officer
  • any other person willing to take responsibility for your body (this could include the funeral director)

Funeral Home Regulations

Your funeral director will carry out arrangements to transport, prepare, and carry out the burial or cremation of a body in Alabama. A funeral director will also file the death certificate and make preparations with the cemetery or crematory. Cremation requires a permit from the medical examiner or coroner, which is also obtained through a funeral director.

Is Embalming Required?

Embalming is the process through which a body is preserved to delay the process of decay and make the remains more suitable for viewing during the funeral. Embalming is not required in Alabama unless the body will be transferred across state lines for burial.

Choosing the Right Funeral Home

Since you must work with a funeral director, ensure they are compassionate and willing to listen to your wishes and concerns. If you aren’t sure where to start looking, check online reviews and ask people you trust for recommendations.

Once you decide on a funeral home, you’ll meet with the director to decide which services you need and discuss expenses. You will be given an itemized statement and decide how to make payment. Ultimately, you should choose a funeral home that meets your budget and makes you and your family feel comfortable. A reputable funeral home will be understanding and help guide you with professionalism.

Common Pitfalls when Choosing a Funeral Home

Deciding where to hold services is a delicate decision often made while emotions run high. Some of the most common pitfalls grieving families fall victim to include:

  • Rushing the decision
  • Not verifying that the funeral home and its staff are properly licensed
  • Not visiting in person to see the facilities
  • Being pressured on price by aggressive sales tactics
  • Not obtaining a written agreement

Choosing the wrong funeral home can not only leave you dissatisfied with the services you receive. In some cases, you could also unwittingly end up a victim of funeral home negligence.

When to Contact a Funeral Home Negligence Lawyer

You may be able to pursue a lawsuit if a funeral home mishandled your loved one’s remains or violated the law in some way. Some common examples of funeral home negligence and abuse include:

  • mishandling or abusing remains
  • cremation or burial errors
  • unlawful business practices, such as failing to provide an itemized receipt
  • improper cremation, mixing cremated remains with others, or losing the remains
  • property theft stealing property from the body

If you suspect the funeral home was negligent or regulations weren’t followed, you can file a complaint with the Alabama Board of Funeral Services. Then, you should contact a funeral home negligence lawyer and tell them what happened. If you didn’t receive the services you expected, you may be able to seek damages for your financial and emotional losses. You could recover compensation for funeral expenses and the emotional distress you went through due to the funeral home’s negligence.

Belt, Bruner & Barnett P.C. Can Help after Funeral Home Negligence

You always hope to honor your loved one’s memory and ensure their wishes are respected when planning their funeral. If something goes wrong and your loved one’s remains were handled negligently by a funeral home, you may be able to recover compensation.

The funeral home negligence lawyers of Belt, Bruner & Barnett P.C. have helped many families seek legal recourse for substandard care. To learn more about your legal options, reach out to our team today.

Call (205) 933-1500 or complete our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.