Funeral planning is a crucial and sensitive task that funeral homes handle with utmost care and professionalism. To ensure a smooth and organized process, funeral homes rely on various forms and documents that help them gather important information, meet legal requirements, and provide personalized services to grieving families.
In this blog post, we will discuss 12 essential funeral planning forms that every funeral home should have:
Important note: please note that any examples mentioned in this article are specific to certain state requirements, so you’ll want to ensure that your forms adhere to the specific requirements in your state.
This funeral planning form includes vital information about the deceased, such as their full name, date of birth, and social security number. This form also collects details about the funeral service, burial or cremation preferences, and any special requests made by the family.
A pre-need funeral planning form is used when individuals plan their own funeral in advance. Families can go over and fill this packet out at home or go over it together with a director. This form captures their preferences for the funeral service, burial, or cremation, family or vital statistic information, and other details. Having this form on hand allows funeral homes to provide personalized services that align with the individual’s wishes.
We recommend that you include a pre-need funeral planning form on your website, similar to this example from the Cremation Society of Idaho.
In cases where embalming is required or requested, funeral homes must obtain written or verbal consent from the family. This form grants permission for embalming and ensures compliance with legal and ethical guidelines.
The California Department of Consumer Affairs has a publicly available template, but be sure to create your own template. Each embalming authorization form may vary by state.
For families choosing cremation, a cremation authorization form is essential. This document confirms the family’s consent for the cremation process and specifies instructions regarding the final disposition of the ashes, such as scattering or placement in an urn.
There are plenty of standard cremation authorization form templates that are publicly available online to base a new template on.
Funeral homes are obligated to provide specific disclosures under the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule. This Disclosure and Disclaimer Form is meant to be reviewed and signed by a decedent’s loved ones, acknowledging a Funeral Home has met the Funeral Rule requirements.
There is no legal requirement for embalming, however many funeral homes require embalming before any public viewing of the decedent. This is due to a health and safety concern for the viewers. If your funeral home will do any public viewings of an unembalmed body, this form will ensure your funeral home isn’t held liable for any undesirable results of viewing the body.
This Authorization for Viewing of Unembalmed Body form provides a great template that can easily be edited to your individual needs.
Casket rentals can be a good option for those looking to save on funeral costs. Casket rental may also provide an opportunity for a loved one to be viewed before being cremated. If this is a service offered at your funeral home, a disclosure (also known as a Casket Rental Agreement or Casket Waiver of Liability) is necessary in acknowledging the nature and conditions of the casket rental and a previously used casket.
When a family opts for a rental casket, they typically sign a rental casket waiver to acknowledge and accept the terms and conditions associated with its use.
A rental casket disclosure form such as this one can assist you in creating your own.
The vital statistics form is essential for filing the death certificate with the state of death, as well as obtaining legal permits and documents required for burial or cremation. It captures required information such as the deceased’s birthplace, parent names, and other details necessary for filing the death certificate accurately.
Divine Mortuary Services offers a great example of a vital statistics information form on their funeral home website.
In general, funeral homes may work with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to facilitate the provision of military honors for veterans’ funerals. The VA provides an American flag via the VA Form 27-2008 to drape over the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran as a symbol of honor.
Additionally, your funeral home can complete the VA Form 40-0247 to provide the decedent’s family with an engraved paper certificate signed by the current president to honor the military service of the decedent if they are a veteran or reservist, as stated on the website of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Another VA form includes VA Form 40-1330, where your funeral home can apply for veterans headstones, markers, or medallions on behalf of decedents and families in your care.
The SSA-721 form, also known as the Statement of Death by Funeral Director, is a document used by funeral directors or morticians to report a person’s death to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the United States. The purpose of this form is to provide the necessary information to initiate the process of stopping Social Security benefits and potentially applying for survivor’s benefits on behalf of the deceased individual’s eligible family members.
This form is only necessary when the funeral or life insurance isn’t already assigned to the funeral home handling the services. This form allows the beneficiary of the policy to assign enough proceeds over to the providing funeral home to cover the funeral costs.
In cases where funeral expenses are covered by insurance policies, an insurance verification form is used to gather the necessary information. This form assists funeral homes in coordinating with insurance providers to ensure the smooth processing of claims and payments.
The Inventory of Personal Property Accompanying Decedent Form is a simple but important form. It accounts for personal belongings and property that were with the decedent during passing.
Creating and utilizing this form safekeeps a decedent’s personal belongings and can prevent misunderstandings regarding the handling of their property.
Funeral planning forms play a crucial role in ensuring that funeral homes provide compassionate and personalized services to grieving families. These 12 essential forms mentioned in this blog post are vital tools that assist funeral homes in collecting necessary information, meeting legal requirements, and fulfilling the wishes of the deceased and their loved ones.
By utilizing Gather, funeral homes can streamline their processes while using and storing these forms digitally via the Document Library. Plus, with Gather’s convenient AutoForms feature, all necessary forms can be completed and easily request digital signatures with a simple click. Gather can minimize your workload by easing the form-filling process. Learn more about our AutoForms here and be sure to explore our website.