Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts

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button Facts About Funerals
button Is it possible to bury a loved one on family property?

button Do I have to use a funeral home in order to provide final disposition for a loved one?

button Can I transfer my prefinanced funeral agreement to a different funeral home?

button Is it possible to scatter remains (ashes) of a loved one anywhere­or are there specific restrictions?

button Do dead human remains have to be embalmed prior to burial or cremation?

button Does a casket have to be used for burial or cremation purposes?

button Must an outer container be used for purposes of burial?

button Can I receive a refund of my prefinanced funeral agreement prior to death?

button What happens should there be any money remaining from a prefinanced funeral product once death occurs and payment has been made to the funeral home?

button What if there is not enough money in the prefinanced agreement to pay for funeral costs once death occurs?

button What is the difference in irrevocable and a revocable prefinanced funeral trust?

button What does "guaranteeing" a funeral by purchasing a prefinanced funeral agreement actually mean?

button Why do I have to pay taxes on the interest earned on my prefinanced funeral trust?

button What happens if there is no money available when death occurs ­ and no death benefits are available?
button Does a funeral home have to accept a call from a family once death occurs?

button Can a funeral home require that payment be made prior to providing any services/merchandise?

Is it possible to bury a loved one on family property?

Yes it is. Although the State of Kansas does not have any specific statutes or regulations allowing or prohibiting this, you should check with the county (possibly the county attorney or county clerk) or city (again, possibly the city attorney or city clerk) to see if there are any local ordinances that prohibit doing this where you live.

 

Do I have to use a funeral home in order to provide final disposition for a loved one?

Unless the person who passed away had an infectious or contagious disease, then state law does not require using a funeral home for final disposition purposes-with several conditions: Final disposition must occur within 24 hours of death, although this time frame can be extended if the remains are refrigerated or placed in a sealed container (as is specified by law.) If a funeral home is not used, then it becomes the family's responsibility to file a death certificate with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division of Vital Statistics. Please note that it is against the law for anyone to hold themselves out as a licensed funeral director or embalmer, so only family members of the deceased should participate in the final disposition process without using a funeral home.

 

Can I transfer my prefinanced funeral agreement to a different funeral home?

Yes, you can. Make sure that your agreement is with a funeral home--and not a cemetery, as trusting laws are quite different--as is explained in the two brochures offered by the Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts. If your prefinanced agreement is funded with insurance, then it will be necessary to obtain a change of beneficiary application from the insurance company holding the policy. If your agreement is funded via trust, certificate of deposit, savings account . . . then you will need to write the financial institution to make your request known. They should then provide you with the appropriate documents to make such a change. If this request is made after death occurs, then it becomes more complicated -- but it is still possible.

 

Is it possible to scatter remains (ashes) of a loved one anywhere--or are there specific restrictions?

It is illegal to scatter ashes at Federal parks and waterways. Although there are no specific state laws that address this issue, the best thing to do is to get permission to do this from the landowner of the property you have in mind. Another consideration should be given to the owners of adjoining property.

 

Do dead human remains have to be embalmed prior to burial or cremation?

No--as long as certain conditions are met, such as the 24-hour time frame previously mentioned and several other laws.  Some funeral homes may not allow for a public visitation to take place at their facility unless embalming has taken place.  This would be a funeral home policy--not a law.  Generally speaking, embalming is relatively inexpensive compared to costs for caskets and services involved with traditional funerals.

 

Does a casket have to be used for burial or cremation purposes?

No state law requires that a casket must be used. Many cemeteries require that an outer container be used at their facility, but that is a cemetery bylaw situation--and is not a state law.

 

Must an outer container be used for purposes of burial?

No state law requires that an outer container be used, although (as has been previously mentioned) many cemeteries will require that an outer container be used if burial is to take place on their property.

 

Can I receive a refund of my prefinanced funeral agreement prior to death?

Possibly so. While there are no provisions for a refund of an irrevocable funeral trust, revocable trusts can be refunded--at 100% with interest minus any justified administrative costs of up to 1%. Insurance funded products fall within the guidelines of the Kansas Insurance Department as do all insurance products. Concerns of this kind can best be asked prior to the signing of any such agreement, and I would suggest asking so in writing.

 

What happens should there be any money remaining from a prefinanced funeral product once death occurs and payment has been made to the funeral home?

It belongs to the next-of-kin--except in cases of irrevocable trusts if the individual was receiving assistance at the time of death (where any remaining money would go to the agency providing assistance--such as the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, SRS.) The method of reimbursement would depend on the prefinanced product (insurance, trust . . .) and if an estate/probate court was involved.

 

What if there is not enough money in the prefinanced agreement to pay for funeral costs once death occurs?

It all depends on the contract/agreement to service the prefinanced agreement made with the funeral home. If certain merchandise or services were guaranteed, then you are not responsible for any increases in those areas. Many contracts financed with trust money will call for you to pay any difference in costs at the time of death. The idea, in those cases, is that the interest that accumulates in the account will offset any price increases in place at the time of death. Once again, this is a good thing to get in writing at the time such an agreement is made-and not once death has occurred and it is time to pay the funeral bill.

 

What is the difference in irrevocable and a revocable prefinanced funeral trust?

While this has been touched on in previous questions, generally speaking an irrevocable agreement cannot be refunded prior to death--while a revocable agreement can be refunded. Irrevocable agreements should be used in cases where the individual is going under public assistance of some kind, as the prefinanced funeral agreement (up to a certain amount) does not count as an asset. The maximum amount of an irrevocable trust is $7,000, but this does not include merchandise such as the casket, outer container.

 

What does "guaranteeing" a funeral by purchasing a prefinanced funeral agreement actually mean?

Again, make sure that you understand the prefinanced contract before signing it. Usually, "guaranteeing the agreement" means that the interest generated will offset increased costs once death occurs. Even though you purchase a prefinanced funeral agreement prior to death, current prices of all merchandise and services as listed on the contract/"Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected" will apply at the time of death. What merchandise and services are guaranteed not to increase depends on the prefinanced funeral agreement originally signed.

 

Why do I have to pay taxes on the interest earned on my prefinanced funeral trust?

While this is not always the case (as there are some "tax free" trusts available--and in some cases the taxes are paid by the trust administrator), generally speaking you, the consumer, will be responsible for paying taxes on the earned interest. Again, this is something to ask prior to signing a contract. Generally speaking, the money in the trust belongs to you--which is why it is your responsibility to pay tax on interest earned.


What happens if there is no money available when death occurs--and no death benefits are available?

Possibilities include donating remains to science. If there are no living relatives, then generally the county coroner will direct final disposition--although there are several situations that can occur.

 

Does a funeral home have to accept a call from a family once death occurs?

No, although it is against the law to prohibit providing services in cases of certain situations, such as: the American Disability Act (ADA) . . . General reasons that a funeral home may not accept a call from a family would include previous poor credit (such as a long standing unpaid bill from a previous death.)

 

Can a funeral home require that payment be made prior to providing any services/merchandise?

Yes, they can. The funeral home has bills to pay themselves, so requiring payment up front is not against the law. A family is free to change to a different funeral home at anytime, although the original funeral home will charge for any services provided up until the time that such a transfer was to take place. It is, however, against the law for a funeral home to hold a remains against the will of the family.

 

Please note that when these questions address prefinanced funeral agreements, the situations (unless otherwise specified) deal with prefinanced funeral agreements. The laws governing prefinanced cemetery agreements are quite different from the laws governing funeral agreements. Generally speaking, the laws governing prefinanced funeral agreements are more restrictive and consumer friendly than those governing prefinanced cemetery agreements. For this reason, if you are dealing with a funeral home/cemetery combination, the facility will use cemetery laws whenever possible to govern the trust. Once again, make sure that you are aware of all possibilities before signing any contracts.

Last Updated:  Tuesday, January 18, 2011


State of Kansas Board of Mortuary Arts

700 SW Jackson Street, Suite 904   -  Topeka, Kansas 66603-3733
phone:(785)-296-3980  -  fax:(785)296-0891
 -  email: boma1@ksbma.ks.gov


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