HERITAGE CREMATORY SERVICES - CONSUMER ALERT
Please be advised the Colorado Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration suspended the registration of Heritage Crematory Services (located in Colorado) on June 6, 2017, saying the company “is guilty of multiple deliberate and willful violations of the Mortuary Science Code . . .” In its order suspending Heritage’s license, the state wrote “Respondent advertises that its staff and owners are ‘your friends and neighbor.’ Respondents owners do not reside or work in the state of Colorado.”
The Commission is alerting Texas consumers that Heritage Crematory Services advertises its services in Texas but it does not hold a license in the state. As such, the Commission has limited jurisdiction to help resolve complaints against the entity.
Prior to pay or agreeing to pay for funeral services, consumers are urged to check the Commission website to ensure the entity is licensed in Texas.
LICENSED FUNERAL DIRECTORS AND ESTABLISHMENTS
Individuals and establishments must be licensed by the Commission in order to provide funeral services and goods for compensation. A consumer can verify an individual/establishment is licensed in Texas by visting the License Search and Verification page. If a consumer works with an unlicensed funeral establishment, the TFSC may not be able to help solve any problems that might arise from the transaction.
FACTS ABOUT FUNERALS
Texas statute requires the TFSC to prepare a brochure explaining matters relating to funerals and describing procedures for filing a complainant. Each funeral establishment is required to provide the "Facts About Funerals" brochure to all prospective customers when funeral services are discussed.
Funeral Establishments can order the TFSC-printed "Fact About Funerals" brochure by completing a Publication Order Form.
MILITARY FUNERAL HONORS
Anyone providing Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran should visit the Department of Defense website for information on how to provide those honors. The website serves as a resource tool for funeral directors as they assist veterans' families by arranging Military Funeral Honors. The core elements of the Funeral Honors ceremony, which will be conducted on request, include: Flag Folding, Flag Presentation and the Playing of Taps. If the family of an eligible veteran requests Funeral Honors through their funeral director, the funeral director should contact the appropriate Military Service to arrange for the Funeral Honors detail. The Department of Defense has established a toll free line (1-877-MIL-HONR) for use only by Funeral Directors to request honors. The Services request at least 48-hours in order to organize the Funeral Honors detail.
TEXAS STATE VETERANS CEMETERY
Veterans are eligible to be buried in a Texas State Veterans Cemetery. Funeral homes should work with the families who choose to have their loved ones buried in a Texas State Veterans Cemetery to determine the type of interment the family wishes. Options to be considered are a full-casketed burial, in-ground burial of cremated remains, a columbarium niche for cremated remains, or the scattering of ashes in the memorial garden. The funeral home should ask the family to provide a copy of the military discharge form (DD Form 214) or other military service documents to ensure eligibility. If the funeral is for the spouse of a veteran, the funeral home should request a copy of the marriage certificate. The funeral home should contact the family’s Veterans cemetery of choice and make all ofthe arrangements for the burial service. Although viewing facilities are not available at the cemetery, and funeral services cannot be held at Texas State Veterans Cemeteries, a family may request that a final committal service be performed. Military Honors are performed during these committal services. Committal services are held in committal shelters, followed by burial at the grave site. Floral arrangements will accompany the casket or urn from the committal shelter to the grave site. Some families may have retained cremated remains and wish to place them at a Texas State Veterans cemetery. If this is the case, the family may contact the cemetery directly, without going through a funeral home. Contact the Veterans Land Board toll free at 1-800-252-VETS (8387) for questions.
DISPOSITION OF REMAINS
Chapter 711 of the Texas Health and Safety Code outlines who has the right to control the disposition of a decedent's body. Under the statute, a person has the right to designate how to dispose of his or her remains. The following form outlines the substantial information that should be included when providing a written designation to control disposition.
PRENEED FUNERAL CONTRACTS
The Texas Department of Banking (DOB) regulates trust-funded prepaid funeral merchandise or services. Prepaid funeral merchandise and services are defined as goods and services sold on a prepaid basis directly to the public for use in connection with future funeral services. Along with the normal funeral service items, prepaid funeral merchandise and services also include opening and closing of the grave and outer-burial containers. The term does not include a grave, marker, monument, tombstone, crypt, niche, plot, or lawn crypt unless it is sold in contemplation of trade for a funeral service or funeral merchandise. Any funeral home or cemetery that sells trust funded prepaid funeral merchandise or services in Texas must have: (1) a trust-funded permit issued by the DOB or (2) sell through an insurance-funded permit holder.
The Texas Department of Insurance regulates providers who sell insurance-funded prepaid funeral merchandise or services.
ESTABLISHING A FAMILY CEMETERY
Texas laws regarding the establishment of family cemeteries are vague. The Texas Cemeteries Assocation has prepared an informative handout that answers questions about establishing a family cemetery on private property.