Indiana Death Services Lawyers for Funeral Directors and Cemetery Owners
The services provided by professionals in the death care industry—including funeral directors, crematory and cemetery owners, and others—go largely unnoticed by the general public most of the time. However, when we need those services, we recognize the important role of these careers and the care and knowledge provided by those in the industry. The death services industry in Indiana is heavily regulated, with stringent licensing requirements for providers and facilities. If you are a funeral or cemetery professional, a small mistake or an allegation of negligence or wrongdoing can damage your reputation or even ruin your career and take away your livelihood. When faced with threats like these, the Indiana death services lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help protect your licenses, reputation, and business.
Who Needs the Services of Indiana Death Services Lawyers?
Various provisions of the Indiana Code regulate the death services industry in the Hoosier state. Providers and facilities are often required to have specific qualifications, licenses, and certificates, and they must operate under the applicable laws that govern their field.
The Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA) and the State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service manage the licensing and regulatory compliance of death care providers and facilities, including the following:
- Funeral directors
- Funeral director interns
- Funeral directors in bordering states who provide services in Indiana
- Funeral homes and additional locations or branches
- Crematory facilities
When the professionals or businesses listed here are alleged to have violated a law governing their practice and services, the result can be discipline or sanctions by the board, suspension or revocation of applicable licensure, lawsuits to recover damages, and even misdemeanor charges in some cases. If you are facing a threat to your livelihood and career in the funeral industry, the Indiana death services lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can evaluate the claims against you and help determine the best path forward to preserve your reputation and career.
Indiana Funeral Director License Defense
Indiana funeral directors and funeral director interns are required to complete specific educational courses and pass an examination required by the Board. Once licensed, a funeral director must complete continuing education courses and comply with all regulatory, reporting, and inspection requirements included in state law to remain in good standing and retain licensure.
The State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service can discipline funeral director licensees for violations of state laws or requirements, including:
- Involvement in schemes promoting burial associations, certificates, or membership plans
- Offer or acceptance of payment for securing human remains after a death
- Failure to surrender human remains to a person entitled to those remains under the law
- Failure to obtain or maintain proper permits for transportation and disposal of remains
- Acceptance of remains without proper authorization from the legal custodian
- Assertion of misleading claims regarding protective qualities of burial enclosures or caskets
- Failure to include required pricing and descriptive information when displaying or showing burial enclosures
- Acceptance of payments from insurance companies that exceed the amount contracted to be paid for services rendered
- Display of revoked or expired credentials
- Provision of services beyond the scope of their licensure
Indiana law states that licensed funeral director interns may provide services only under the direct supervision of a licensed funeral director and defines direct supervision as the director being “physically present” when any funeral services or counseling are provided by the intern. Failure to adhere to these conditions may result in discipline by the board.
If you are a funeral director or funeral director intern who has been accused of a violation of licensing requirements, you need an Indiana funeral director license defense attorney who can help you navigate the various laws that apply to your situation. And if you are facing funeral director liability claims arising from allegations of negligence or wrongdoing in the practice of your profession, you need strong Indiana death services lawyers who know how to mount a defense in your favor.
Indiana Death Services Lawyers for Funeral Homes and Providers
In addition to the licensing requirements placed on funeral directors, funeral homes or other providers of funeral goods and services in Indiana are required to maintain licensure under Indiana law as well. These licenses are also administrated by the State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service and governed by Indiana Code.
In Indiana, licensed funeral homes may be disciplined for the following violations of law at the discretion of the Board:
- Operation of two licensees out of the same physical location
- Operation of a branch funeral home without obtaining a separate license for that location
- Operation without a licensed funeral director and accompanying affidavit
- Operating without a funeral director who performs or provides direct supervision of all funeral service acts
- Failure to maintain or display proper licensing credentials
- Failure to file reports to the board annually
- Violations of laws governing the sale of and payments for funeral services
- Provision of funeral services by someone who is not a licensed funeral director or supervised funeral director intern
- Misrepresentation to customers of the merchandise, services, practices, or quality of competing providers
- Failure to notify the board of an address change
Additionally, individuals and businesses that sell funeral goods and services can be disciplined by the Board for failure to act with compassion, fully respond to customer queries, disclose specifics about embalming, describe the requirements for caskets or other burial containers, or fully detail prices and payment options. In fact, the Board requires that funeral service providers give their clients very specific information regarding the costs of goods and services in written form.
A small mistake or oversight can equal big losses for funeral homes and the professionals who work in the death services industry. The various licenses required intertwine and impact one another. For example, if a funeral director’s license is suspended or revoked, the funeral home where he or she provides services cannot continue to provide the services for which that person is responsible unless it employs another licensed funeral director.
Practicing without a license, falsely stating the title of a practitioner, or describing services in a manner prohibited by law can result in a class B infraction under Indiana law in addition to disciplinary action by the Board. If your license is at risk, you need the Indiana death services license attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer to help protect your interests and those of your coworkers.
In addition to licensing and concerns regarding disciplinary actions, Indiana funeral home and funeral director liability is also a cause for concern for people in the death care industry. Accusations of negligence or other forms of malpractice can damage your reputation and destroy your livelihood. When you face these kinds of claims or lawsuits, consultation with and representation by experienced Indiana death services lawyers are the next best steps you can take to protect yourself and your interests.
Indiana Death Services License Attorneys for Crematories
More people in the United States are opting for cremation over traditional burial these days. Like funeral homes and funeral directors, owners and operators of crematory facilities must obtain various licenses and permits, maintain specific records, and operate in accordance with various Indiana laws governing cremation services. Operators of cremation facilities must ensure that they are functioning with the proper licenses and permits in place and following all regulations regarding accepting human remains, the actual cremation process, and disposal of remains, among other things.
Sadly, the family and loved ones left behind when someone passes away are not always in agreement regarding burial or cremation, disposal or distribution of remains, and many other details. This can put crematoriums at a high risk of becoming the target of hurt feelings and anger that could turn into a lawsuit or claim of impropriety. Indiana law has provisions designed to protect crematory authorities from liability in certain situations.
If you own or operate a crematory and are at risk of losing critical authorizations, permits, or licensing, contact the Indiana death services license attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer to see how we can help today. And if you are dealing with liability issues, including allegations or negligence or wrongdoing, that could impact your licensure and livelihood, our Indiana death services lawyers can assist you in defending yourself and your facility from those claims as well.
Indiana Cemetery Professional License Defense Attorney
Indiana law defines a cemetery as “any land or structure in Indiana that is: (1) dedicated to; and (2) used for, or intended to be used for; the interment, entombment, or inurnment of human remains.” A cemetery owner or an authorized representative must complete an Application for Cemetery Registration and submit a detailed survey of the property that will be granted or sold to others for burial purposes. When burial rights on lots in a cemetery are sold, the purchaser must be given a certificate, deed, or license of some kind acknowledging the transaction and conveyance of rights.
Property registered for cemetery purposes in Indiana may not be used for other purposes, and the property and its caretakers must meet specific conditions under Indiana law. In exchange for compliance with state regulations, Indiana cemetery owners do receive some protections from liability and have rights to create and enforce rules for the care and protection of the property. In fact, a person responsible for the care and protection of a cemetery has the same rights and authorities granted by Indiana law to a peace officer and can enforce the rules of the property on the grounds and within a reasonable distance necessary to protect the premises.
The requirements and duties of a cemetery owner or operator under Indiana law are extensive. Many of the provisions of the law refer to several different time frames that influence the rights and responsibilities of the cemetery owner. If you are dealing with matters related to cemetery licensing or liability, a cemetery professional liability defense attorney in Indianapolis at Keffer Hirschauer LLP can help you determine which aspects of the law apply to your situation and how to proceed in your best interests.
Contact the Indiana Death Services Lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer, LLP
Death services professionals usher families through some of the most difficult times of their lives. Whatever your position in the death care industry, your job is heavy enough without the added burden of threats to the licenses and certifications that allow you to do your job. If you are facing licensing or liability issues in the funeral and cemetery industry, contact the Indiana death services lawyers at Keffer Hirschauer LLP to see how we can help protect your rights, career, and future. Call us at (317) 857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation.