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29 Jun
Why Inspecting Your 3rd Party Cremation Provider Will Help You Stay Out Of a Court Of Law Keith Burtis

Why Inspecting Your 3rd Party Cremation Provider Will Help You Stay Out Of a Court Of Law

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Inspecting your 3rd Party Provider is not only important, it is imperative, and let me tell you why. Let’s say you handled the requests of a family that has chosen cremation and you did everything exactly by the book. You deliver the decedent to the crematory and you are informed they cannot do the cremation for another day or two. Instead of taking the decedent back to the funeral home you leave them at the crematory.

The family calls looking for the cremated remains and you inform them the crematory was busy and the cremation would take place in another day or two. Upon completion of the cremation you receive the urn from the crematory and call the family to inform them the urn is at your funeral home. When the family arrives, the urn is not the same one they selected.The family becomes upset and demands to know why the cremation took so long and why they received the wrong urn. After spending a few hours (or longer) trying to figure out what happened, you return the cremated remains to the family in the right urn. As time passes, the family begins to question if they have the right cremated remains.

The family consults an attorney and a lawsuit is now filed naming the crematory…your 3rd Party Provider… and you…the funeral home as defendants.

Funeral Directors can be held accountable for the actions or the inactions of their 3rd Party Provider if they have not practiced Due Diligence. What is Due Diligence? It is the review and inspection of a crematory’s internal operating procedures to ensure that the crematory handles cremations in compliance with established policies and procedures.  Failure to practice Due Diligence is deemed irresponsible by a court of law. In this case scenario, you had nothing to do with what took place at the crematory, but you WILL be named in the lawsuit.

That is why you need to inspect your 3rd Party Provider twice a year and be sure the inspection is unannounced so you can witness exactly how they operate. If you don’t, you are already on the wrong side of the plaintiff’s expert witness, and the court. Right or wrong, you will, have to obtain legal counsel to defend the accusations levied against you, and that can become very expensive.

If you have a Due Diligence file on hand at your funeral home that will establish that you made the effort to inspect the crematory that you hired to perform your cremations which may help in the reduction of your liability, but you make no effort to inspect your 3rd Party Provider, that won’t sit well. The littlest mistake may end up costing you thousands in legal fees alone, not to mention the bad publicity that will be sure to follow from the press. It can no longer be business as usual. Inspecting your 3rd Party Provider costs you nothing but your time, but not inspecting can cost you plenty.

Read 1601 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 04:11
Mike Nicodemus

Mike Nicodemus currently serves as Vice President of Cremation Services for NFDA and is the former Vice President of cremation operations at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Homes in the Tidewater, VA area with a 55% cremation rate consisting of eight funeral homes, two cemeteries, and a crematory.

He is the Immediate Past President of CANA and served as Chairman of their Crematory Operations Certificate Program (COCP) for eight years. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science where he is an alumnus.

He is licensed to practice in three states which includes Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. He has provided private on-site staff training at various funeral homes throughout the country.

Mike is a highly sought after speaker on the National and State levels and has been retained in numerous lawsuits as an expert witness in various cremation cases for funeral homes and crematories. He is the author of the Cremation Operations Manual published by Kates-Boylston and has been featured or quoted in numerous articles including, USA Today, Newsweek, ABC News, BBC News, and the New York Times.


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