Pre-Paid Funeral Legislation Divides Funeral Directors - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Pre-Paid Funeral Legislation Divides Funeral Directors

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.- A bill making its way through Tennessee's capitol has created a sharp divide between the state's funeral directors. The proposed legislation would allow discounts on pre-paid funerals -- something that's currently against the law in the Volunteer State.

Pre-planning discounts have been outlawed in Tennessee since 1959, but up until a few years ago it was a law the state didn't really enforce. Now the issue has created a division among the state's funeral directors.

Funeral directors like Fred Berry try to encourage customers to plan ahead, and he thinks offering discounts is one way to make that happen - but right now a price break on burials isn't an option.

"Tennessee is the only state in the country that does not allow discounts," said Berry.

A group of funeral directors feels so strongly about this issue, they formed Tennesseans for Funeral Reform. The issue has to do with the ability to give consumers an incentive in the form of a discount, to pre-plan their funeral.

A bill is making its way through the legislative process on Capitol Hill that would allow funeral directors to offer those discounts. So far, it's stuck in committee. While lawmakers had a chance to move this legislation last session, the bill never made it out of committee. The issue has created a divide among funeral directors here in Tennessee. Not all of them think discounts are good for business.

There are many funeral directors who feel the discounts could lead to improprieties within the industry -- and an unfair advantage for one funeral home over another.

"There's just this one thing we disagree on. I just passionately think being able to give consumers an incentive to pre-plan is going to help them," said Berry.

Dealing with death is never easy and apparently neither is legislation regulating it.

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