Creedy Commentary


What Proof Do You Require?

We live in a litigious society. More and more practitioners are ending up in lawsuits.  Often it isn’t really their fault. Lawyers will tell you to make sure you always CYA!

Richard Callahan, former funeral home owner and funeral director has spent the last 20 years of his career as an Expert Witness in a variety of legal actions. At a recent meeting he offered the following:

How often do we ask for proof that the person making arrangements is the person who has the legal right to make arrangements on behalf of the deceased?

Among the group attending, many required no proof, some took photo copies of government identification for their files. Richard felt this was not enough and provided the group with this simple affirmation. With his permission I offer it here.

“I_____________do hereby represent to XYZ Funeral Home,(cemetery or crematory) that I am the person who has the primary right of disposition of the remains of________________, deceased. I so represent, in the knowledge that XYZ Funeral Home,(cemetery or crematory) will rely on my representation , in good faith.



Neither Richard nor I are lawyers and you are strongly encouraged to Vette this with your attorney. But it makes sense, in these times, to document everything.

Richard Callahan is funeral director / embalmer Board Certified in all 50 states. He began his career in 1973 and has bought and sold several funeral homes in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California. He has served as Past President of the Los Angeles County Funeral Directors Association and a former board member of the California Funeral Directors Association.

For more than 20 years he has been called on to testify as an Expert Witness in numerous lawsuits.

1 Response

  1. Great post! We recently served a family, and about 5 or 6 weeks after the Funeral and cremation, the deceased was early 50’s, parents and siblings all claim he was divorced from his wife…..then she calls. Based on conversations, it would appear that siblings had a believable story….yet now both parties should be required to provide documentation. Like George Carlin once said–“The following statement is true. The preceding statement was false.” I was on vacation, yet have heard….thankfully things are working out by compromise. We don’t really know who we could trust….do due diligence loves that expression “trust but verify”

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