The Attorney General’s Preneed Funeral Division works to protect consumers by auditing funeral homes and cemeteries that sell preneed contracts and monitoring the sale of preneed contracts throughout the state.
A preneed funeral contract is an option that funeral homes may offer to consumers who want to pre-plan and pre-pay for funeral arrangements. Once a preneed contract has been created, the consumer has the right to transfer the contract to another funeral home willing to agree to the terms set forth in the original contract. Consumers seeking preneed funeral services are protected under West Virginia Code § 47-14-1 et seq., which requires funeral homes that provide preneed services to (1) place your funds in a special interest-bearing account within thirty days of deposit unless the contract is funded through an insurance assignment; (2) submit a copy of your contract to the Attorney General’s Preneed Funeral Division; and, (3) periodically report on the status of your contract funds.
To check out the legitimacy of the funeral home you may be doing business with you can ask to see a copy of their Certificate of Authority. State law requires all funeral homes and cemeteries that sell preneed contracts to hold a Certificate of Authority that must be renewed each year. Additionally, each individual that sells preneed contracts must hold a License to Sell under each location where he or she sells contracts. The License to Sell must be renewed each year as well. Certificates and licensure are issued by the Preneed Funeral Division.
If you, a loved one, a friend, or a neighbor has fallen victim to a pre-need contract scam, please contact our Office immediately by calling our consumer protection hotline at 1-800-368-8808.