Is embalming a requirement?

It may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public or private viewing of the body with an open casket; if the body is going to be transported by air or rail; or because of the length of time prior to the burial or cremation.

Regarding embalming, what are my rights as a consumer?

According to the Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule, all funeral homes are required to get permission to embalm. If you select a funeral service which requires embalming, such as a funeral with a viewing, you may have to pay for embalming. You are not required to have embalming if you selected arrangements such as direct cremation or immediate burial. If a funeral home charges for embalming, they must explain why in writing.

What really is embalming?

Embalming is a temporary preservation of a dead human person. This process is accomplished by a surgical-like technique of injecting chemical solutions into the deceased’s vascular system, thus producing a natural life-like appearance. This process dramatically retards tissue decomposition creating a time frame for a viewing and/or funeral service.