There are common questions surrounding the embalming process. Some of these include:
- What is the purpose of embalming?
- When is embalming required?
- Why is embalming necessary?
To help you and your family understand what embalming is, and the process behind it, we answer common questions below.
1. What is the purpose of embalming?
Embalming is the attempted preservation and disinfection of a deceased body. Generally, embalming enhances the body’s appearance for those who choose to have an open casket. This enables close friends and family members to see the deceased as they looked when they were alive.
Embalming also lengthens the time between death and final disposition, giving the family of the deceased enough time to arrange services with a funeral home or crematory.
2. Is embalming necessary by law?
Each state has its own rules and regulations governing embalming. While the state of Ohio does not require embalming, a body must be embalmed, refrigerated or placed in an odor-proof container within 48 hours after death.
Under the Funeral Rule enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, funeral homes and crematories are required to inform families that embalming is not required for certain cases.
3. Is embalming required for cremation? Burial?
In most cases, embalming is not required for direct or simple cremation or direct or immediate burial. This is because these methods take place immediately following a death, with no service beforehand.
If the family chooses to have a public viewing or gathering with the body present prior to the burial or cremation, a funeral home or crematory may require embalming.
4. How much does embalming cost?
The price of embalming is generally two-fold, with funeral homes and crematories charging for both the embalming process and other preparation and care of the deceased.
- Sanitary washing
- Restorative art to recreate natural form and color
- Casketing, or the placement of remains in a casket
For a breakdown of these services, ask for a General Price List (GPL) from the funeral home or crematory you’re arranging services with.
5. Do certain religious and/or cultural customs forbid embalming?
Although embalming is a fairly common practice, some religious and cultural customs prohibit embalming and other preparation and care of the deceased.
If you’re unsure whether or not embalming is an acceptable method of body preservation, check with the religious leader at your place of worship. A funeral home or crematory will work with you to ensure your religious and/or cultural needs are met, while abiding by Ohio embalming laws.
Preplan to Save Time, Money and Worry
Deciding whether you’d like your body embalmed is one of the many final wishes you can document when you preplan your own final arrangements. With preplanning, you arrange all aspects of your funeral to give you and your loved ones peace of mind. That way, when the time comes, they won’t have to worry about anything other than being by your side.
For more information, download the Seniors’ Guide to Funeral Arrangements to learn how preplanning can save time, money and worry.
Editor’s note: This post was reviewed by licensed embalmer and funeral director Kent Berkheimer (embalmer license 8611A) for accuracy.