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1. Is there any financial assistance for funeral expenses available through the state?
2. What can be done prior to death occurring?
3. What kind of personal information is needed when someone dies?
4. Who is responsible to make the funeral arrangements?
5. What are the available methods of disposition?
6. What is embalming and its purpose?
7. Does the law require that a dead human body be embalmed?
8. How are remains donated for scientific study?
9. What is meant by immediate disposition?
10. What is cremation?
11. Can a body be cremated immediately following death?
12. What is done with cremated remains?
13. Can a family bury its own dead without using a license funeral director?
14. Can a family bury on their own property?
15. How do people select a funeral home?
16. How can I tell who owns a funeral home?
17. Where can I find information about closed funeral homes?
18. How can I learn about funeral costs?
19. What about other funeral costs?
20. What should I know about choosing a casket and an outer burial container?
21. Is there a law that prohibits funeral directors/establishments from advertising?
22. What is the difference between prearranged funeral and pre-paid funerals?
23. Should I consider a prearranged or prepaid funeral?
24. The funeral home I had a pre-arrangement or pre-paid funeral through has closed. What has happened to my contract and/or my funds?
25. If I have a complaint regarding a prepaid funeral, who should I contact?
26. If I have a question regarding death certificates or disinterment, who should I contact?
27. If I have a complaint against a funeral director, embalmer, or a funeral establishment, who should I contact?
28. If I have a complaint against a cemetery, monument company, vault company, or grave digger, who should I contact?
Financial assistance is not available directly from any state agency. Assistance may be provided through the county. However, the administration of assistance is different from county to county. Please contact your local funeral home to find out what assistance may be available in your county.
Record your wishes and advise family members of your wishes as well. Any person has the right to direct the manner in which his or her body shall be disposed of after death by executing a sworn affidavit stating the assignment of the right and the name of the person or persons to whom the right has been assigned 21 O.S. §1151.
The deceased person's full name
Date of birth
Place of birth (city and state or foreign country)
Full home address
Social security number
Level of education
Spouse's full name (including maiden name if applicable)
Father's full name
Mother's full name including maiden name
The informant (next of kin or person legally responsible for final arrangements)
The informant's relationship to decedent
The informant's address.
This information is necessary for filling out and filing the death certificate.
21 O.S. §1158 provides succession laws regarding the next of kin. Generally, the next of kin are in the following order:
b) adult children
d) adult brother(s)/sister(s).
Exceptions may apply in certain situations. You may wish to consult an attorney in these cases.
Human remains can be buried, entombed, cremated, or donated for scientific study.
Embalming is the use of chemicals, internally and externally, to temporarily preserve, restore, and disinfect the body for open casket viewing and/or for the removal of the body to distant destinations for final disposition.
No. The law does require that un-embalmed dead bodies shall be buried or otherwise disposed of within 24 hours after death unless refrigeration facilities are available O.A.C. 235:10-11-1 (14). Although not a state law, many funeral homes will require the body to be embalmed if you select a service that includes viewing of the remains. Likewise, most airlines and other common carriers will require that a body be embalmed prior to shipping. The laws of the destination state or country will apply as well.
Donation of human bodies to medical institutions can be made to the State Anatomical Board. They may be contacted by:
State Anatomical Board
P.O. Box 26901
Oklahoma City, OK 73190-3040
Immediate disposition is the interment, entombment, or cremation of the remains without ceremonies. Immediate disposition usually includes transfer of the remains to the funeral home, filling out and filing of any necessary documents, merchandise as selected, and transportation to the cemetery or crematory.
Cremation means the technical process, using heat and flame, that reduces human remains to bone fragments. The reduction takes place through heat and evaporation. Cremation shall include, but not be limited to, the processing and pulverization of the bone fragments. 59 O.S. SS-396.2
No. In addition to a cremation authorization signed by the next of kin, Oklahoma requires a special permit from the State Medical Examiner before a body may be cremated.
Cremated remains may be disposed of in a number of ways: buried in a cemetery, placed in a niche in a columbarium, kept by the family in their home, or scattered on private land with the consent of the property owner. There are no statutes or regulations concerning the removal of cremated remains from Oklahoma. Cremated remains may be shipped through the U.S. Postal Service only, but they must be shipped by registered mail with return receipt requested. Commercial mailing companies will not accept cremated remains for shipment. Please check with tsa.gov regarding shipping cremated remains by an airline passenger.
Yes. See 59 O.S. §396.19 for additional information. The family would be responsible to see that a death certificate is completed and filed at the State Health Department (Contact: 405.271.5108 or AskVR@health.ok.gov)
The Funeral Board does not have jurisdiction over cemeteries. Generally, local ordinances, zoning laws, or deed restrictions prohibit burials outside a cemetery within city limits. If you anticipate burial on private property, contact your attorney for guidance. The requirements to establish a cemetery are found in 8 O.S. §183.
Visit the funeral home, tour their facilities, visit their website (if applicable) to see if they meet the ways in which your needs will be served. Selecting a funeral home before the need occurs will relieve you of the emotional pressure that may present itself when a death has occurred.
Prices for service, facilities and merchandise may vary significantly from one funeral home to another. Inquire about the terms of payment. Most funeral homes require payment in full before the funeral service; some funeral homes may accept insurance assignments or take credit cards.
The name of the establishment, location, owner, and Funeral Director in Charge (FDIC) all appear on the establishment's license displayed in the funeral home. You may look up this information under the License Verification tab.
Over time funeral homes may change ownership, prices, and levels of service although the name of the firm remains the same and the former owner may continue to be employed there. Even if your family has used a funeral home for many years, it is a good idea to re-examine your choice from time to time.
The Funeral Board has basic information about funeral homes that are no longer in operation. Please call 405-522-1790 or contact us via our contact page with any question.
Inquire by telephone or visit the funeral home in person. Any consumer who enters a funeral home making inquiries is entitled to receive and keep the current General Price List (GPL), itemizing the cost of funeral services and merchandise for sale.
When comparing prices, evaluate similar goods and services as well as total price, quality, and value. Depending upon the arrangements/merchandise you select, the total cost can vary from several hundred to several thousand dollars. The price for a direct cremation or direct burial without any ceremonies can be quite a bit less than a funeral service with visitation, embalming, and a casket.
Some funeral homes offer "package pricing" in addition to, NOT in place of, itemized pricing. The package should list individually each of the goods and services included in the package and state the package price.
At the conclusion of the arrangement conference, you must be given a written Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected (SFGSS). It lists the items you selected and the cost of each item.
The Board does not have the authority to regulate the amount a funeral home charges for their services and merchandise.
In addition to the funeral homes charges for services and merchandise, the funeral director may help in coordinating items provided by a third party as a convenience to their clients. These may include such things as cemetery services, crematory services, permits, transportation, honorariums, flowers, obituary notices, certified death certificates, etc. Sometimes, you may hear these charges called “Cash Advance” items.
You may have to pay these other parties directly prior to the funeral or final disposition of the body.
Caskets and outer burial containers are not required by law. However, a casket or alternative container (i.e. a cardboard box or unfinished wood box) is a practical necessity for transporting the body for burial or cremation. Also, there is no direct relationship between the protective features of the casket and the preservation of the body.
Outer burial containers are designed to enclose the casket and support the weight of the grave and are required by most cemeteries. Some may provide additional features as well.
No, but consumer protection statutes require all advertising to be truthful, factual, and clear in content.
A prearranged funeral is a contract that outlines your wishes for final disposition, but no payments have been made. A prepaid funeral is a contract that outlines your wishes for final disposition and it has been paid for. Contact your local funeral home for further details on prearrangements or prepaid funeral plans.
Some individuals like the peace of mind in knowing their preferences for funeral arrangements will be followed after their death. It is a good idea to let your family know of your wishes, and to write those instructions down. Keep them in a handy place, other than a safety deposit box, as it may be inaccessible on weekends or holidays. Some individuals may even desire to prepay their own funeral.
Contact the Oklahoma Insurance Commission for further assistance. Their contact information is listed in the question below.
You will need to contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department.
OKC Office Location:
Five Corporate Plaza
3625 NW 56th, Ste. 100
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Local: (405) 521-2828
Toll Free: (800) 522-0071
Fax: (405) 521-6635
TULSA Office Location:
4157 S. Harvard, Ste. 121
Tulsa, OK 74135
Local: (918) 747-7700
Toll Free: (800) 728-2906
Fax: (918) 747-7720
Oklahoma Health Department
1000 N.E. 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73117
First, discuss your problem with the funeral director and/or management of the funeral establishment. If you feel you were not treated fairly, the funeral director and/or owner should be given the opportunity to correct the matter.
If this is not acceptable, you may provide the facts in writing to the Oklahoma Funeral Board. Complaints MUST be filed in writing and signed by the complainant (Click here to download the complaint form). The complaint should specify the exact nature and circumstances of the problem as well as how the problem may be corrected. Our complaint form may be found under our Consumer tab from our home page. Send the completed complaint form to the address printed on the complaint form. Enclose copies of all pertinent documents you may have received from the funeral establishment.
After receiving the completed complaint form, the complaint will be acknowledged in writing and the respondent is given the opportunity to respond the the allegations. The Board's executive committee will review the complaint and response to determine whether an investigation is warranted. If warranted, an investigation will be made and a summary of the complaint will be sent to the Board members.
If there are reasonable ground for belief that a violation may have occurred, the matter will be forwarded to the State Attorney General. It may be set for a hearing before the Board. There is a possibility that the person who filed the complaint and other parties will need to appear at the hearing, but this is not always the case. You will be given ample notice should your presence at the hearing be required.
The entire complaint/hearing process may take up to three months or longer in certain situations.
The Board will make findings of facts and conclusions of law based on the evidence presented at the hearing and will enter an order. The maximum penalty the Board may impose is a $10,000 fine and revocation of license.
The Board does not have the authority to award damages, settle contractual disputes, determine legal next of kin, or offer legal advice. Contact a private attorney regarding these matters.
Oklahoma Funeral Board does not have jurisdiction over cemeteries, monument companies, vault companies, or grave diggers in Oklahoma. That falls under the Consumer Protection Division. They may be contacted at:
Consumer Protection Division, Attorney General of Oklahoma
State Capitol, Room 112
Oklahoma City, OK 73105