Do I have to be embalmed?
The short answer is no. In most circumstances you have the ability to select services that do not require embalming as part of the process. There are scenarios when it is required, but you have the right to choose other options. For instance, if somebody dies in one state and needs to be shipped by air home for burial or cremation, very frequently the airlines will require that that body be embalmed or be shipped in an expensive container called a Ziegler case. Typically the cost of embalming is less than the cost of that container.
If the cremation or burial is not going to occur right away, or if it is going to occur after a public funeral service or a public wake very frequently, your funeral home will require that embalming take place for public health and for other reasons.
However, it is not the law in most states that embalming is required. If you do not wish to be embalmed or do not wish to have your loved one in embalmed, you do have the right to select services that don’t require embalming bombing such as direct burial or direct cremation where disposition happens immediately or very quickly after the death and where the body is not present for services.
So do your research, ask lots of questions and know your rights: in most cases embalming is not required unless you select services that require it.