QUESTION: In Colorado if someone is being cremated but want to have a family viewing only do they have to be embalmed. Thank you.
We were told if the body was viewed then it had to be embalmed is this state law?

ANSWER: No, that is not state law in any state but Minnesota and is questionable even in that state.
If, indeed, the body was embalmed, you should demand a refund and file a complaint with DORA.

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QUESTION: What if we have a public viewing before cremated does she have to be still embalmed to be viewed...we want to have a one viewing with her... thanks

Many funeral homes are not well practiced in preparing an unembalmed body for viewing even tho' it can be done and is done regularly in Europe. So some funeral homes will say it's their policy to require embalming for a public viewing, and they are allowed to do so.

If you were handling the death without a funeral home, you could have a viewing without embalming. Maybe get the funeral home to deliver the body to your home for a "private viewing" prior to cremation, then do as you wish before the body is picked up for cremation.


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Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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