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Funerals/Guaranteeing Embalming


Hello Erin,
I've heard when some people have been exhumed, there are scratch marks on the inside of the casket lid. How can I have a guarantee that a funeral home will embalm me. I mean, with all the corruption nowadays, I suppose funeral homes might try and cut corners also, not do the embalming, and pocket the profit. I'm just curious if I can make some type of arrangements to make sure that the funeral home who will be embalming me, will get the job done. Is this even possible? Is there a foolproof way to know?
I am single with no children and in my late 50s. I have one older brother that I trust to handle my funeral arrangements and my "Will", then, upon his passing, the remainder of my family, cousins, and friends are either deceased or I wouldn't feel confident they would take care of my funeral arrangements and beneficiary dispersements properly. I am presently searching for a possible third party executor and power of attorney which I can trust in case my older brother predeceases me.

Thank You,



The reference you made about finding scratch marks on the inside of the casket lid, is a hold over from the Victorian era when a few people had a fear of being buried prematurely. This was a time when embalming was not practiced widely and the deceased had to be buried within a short amount of time after death. There were alarm devices built into the casket, that were attached to a bell on top of the grave to alert people that the person had been buried prematurely. These devices found limited use and were proven to be unnecessary.

The best way to ensure that your wishes are carried out would be to prearrange and prepay for the services and merchandise you want, with a reputable funeral home. You can find reputable firm by searching on a website like Angieslist or with the local Better Business Bureau. The second step would be to leave instructions with your Brother or another trusted person to go to the funeral home at the time of your death and have the funeral director show them the incision they made to inject the embalming chemicals into the circulatory system.

I hope this helped answer your questions,

Erin Phelps


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Erin Phelps


I can answer any questions about funerals,embalming, cremation, green burial, home funerals, burial on your own land, scattering of cremated remains and any other death related questions you may have.


I have worked in the death care industry since 1977, owning my own funeral home since 1990. I worked as an EMT at a funeral home based ambulance service for 6 years gain much experience there. When I opened my funeral home, my goal was to provide honest, straightforward, significant and affordable services to the families who called upon me for my services. Since Sept. 2008, I have served as a member of the Oregon State Mortuary & Cemetery Board, which regulates the operation of mortuarys and cemeteries in Oregon. I have been a regular attendee and speaker at various funeral related seminars over the years and am a frequent contributor to "Mortuary Management" magazine. I was one of the first funeral directors in Oregon to offer "Green" or "Natural" burial services and to offer assistance to families who wish to take care of their own family members at home. I also have vast experience in the repatriation of a deceased to their country of origin.

Oregon Funeral Directors Association, International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association, Cremation Association of America, Funeral Ethics Association Natural End Funeral Services - Charter Member.

Mortuary Management Funeral Monitor Funeral Service Insider

Attended the University of Oregon Associates of Science Degree - Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham, Oregon

Awards and Honors
Top 10 Eye Enucleators in Oregon. Nationally Board Certified Funeral Director/Embalmer Honored in "Funeral Monitor", Aug. 2007 for my business practices.

Past/Present Clients
Since 1990, I have served over 10,000 families, requesting the gamute of services ranging from the simplest to the most elaborate. Servicing christian, jewish, muslim, buddhist, hindu and humanists, along with families from every continent in the world.

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