Funerals/cremation

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Question
My husband passed away 12/4/13.. He was in the hospital with a heart attack.. We made arrangements for cremation and I picked his ashes up on 12/10/13.. Now I can't get the funeral home to get the death certificates to me.. I need these for insurance purposes.. What can I do and whom can I contact to get this taken care ?.. I paid for them at the time of cremation as well as my own.. Can you tell me what to do next ?..

Answer
Hi Wanda,

Professional boards are created by state governments for exactly this type of situation - you've paid a licensed professional (the funeral director) for a product (the death certificate) that you need for legal purposes, and that the professional promised to get for you. It's been a reasonable period of time and you still don't have what you need and what you were sold.

The Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors (who licenses the funeral director) is there to help you. Call them (here: http://pr.mo.gov/embalmers-staff.asp) and tell a staff person what's going on. You should get immediate assistance. If you don't, post a follow-up question here. But this should do it.

best,

Cynthia

Funerals

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Cynthia Beal

Expertise

Typical questions include 1) Where can I go for a natural burial? 2) What types of coffins, urns and other "packaging" are best for natural decomposition? 3)How do I plan for a natural funeral? 4) Do I have to be embalmed? and other questions in this vein. I'm available to answer general consumer questions about natural burial, home and natural funerals, and sustainable cemetery management. I answer questions about general cemetery matters, and offer suggestions about how to deal with remains, cremated or buried, interment rights, rules for cemeteries and plot owners, covering conventional as well as alternative options. I also answer questions from professionals, home funeral guides, and family members about how to manage a natural funeral either in the mortuary or at the home, how to best use natural coffins and urns, and how to convert cemeteries to natural, sustainable practices. I will answer questions from volunteer cemetery managers about how to offer natural burial in their rural, Pioneer, or non-profit cemeteries. If I don't know an answer I'll refer the questioner to someone who does. DISCLAIMER -- I am a certified pre-need sales person in the State of Oregon. I am not a licensed attorney, tax adviser, estate planner, funeral director, embalmer, accountant, public official, or any other professional that may be associated with issues the question brings up and any answers I provide should not be relied upon if such expertise is required by the asker (as per the All Expert suggestion). I provide my own personal opinions, based on my experience in business, Nature and its systems, and with human beings after 55 years of life on the planet.

Experience

Natural burial and sustainable cemetery management experience: I'm the founder of the Natural Burial Company and a member of the Sustainable Cemetery Management Group. Over 25 years in the natural products industry, and 9 years running the Natural Burial Company. I've done some consulting for existing and start-up natural cemetery operations. I'm currently an instructor at Oregon State University, facilitating the creation of a program in sustainable cemetery management and stimulating research in cemetery-oriented processes and functions.

Organizations
ICCFA - International Cemetery, Crematory and Funeral Association Green Business Network Funeral Consumers Alliance

Publications
American Cemetery Magazine; Funeral Business Advisor; Real Goods Source Book; American Funeral Director Magazine, etc.

Education/Credentials
There is no degree in natural burials or funerals, and no accredited education provided for sustainable cemetery management. We're developing a program at Oregon State University but it hasn't fully launched yet.

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