Funeral Arrangements

Communicating your funeral wishes is a kindness to family members. They will have many decisions to make after your death, on top of grieving. Take time to consider and write down or explain clearly to family:

  • Would you prefer to be buried or cremated?
  • Where would you like to be buried? You can select a plot and pay for it in advance, if you wish.
  • Where would you like your ashes stored or scattered?
  • What type of funeral service would you prefer? In a religious institution? What denomination?
  • Do you want an open or closed casket?
  • Is there a charity that you would like donations made to on your behalf?

In general, a funeral home or mortuary will take care of the remains. Funeral homes and mortuaries provide services including embalming, restoration of the body, viewings, memorial and funeral services, cremation, and burials. It is not necessary to use a funeral home and you need not use all of the services provided. For example, embalming, restoration, and burial is the most common process but other options are available.

You may choose not to be embalmed. Some people object to embalming on religious, cultural, or environmental grounds. However, Utah law requires that a body must be embalmed or refrigerated if it is not buried or cremated within 24 hours of death. Funeral homes may make refrigeration available on request.

Funeral arrangements can be very expensive. Consideration of different options or saving money for arrangements in advance can ease the burden on family members. For example, cremation is usually less costly than burial.

Funeral services (a service with the body present) or memorial services (a service held without the body or following cremation) may be held at a funeral home, at the home of the deceased person, in a religious institution, or at other locations.

Adapted from text provided by: Caring Connections, A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program University of Utah Health Sciences Center. Caring Connections is sponsored in part by the Ben B. and Iris M. Margolis Foundation.