|Are you facing
the difficult task of organizing a funeral? This brief guide aims
to outline some of the main points, and Arizona state laws, which will
help you start the process. It can be an extremely daunting task
to make funeral arrangements, especially if this is the first time you
have had to do it and you are coping with your bereavement at the same
There are around 190 funeral
homes and cremation providers in the state of Arizona, with the three main
areas being Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson.
Arizona State Board of Funeral
Directors and Embalmers publishes a ‘Consumer Guide to Arizona Funerals
Information’ pamphlet that state law requires your funeral establishment
to issue to you. It gives you a general outline and clearly states
your rights as a consumer when purchasing funeral products and services.
According to Arizona law only an “authorizing agent” can make funeral arrangements.
This agent should be a spouse, next of kin, or a person identified in a
healthcare power of attorney. If the deceased was legally separated
from his/her spouse, or in petition for a divorce, the spouse cannot be
the authorizing agent.
How do you choose which
funeral home or cremation provider is right for your needs?
Choosing the right funeral provider
is perhaps the most important decision to make at first. With so
many funeral homes to choose from, it can be difficult knowing where to
start. It is advisable to talk to family and friends to get recommendations.
However, you may not have a recommendation, or may need different funeral
services, or even just want to compare funeral services and costs.
As funeral prices do vary quite significantly between different funeral
homes, it is always advisable to consult more than one funeral home for
equivalent prices. The
How do I find a funeral
home or cremation provider in Arizona?
There are several directories
that list funeral homes and cremation providers in Arizona. US Funerals
Online is one of the oldest and most comprehensive dedicated funeral home
directories. We offer a FREE listing to ALL funeral homes and cremation
providers, so every funeral business in your area should be listed by city
and in zip code order, making it exceptionally easy to locate your local
funeral service providers. Visit our directory pages and use the
drop-down list to locate your city.
Do you want a burial or
It may help you in deciding
who is the right funeral provider for you to know what kind of services
you are requiring. Different funeral homes often have greater experience
and skills in different services. Do you want a burial or a cremation?
Do you want a full-service funeral and require a location that can offer
visitation and a chapel for a service? Or are you looking for a cremation?
Arizona has a higher than average cremation rate at 60%, so the number
of funeral homes offering cremation services is quite extensive.
Before you start contacting funeral directors, it can be useful to write
down exactly what you require, so as not to be confused when making inquiries.
You may find the tips and checklist on our ‘Planning Ahead’ page useful.
Cremation is by far the cheaper option when arranging a disposition.
It removes the need for many of the most expensive elements such as a casket,
burial vault, cemetery plot and grave marker.
What is the cost of a
funeral or cremation in Arizona?
This is the question that most
people are seeking out online these days. As savvy consumers in an
Internet world, we shop around to find the best deals, and we expect to
compare prices. Purchasing funeral and cremation services these days
is no different. Unfortunately, not all funeral homes openly disclose
prices. A local family-owned funeral business is likely to offer
you the best deal, but it is not always obvious who these are. Service
Corporation International (SCI) operates a number of funeral and cremation
brands in Arizona and you should be aware that you are dealing with a large
corporate chain. These brands are Dignity Memorial, Neptune Society,
National Cremation Society and Advantage Funeral and Cremation Services.
Arizona state law requires
that the funeral establishment does provide you with a general price list
(GPL), a casket price list and an outer burial container price list when
you consult with them about funeral costs.
If you proceed to contract
their services, they must provide you with a ‘statement of funeral goods
and services’ listing all your selected services and products. Do
check your contract very carefully before you sign it, as once you have
signed it you are obligated to pay for the services requested.
Do note that certain items you request, that are often provided by a third-party,
are referred to as ‘cash advances’, and these must be paid for upfront.
These include such things as flowers, obituary notices, death certificates
What do I need to understand
about cremation laws in Arizona?
Each state has its own legislation
that governs funeral practice. A crematory must abide by certain
practice standards in disposing of human remains by cremation. In
Arizona a cremation can only be performed once a ‘Cremation Authorization
Form’ has been signed by the legal next of kin and the coroner has issued
the cremation permit. There is a mandatory waiting period of 24 hours before
a cremation can proceed but that being said, it usually takes about 3 days
to make all the necessary arrangements and complete the paperwork. A casket
is NOT required by law for a cremation. All that is required is a
suitable rigid container. A cremation container is usually a reinforced
cardboard or plywood box. If you wish to hold a funeral service
before the cremation, some funeral homes offer rental caskets.
conducted after the mandatory
waiting period and cremation authorization has been completed. Generally
the cost of cremation is reduced because a basic cremation container is
used and minimal services are required from the funeral director.
Direct cremations in Arizona
A direct cremation is the least
expensive cremation option. It offers the most affordable funeral
alternative in Arizona if you wish to conduct a funeral at a minimal cost.
A direct cremation is when the deceased is collected from the place of
death, transferred to the funeral home or crematory, and a cremation is
Is embalming required
No, embalming is not required
by state law if the deceased is refrigerated, cremated or buried within
24 hours. However, a funeral director may recommend embalming if
a funeral is not expected to be conducted immediately, or if a viewing
or an open-casket ceremony is required. Funeral establishments are not
required to have refrigeration by law, so this may be something to take
into account when selecting a funeral provider if you wish to avoid embalming.
third-party seller and your
funeral establishment must accept it, and cannot charge you a surcharge
for doing so. You can generally save a considerable amount of money
when purchasing a casket from a retail casket seller. The sale of
a casket had long been a significant way that a funeral home made a profit
on a funeral, sometimes marking them up by as much as 500%. After
the funeral rule was introduced and an abundance of casket retailers emerged,
prices for caskets have come down. Even Costco and Walmart now sell
caskets online. If you shop around you will find that you can purchase
a standard casket for as little as $995 these days. Many casket retailers
ship across the U.S. and offer a next-day delivery to your funeral home.
It is advisable to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable casket
retailer that provides excellent customer service.
What are my options for
purchasing a casket or alternative container?
A casket is not required by
Arizona state law for burial, and a “rigid, combustible container” is all
that is required for cremation. Most crematories and cemeteries will
have their minimum requirements, so you should make yourself aware of these.
But do not feel pressurized into purchasing a casket if it is not required.
A casket, whether rubber gasket-sealed or not, will not prevent natural
According to the Federal
Trade Commission’s ‘funeral rule’, you have the right to purchase a casket
What are burial and cemetery
plot requirements in Arizona?
All cemeteries will have specific
regulations that govern the burial plots they manage. They require
a minimum container for burial (a casket) and often a grave liner to protect
the structure of the burial plot and prevent the collapse of the gravesite.
Some cemeteries may insist on a vault liner, and may also have limitations
on what kind of grave marker can be erected and how long after the burial
you must wait before erecting it. Some cemeteries also offer above-ground
burial in structures such as mausoleums, or cremated remains interment
in columbarium niches.
Can I preplan a funeral
or cremation? How does Arizona state law govern preneed plans?
Yes, you can preplan a funeral.
In Arizona you can arrange a preneed funeral plan where the funds are held
in trust, or by having a funeral insurance policy held with an insurance
agent. Aside from that you can arrange your own funeral plan and
set the funds aside in a Payable-on-death (POD) account. For more
information about this read our page on ‘Planning Ahead’.
backdrop for an ash scattering
ceremony, and the National Park does issue free permits for the scattering
of cremation ashes. All you need to do is download a letter from
www.nps.gov, which can be found here
What are the laws for
scattering ashes in Arizona?
The cremation rate is increasing
and over 60% of Arizonans choose cremation as their preferred end-of-life
choice. Consequently, ash scattering is now a popular memorial activity
in Arizona. You can generally scatter cremated remains on public
land without the need of a permit. If you wish to scatter remains
on your own private property you are at liberty to do so. If you
wish to scatter ashes on other private lands (i.e. golf course), you must
In Arizona the Grand Canyon
makes for a dramatic
and abide by the regulations
set out in the letter. You must have a copy of the letter with you
at the time of scattering, and have notified the Concessions Management
Office by phone or email the date and place of your scattering ceremony.
You must also ensure you scatter the ashes in an appropriate manner in
order that they do disperse in entirety. No manner of memorial markers
are permitted. To read more about how to scatter ashes visit our
section on Ash Scattering.
For an aerial scattering
you must comply with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved
dispersement routes over the Grand Canyon. There are a number of
aerial ash scattering companies that operate in Arizona. A basic
scattering in areas of Arizona starts at around $400, but costs around
$550 for the Grand Canyon area, with additional costs for incremental services.
who qualifies for the allowance.
This is $485 for a direct burial and $385 for a direct cremation, which
is payable direct to the funeral establishment.
What help is available
with funeral expenses in Arizona?
The recent economic downturn
has resulted in more families struggling to pay funeral expenses in Arizona.
If you need assistance with the cost of a funeral you should consult with
your county social services department. Most municipalities do have
a budget to cover basic funeral or cremation costs for those on welfare
and without funds to pay for a funeral. This is a very basic amount,
and they are very stringent about
Are whole body donations
permitted in Arizona?
Yes, you can donate your body
to science in Arizona. The University of Arizona accept medical donations
to science, but you will need to check with them directly as to any limitations
on donor acceptance. US Funerals Online partners with Medcure who
offer a whole body donation program nationwide.
What do you do if your
loved one dies away from Arizona?
Dealing with the death of a
loved one is distressful enough, but can be made even more difficult if
a loved one has died whilst away from home. These days as we are
a more transient society and travel more, this is happening more often.
You will need to decide if you wish to ship the deceased home to Arizona
for burial, or wish to perform a cremation at the place of death and ship
the cremated remains back. Read our section on ‘What to do when a
loved one dies away from home’ for more information.
Where do I get a copy
of a death certificate from in Arizona?
You can obtain copies of death
certificates from the Office of Vital Records (OVR), Arizona Department
of Health Services, 1818 West Adams, Phoenix, AZ 85007
What should you do if you
have a complaint about funeral services or products you have purchased?
In the first instance you
should attempt to resolve your grievance directly with the funeral home
or cremation provider. If this cannot be successfully achieved, you
can make a written complaint to the State Board of Funeral Directors and
Embalmers at 1400 W. Washington, Suite 230, Phoenix, AZ 85007.
For the Tucson area, you
may also wish to contact the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Southern Arizona,
P.O. Box 12661, Tucson, AZ 85732, who actively work as an advocate for
For the Phoenix-Mesa area,
you can contact the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Central Arizona, PO Box
31297, Phoenix, AZ 85046. There is also the Funeral Consumers Alliance
of Northern Arizona at 1280 E. Rosser Street, Prescott, AZ 86301.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
homes in Arizona
Memorials - Low cost funerals & cremations in Arizona
Last Revised: 09/04/2014