guide for Missouri from US Funerals Online provides an overview of some
of the key questions you may have concerning arranging a funeral or cremation.
We have tried to give you the top-line detail in layman’s terms with regard
to how state legislation affects your rights in purchasing funeral services
and products. If there is anything we have not answered in this guide,
feel free to ask us the question.
How do you choose which Missouri
funeral home or cremation provider is right for your needs?
Actually finding the ‘right’
funeral provider for your specific needs can make everything else much
easier to organize. The Missouri State Board of Embalmers & Funeral
Directors licenses funeral directors and funeral establishments in Missouri,
and you should ensure you are dealing with a reputable licensed funeral
home. Many people opt to go to a funeral home that they either know
of, or have been referred to, but this does not necessarily mean that you
are choosing the funeral provider that is right for YOUR needs.
Try to outline what your
key requirements are. Do you require a burial or a cremation?
Do you need to have the funeral quickly, or do you need time? Is
there a funeral plan, or life insurance? Do you have a specific budget
for funeral expenses? Clearly framing some specifics about what your
needs are, can help you narrow down the selection process for a funeral
home. There are around 900 funeral homes, crematories and cemeteries in
the state of Missouri, so narrowing down your selection is important.
wishes. Choosing burial
or cremation is a personal choice and you should not feel swayed by anyone.
Burial is still more common in Missouri, although the cremation rate is
growing fast, and is now around 28%. A cremation tends to work out
much less than a burial, which is why many more people are now opting for
How do I find a funeral home
or cremation provider in Missouri?
You can locate your nearest
funeral home or cremation provider by choosing from the shortcut links
to the main cities on the right hand side. Alternatively, visit our
funeral homes directory, where all funeral homes are listed by city in
zip code order.
Do you want a burial or cremation?
This is one of the primary decisions
you will need to make, especially if the deceased had not left express
There is a 24-hour waiting
period before a cremation can be conducted. A cremation authorization
form must be signed by the legal next-of-kin, or in the case of preplanning
you can sign your own authorization.
Can I arrange a ‘home funeral’
or green burial in Missouri?
Yes, you can legally conduct
your own home funeral or home burial in Missouri. If you perform
a home burial, the designated burial plot land must not exceed one acre.
A deed must be drawn up and the land deeded in trust to the County Commission,
and you should check with local county ordnance before committing any land.
The deed must be filed within 60 days. You do need to ensure that
any burial plot is at least 150 feet from any water supply and 25 feet
from any power lines or land boundaries.
If you wish to carry out
your own home death care for a lost loved one, there are support organizations
that can assist you with what you need to know. Check out our related
articles at the bottom of this page.
What is the cost of a funeral
or cremation in Missouri?
This is a question that many
get on the Internet to try and find out. We are all more price-conscious
shoppers today and with a funeral purchase, just like any other purchase,
we would like to find out prices before we start shopping. Unfortunately,
the funeral industry has historically been one that does not like to openly
disclose prices. The average price for a burial as quoted by the
National Funeral Director’s Association (NFDA 2012) is $7,755, and this
does not include any burial plot expenses. The Funeral Consumers
Alliance of Greater Kansas City (FCAKC) conducts funeral price surveys.
In 2012 they surveyed 88 funeral homes and discovered that the average
price for a direct cremation was $1,743. This is the average price
for a cremation without a service. The average price for a cremation
with a service is likely to be more in the region of $3,000.
We would strongly recommend
you do compare prices between funeral homes before making a decision.
It is not uncommon at all to find that the price for the same services
can differ considerably, even within the same area.
DFS Memorials - low cost
cremation providers for Missouri
Kansas City (913) 210-0212 - Direct
St Louis (314) 200-2604
- Direct Cremations $750.00
There are more funeral homes
in Missouri that are now openly disclosing prices and even offering cremation
packages, such as the cremation providers DFS Memorials works with.
According the to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) ‘funeral rule’, a
funeral home MUST provide you with prices if you make an inquiry, even
by phone, and you do not need to provide any contact information to them.
If a funeral home seems unwilling to simply quote you a price for a cremation
or burial over the phone, this is probably a sign that they are not transparent
about their pricing structure.
Sending funeral flowers in Missouri
If you wish to send funeral
flowers to a funeral home in Missouri, US Funerals Online has partnered
with BloomsToday to offer a 25% discount on sympathy flowers to our visitors.
Is embalming required in Missouri?
In Missouri there are regulations
for licensed funeral homes that require refrigeration or embalming when
the deceased is to be held in their establishment for a period exceeding
24-hours. This is NOT a stature of law, but a regulation that licensed
funeral homes are governed by. Refrigeration can more than adequately
preserve a body for a period of time prior to a funeral, so do not feel
obligated to undertake embalming if you feel strongly that you do not wish
to have your loved one embalmed. If a timely burial or cremation
is conducted, there should be no need for embalming. If you arrange
your own home funeral these regulations do not apply.
your overall funeral costs,
so it is very wise to do some research and consider your best options for
buying a casket. Buying a casket from a third-party seller can save
you money. Read our guide to buying a casket if you would like to
know more about your options.
What are my options for purchasing
a casket or alternative container in Missouri?
The FTC’s funeral rule means
that you can purchase a casket from somewhere other than your funeral home
and they MUST accept your casket and cannot charge you a handling fee.
Do bear in mind that there is no law that stipulates a casket must be used
for a burial, and the law only states that a suitable “rigid, combustible
container” is used for a cremation.
A casket can be the single,
most expensive item in
What are burial and cemetery
plot requirements in Missouri?
As mentioned above you can conduct
a home burial in Missouri. If you opt for a designated public cemetery,
it would be wise to thoroughly check any cemetery regulations before committing
to a burial plot. Burial vaults are NOT required by law, but many
cemeteries require burial vaults or liners as part of their ‘rules’.
Cemetery regulations also govern such things as fees and arrangements for
opening and closing a burial plot, guidelines for what kind of marker can
be erected and what kind of perpetual care is included.
Can I preplan a funeral or cremation?
How does Missouri state law govern preneed plans?
Yes you can preplan your funeral
requirements; this is commonly called “preneed”. In Missouri only
a Missouri resident, registered and licensed as a funeral establishment
can sell preneed contracts. A funeral plan is funded either by a
trust fund or an insurance policy. You should carefully check and
consider the terms of any preneed contract, especially such things as how
transferable the plan is or what level of refund you get if you cancel.
The law only requires that 85% of the funds be placed in trust.
Do bear in mind that you
can preplan your funeral wishes and put aside appropriate funds in a payable-on-death
(POD) account. This can be a safe and secure way to plan ahead and
save family the emotional decision-making and financial burden at the time
of death. The named beneficiary of your POD account can withdraw
the funds immediately at the time of death, without having to go through
probate. With arrangements such as these, it is advisable to revisit
your plan every few years and check that the amount you have put aside
still adequately covers your needs.
marker or shrine to be placed
at a scattering site. The scattering of cremated remains is still
somewhat of an ‘un-policed’ matter, and you should use commonsense guidelines.
Cremated remains are basically organic, sterile matter and so are of no
detriment or harm to the environment. So long as you are not scattering
anywhere that could offend someone, you should feel free to conduct a scattering
wherever you chose.
What are the laws for scattering
ashes in Missouri?
As cremation gains popularity,
this is a question we are asked more and more frequently. Missouri
law stipulates that you may scatter cremated remains on private land, with
the permission of the landowner. If you wish to scatter ashes in
uninhabited public rural lands, the general guidance is to scatter at least
100 yards from any road, trail, and body of water or developed facility.
If you wish to scatter ashes in public parklands or a state park you may
need to get a permit. State parks will require that only biodegradable
containers or floral tributes be used, they will not allow any memorial
You should note that many
cemeteries have set up ‘scattering gardens’ to facilitate the scattering
of remains, however, they will to charge you for this, as they will to
inter ashes within a pre-existing gravesite, or even to scatter on top
of an existing burial plot. If you truly wish to scatter ashes, with
no requirement for a designated interment, you should be able to do it
without incurring a cost.
What help is available with
funeral expenses in Missouri?
Sadly more people are seeking
help with funeral expenses these days. There is limited help available,
and you should read our article ‘Funeral Financing - A breakdown of your
options’, which provides a comprehensive breakdown of all options you have
to pay for a funeral,
There is a one-off death
payment from the SSA of $255 if you qualify. Veterans and certain
dependents are also entitled to certain benefits such as a free cemetery
plot and grave marker. There is limited interment availability at
the VA cemeteries in Jefferson City and Springfield, but Jefferson Barracks
and the state-run cemeteries at Bloomfield, Higginsville, Jacksonville
and Waynesville have space available.
Chapter 194, Section 194.150
of Missouri State Licensing Board refers to the disposition of unclaimed
bodies and stipulates that an unclaimed body shall be forwarded to an “education
institution” within 36 hours. That institution must hold the body
for 30 days in the event that family may come forward to claim the body.
After this time, the body may be used for anatomical purposes and then
Are whole body donations permitted
Yes, whole body donations are
permitted in Missouri. There are five institutions in Missouri that
have anatomical gift programs, and you should check with the establishment
that you are interested in donating to. The details of donating can
differ by institution, for example, what limitations there are on a donation,
whether the institution or family are liable for the transportation costs,
how long the family may have to wait for the cremated remains to be returned
The University of Medicine
and Biosciences, Kansas City
Washington University School
of Medicine, St. Louis
St. Louis University, St.
A.T. Still University, Kirksville
Columbia School of Medicine,
US Funerals Online has partnered
with Biogift, a nationwide body donation organization, who offer a free
service that includes collection of the deceased, the donation and the
return of the cremated remains to the family within 3 – 4 weeks.
For more information, visit our page on Body
Shipping to find out more.
What do you do if your loved
one dies away from Missouri?
This happens more frequently
now that we are a more transient society. If your loved one dies
away from Missouri, you need to determine whether you wish to transport
the body back for a burial, or whether to conduct a cremation at the place
of death and transport the cremated remains home. It can work out
quite costly to transport a body, especially if it is to be shipped internationally.
Read our section on Funeral
Where do I get a copy of a death
certificate from in Missouri?
You can obtain a certified copy
of a death certificate in Missouri from the Department of Health and Senior
Services Bureau of Vital records. They are located at: P.O. Box 570,
Jefferson City, MO 65102. A request for a copy of a death certificate
can be made in person or by mail and the charge is $13.00 per record and
$10.00 for each additional copy. A mail order request may take 2
– 4 weeks to deliver. If you wish to order a copy online, you need to use
the Vital Chek system. There is an additional surcharge for this
service, with a further charge if you wish an expedited dispatch service.
What should you do if you have
a complaint about funeral services or products you have purchased?
If you should find that you
have a grievance or complaint about a licensed funeral establishment in
Missouri, we would recommend that you attempt to resolve it with the funeral
home in question in the first instance. If you are unable to reach
a satisfactory resolution, you may make a formal complaint via the Missouri
State Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors. Details concerning
how to make a complaint and a complaint form can be found here
Missouri State Board of Embalmers
& Funeral Directors
3605 Missouri Boulevard
P.O. Box 423
Jefferson City, 65102
The Funeral Consumers Alliance
(FCA) is also a useful support organization that helps to champion the
rights of consumers in the purchase of funeral services and products.
There is a local chapter of the FCA based in Kansas City.
||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.
‘Death--Disposition of Dead Bodies’ Statutes
Last Revised: 10/31/2013
Consumers Alliance of Kansas City
Homes in Missouri