|We have put
together this funeral-planning guide for Oklahoma to help you find the
key information you may need to arrange a funeral or cremation. Although
the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) ‘funeral rule’ was established to
help protect your rights when making funeral purchases, this funeral rule
is superseded by local state law in some states. This guide has basic
information about some of the crucial decisions you will need to make when
How do you choose which funeral
home or cremation provider is right for your needs?
Choosing the ‘right’ funeral
home can be very important to ensuring your funeral needs are met.
Traditionally many people just opted for the local funeral home they knew
of, or had been referred to. But tradition is changing, and people
can often have specific funeral requirements that they need to have met,
such as working to a tight budget or wanting something more unconventional.
It is always wise to ask around and check reviews on funeral homes, and
we would recommend you compare services and costs between providers, as
these can vary considerably. It will help to be clear about what
your basic needs are to help you narrow down your selection process.
Generally the immediate next
of kin or an appointed legal representative will make the funeral arrangements.
There is a succession stature [21 O.S. §1158] that specifies who has
the responsibility if there are several family members, and it indicates
the priority as: spouse, adult children (over 18), parents and brothers/sisters.
There can be exceptions depending on certain circumstances in which case
you should consult an attorney.
How do I find a funeral home
or cremation provider in Oklahoma?
There are over 600 funeral homes,
cemeteries and crematories in Oklahoma. US Funerals Online lists all funeral
establishments in our ‘Funeral homes’ directory, by state, city and in
zip code order. This does make it easy for you to locate and review
the funeral homes and cremation providers in your area. You can also
use the short cut links to the main cities in Oklahoma on the right hand
side of this page.
Who is responsible for making
the funeral arrangements?
Do you want a burial or cremation?
This is probably the single
most important decision to be made initially. Choosing between burial
or cremation should be an entirely personal choice. Burial has traditionally
been the preferred disposition choice in Oklahoma, however, times are changing
and cremation is gaining popularity. Cost can be a driving factor
in making this decision today, as the average burial costs around $7,755
(according the National Funeral Directors Association 2012), and this does
not include cemetery costs. In comparison the average cremation costs
around $3,000, so this can significantly save on overall funeral expenses.
In order for a cremation
to be conducted a ‘cremation authorization’ must be signed by the next
of kin, and then a cremation permit is obtained from the State Medical
Examiner before the deceased can be cremated. There is a mandatory
48-hour waiting period between the time of death and a cremation being
What is the cost of a funeral
or cremation in Oklahoma?
This is a question that many
get online to try and find out these days. We are all price-conscious
consumers today and used to being able to check and compare prices online.
Being that making these inquiries can be at an emotionally distressing
and time-critical time, it is all the more urgent to be able to obtain
the information quickly. Unfortunately, many funeral homes do not
disclose prices on their websites. According to the FTC’s funeral
rule, a funeral home MUST have a General Price List (GPL) and provide you
with prices if you make an inquiry by phone or in person. You do
not have to provide any personal details to make a price inquiry.
If a funeral home is reluctant to simply provide you with prices, it is
probably a warning sign.
As mentioned above the average
funeral costs around $7,755 and a cremation can cost in the region of $3,000.
Costs do depend upon many of the ancillary services such as clergy, music,
funeral stationery, flowers and obituary notices.
Can I arrange a ‘home funeral’
or green burial in Oklahoma?
Yes, you can conduct home death
care in Oklahoma. According to Oklahoma stature [59 O.S. §396.19]
the family must ensure that a death certificate is filed at the health
department. Home funerals and green burials are having something
of a revival, and there are organizations that can support you if you wish
to look after your loved one’s funeral care. Check the links at the
bottom of this guide.
Oklahoma laws pertaining
to home burial indicate that burial outside of a cemetery within city limits
is prohibited. However, if you live outside of city limits you may
be able to bury your family on your own property. You would need
to check with local county ordnance about zoning laws, and you would need
to map out any burial site to be lodged with the property deeds.
The general guidance for a burial is for it to be at least 150 feet from
any water supply and 25 feet from any power lines or boundaries.
Sending funeral flowers in Oklahoma
Funeral flowers are an integral,
but often expensive, enhancement to a funeral service. US Funerals
Online partners with BloomsToday to offer our visitors a 25% discount on
funeral flower orders. Visit our Funeral Flowers page or phone toll-free
on (800) 317-4807.
Is embalming required in Oklahoma?
No, embalming is not required
by law, however state law does require refrigerated storage if a body is
to be held longer than 24 hours. Refrigeration is an adequate preservative
means, therefore you should not feel obligated to have your loved one embalmed
if you really do not wish to. Some funeral homes will have policies
that stipulate embalming for a public viewing or open casket service.
Embalming may be required if the deceased needs to be transported.
What are my options for purchasing
a casket or alternative container?
Firstly you should be aware
that there is no law that requires a casket. A casket, or alternative container,
is a practicality required for transporting the body. An alternative
container, such as a cardboard or plywood box, is all that is required
for cremation purposes. Although the FTC funeral rule was supposed
to enable consumers to have the right to purchase caskets from elsewhere
than a funeral home, Oklahoma is one of the few states that has such a
powerful local lobby that only a licensed funeral director can sell caskets
What are burial and cemetery
plot requirements in Oklahoma?
We mentioned above the requirements
for a burial on your own land. If you are opting for a burial plot
in a designated public, community or religious cemetery, you do need to
be aware of the legislation and regulations governing cemeteries.
Firstly, there is no law
requiring a burial vault, however, many cemeteries have regulations that
stipulate a burial liner must be used. This is largely to maintain
the integrity of the ground and prevent any subsidence. Cemeteries
usually have regulations that do specify the ‘rules’ that govern interments
on their site. You should check these carefully before you commit
to a plot. Check for such things as fees for opening and closing
a plot, what kind of grave marker can be erected and when, and what kind
of perpetual care is covered. If you should have a concern or complaint
about a cemetery in Oklahoma, you can contact the Consumer Protection Division
of the Attorney General of Oklahoma at the State Capitol, Room 112, Oklahoma
City, OK 73105 Phone (405) 521-4274.
Can I preplan a funeral or cremation?
How does Oklahoma state law govern preneed plans?
Yes, you can preplan a funeral
or cremation, this is generally referred to as a “preneed contract”, and
in many cases it can be a good idea to preplan. It alleviates surviving
family of the emotional and financial burden, and ensures that your explicit
wishes are met.
In Oklahoma preplan funeral
plans are financed either through a trust fund or an insurance policy.
Anyone selling preneed contracts must have obtained a permit from the State
Insurance Commissioner according to stature 36 O.S. §6121. You
can preplan and prepay funeral arrangements either for yourself or a family
Aside from entering into
a preneed contract with a funeral home, another option is to put aside
funds to cover your funeral arrangements. This can be easily done
with a payable-on-death bank account where the beneficiary can quickly
withdraw the funds upon death, without any need to go through probate.
The most important thing is to ensure that no matter how you make plans,
your family are aware of your plans, and can access the relevant paperwork
at the time of need.
What are the laws for scattering
ashes in Oklahoma?
The laws pertaining to the scattering
of cremated remains in Oklahoma is something that we often get asked about,
and many people are unclear about. Basically you can scatter anywhere
on private land with the landowners consent. If you wish to scatter ashes
in uninhabited public rural lands, the general guidance is to scatter at
least 100 feet 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
marker or shrine to be placed at a scattering site.
Cremated remains are sterile,
organic matter and therefore pose no threat to the environment, so scattering
ashes should be considered a safe practice. Obviously, the thing
to consider is that you are scattering the mortal remains of a loved one
and once completed, there is no going-back. Do not rush to scatter
ashes, allow yourself time to be sure of the decision, or alternatively
retain a small amount of the ashes in a keepsake container. Read
our section on Ash Scattering for more guidance about how to scatter and
What help is available with
funeral expenses in Oklahoma?
There is limited assistance
available to help with funeral expenses, and it varies so much depending
on your local county. Some counties do provide burial or cremation
assistance and you would need to contact your county social services office
to inquire. There are a few indigent and Native American burial assistance
programs available in Oklahoma. A BIA Burial Assistance program serves
Ottawa and Deleware counties covering final expenses for the Seneca-Cayuga
tribe members. Further information is available from the Program
Director Sue Channing Phone: 918-787-6803
There is a $255 lump sum
death benefit payable from the SSA if you qualify. Veterans and certain
dependents are also entitled to some benefits, which include a free cemetery
plot and grave marker. You would need to contact your nearest Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA) to find out more or talk to your funeral home.
There is a VA cemetery at Fort Gibson and Fort Sill, and there is a state-run
veteran cemetery in Oklahoma City.
Are whole body donations permitted
Yes, you can donate your body
to science in Oklahoma. You can contact the State Anatomical Board
on (405) 271-2424 to find out more about donating or contact the following
• Oklahoma State University’s
Center for Health Sciences (918) 561-8446.
• The University of Oklahoma
Health Science Center (405) 271-2424, ext# 46295
Do bear in mind that there
are restrictions on the acceptance of a donation and therefore you should
have an alternative option. Not all donations are accepted,
and the arrangements and costs can vary between institutions.
US Funerals Online is affiliated
with Biogift, a nationwide body donation organization, and they offer free
transportation of the deceased and the return of the cremated remains within
3 – 4 weeks.
What do you do if your loved
one dies away from Oklahoma?
If your loved one has died away
from home you will need to decide fairly quickly if you wish to transport
the remains back to Oklahoma, or conduct a cremation at the place of death
and ship the cremated remains home. Funeral shipping can add significantly
to your overall funeral expenses. Check out our section on Funeral
Shipping for more detailed information.
Where do I get a copy of a death
certificate from in Oklahoma?
You can obtain a certified copy
of a death certificate from the Vital Records Service at the Department
of Health. You need to complete an application form, have ID and
the $15.00 fee, and can obtain a copy by mail or in person to:
Vital Records Service, Room
Oklahoma State Department
1000 Northeast 10th
Oklahoma City, OK
There are also locations
James O. Goodwin Health Center
5051 S. 129th East Ave
Tulsa, OK 74143
Pittsburg County Health Department
1400 East College Avenue
Waiting time is about 4 weeks
by mail or at least one hour in person. If you wish to apply online
you will need to use the Vitalchek system. An expedited service is
available upon request.
What should you do if you have
a complaint about funeral services or products you have purchased?
If you should have a grievance
or complaint about a licensed funeral home in Oklahoma, you should attempt
to resolve this with the funeral home in the first instance. If you
cannot satisfactorily do this, you can make a formal written complaint
to the State Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors at 4545 N. Lincoln
Blvd, Suite 175, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
||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.
Funeral Board – Consumer Information
Consumers Alliance serving Oklahoma
Homes in Oklahoma
Last Revised: 02/05/2014