A funeral home, funeral parlor or mortuary, is a business that provides burial
services for the dead and their families. These services may include a prepared wake
and funeral, and the provision of a chapel
for the funeral.
Funeral homes arrange services in accordance with the wishes of surviving friends and family, whether immediate next of kin or an executor so named in a legal will. The funeral home often takes care of the necessary paperwork, permits, and other details, such as making arrangements with the cemetery
, and providing obituaries
to the news media. The funeral business has a history that dates to the age of the Egyptians who mastered the science of preservation. In recent years many funeral homes have started posting obituaries online and use materials submitted by families to create memorial websites.
There are certain common types of services in North America
A traditional funeral service consists of a viewing (sometimes referred to as a visitation), a funeral service in a place of worship or the funeral home chapel and a graveside committal service.
Direct cremation consists of the funeral home receiving the body, preparing it for the crematory
and filing the necessary legal paperwork.
Direct/immediate burial is the forgoing of a funeral ceremony for a prompt, simple burial.
Moving a body between mortuaries involves preparing it for shipment in a coffin
strapped into an arbitrary or a combination unit (mac pac / airtray). This is common when it is to be buried in a different locality than where the person died.
When a body is brought to a funeral home, it is sometimes embalmed
to delay decomposition or to make the viewing of the body more pleasant. The procedure typically involves removing sufficient blood material to accommodate the preservative chemicals and dyes, aspirating the internal organs
and setting the facial features. Cosmetics are used with the consent of the family to improve the appearance of face and hands for a more natural look. If the face or hands are disfigured by accident, illness or decomposition, the embalmer may utilize restorative techniques to make them presentable for an "open casket" service. If this is not possible, or the family wishes, the funeral home can perform a "closed casket" service.
The funeral home often sets aside one or more large areas for people to gather at a visitation. This area may contain a space to display the body in a casket to visitors who may pay their respects. Funeral and memorial services may also take place at the funeral home. Many funeral homes offer prearrangement options for those who wish to plan their own funerals.
Several large multi-national corporations in this service field have received exposure from high-profile litigation.
[Dummer, Stephen W., ''Mississippi Judicial System: Failing to Meet the Minimum Standard of Justice in Loewen Group, Inc. v. O’Keefe'', 6 GEO. J. L. & PUB. POL’Y 531 (2008).]
The Loewen Group
, Inc., received a particularly large jury verdict in Mississippi
, which was later found to be in error, as the allegations against Loewen Group proved false. The Canadian
-based company then brought suit against the United States
alleging violations under NAFTA
based Service Corporation International
has also had its share of legal troubles in its operations of both funeral homes and cemeteries. In 2009, a class-action lawsuit was filed against SCI and Eden Memorial Park, one of the cemeteries the corporation manages, based on allegations that remains were being moved around to create additional space for future interments. A settlement of $80 million was reached in 2014.
* Funeral Consumers Alliance
Image:Seattle - Butterworth funeral home office - 1900.jpg|thumb|Offices of the Butterworth & Sons mortuary in Seattle, Washington, 1900
Image:J. Levy & Bro.jpg|thumb|J. Levy & Bro Funeral Home in Galveston
Image:Abbey Chapel, Lubbock, TX IMG 4738.JPG|thumb|Abbey Chapel at the Resthaven Memorial Park Cemetery in Lubbock, Texas
Image:Salmisen hautaustoimisto.jpg|thumb|A funeral home Salmisen hautaustoimisto in Jyväskylä, Finland
Image:Purpose of a funeral, Lubbock, TX IMG 4737.JPG|thumb|Reasons for funerals, from "The Funeral from Ancient Egypt to Present-day America", Resthaven Memorial Park
Image:OVERTONFH.jpg|thumb|Overton Funeral Home in Islip, New York
Image:Seattle - Columbia Funeral Home 01.jpg|thumb|Columbia Funeral Home in Seattle, Washington