Colorado Funeral Directors Association

Operating a Funeral Business in Colorado

If you are considering starting a funeral business in Colorado, here are some guidelines to get you started.

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA)
Office of Funeral Establishment and Crematory Registration
Telephone: 303-894-7800

All funeral homes and crematories must be registered with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). Colorado does not license funeral directors or embalmers. Application forms and instructions can be found online at the DORA web site.

Mortuary science laws can be found in Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 12, Article 54.

Unlawful acts include:

  • To embalm and or make final disposition of a body where a crime is suspected without first contacting the coroner.
  • To discriminate in services because of race, creed, color, or national origin.
  • To refuse to release dead human body or cremated remains to custody of person with legal rights regardless of whether or not costs have been paid.
  • Informing person a casket is required when immediate cremation is desired.
  • To embalm or cremate without permission of person who has the right to control disposition.

Some cities and counties may require permits or special zoning review for mortuaries and/or crematories. Check with each city and county where you will be doing business.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Health Facilities Division, Registrar of Vital Statistics

(death certificates, disposition permits)

Phone 303-692-2800

Before moving body, you must ensure a death certificate has been issued. (25-2-110 and 111, C.R.S.). A funeral director or person acting as such must request a final disposition permit from local county health department. Permit must accompany body and be returned to originating authority after final disposition of body.

Colorado Revised Statute section 25-2-110 (8) states "Every funeral establishment shall maintain registration with the Office of the State Registrar." The registration process is simple: the person fills out a form with basic contact information and a central listing is maintained at the State Office that is shared with local offices. When someone comes in to file a death certificate, the office checks to see if they are on the listing. If not, they are required to register at that time.

Persons with questions about vital records may contact State Office field staff: Michelle Cowell (303-692-2183) or Bill Hersh (303-692-2179).

Colorado's new Electronic Death Registration System is expected to begin in April 2015. 


Colorado Division of Insurance

Any person or business that sells pre-paid funeral contracts must be licensed as a Preneed Contract Seller through the Colorado Division of Insurance. (C.R.S. 10-15-101 thru 121)

If you sell or offer to sell advance funeral arrangements through a prepaid contract or insurance policy, you must be licensed as a Preneed Contract Seller by the Colorado Division of Insurance.

 Colorado Secretary of State
All business entities must be registered with the Secretary of State.

Colorado Department of Revenue

Sales of vaults, urns, caskets, etc., are subject to state and local sales tax.

Hazardous Materials and Waste

Many small businesses are likely to produce hazardous wastes that require disposal under state Health Department regulations. Anyone opening these types of businesses (or others you may believe may be generating hazardous waste) should contact the Waste Management Division of the Department of Public Health & Environment.

Non-household generators of infectious waste must develop and implement an on-site infectious waste management plan appropriate for their particular facility. This plan must be available to the hauler of the waste, to the disposal facility, and to the licensing or regulatory agency. The plan must include the designation of infectious waste, provisions for the handling of that waste, staff training, contingency planning for spills or loss of containment, the designation of a person responsible for implementation of the plan, and provisions for appropriate on and off-site treatment or final disposal. [25-15-403 CRS]

Businesses transporting only human remains are not considered common carriers and therefore are not regulated by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

Colorado's mortuary science laws dictate standards of practice for transporting human remains (CRS 12-54-101 to 409)

Shipping of Cremated Remains

Cremated remains may no longer be sent domestically or internationally via Registered Mail Service through the United States Postal Service. Priority Mail Express is the only option for sending cremated remains via the USPS. 

Air Pollution Control

Manufacturing and business procedures frequently release chemicals, solvents, and particulate or smoke emissions into the air. If the emissions are above specified levels, Air Pollution Emission Notice (APEN) is required. Annual fee based on emissions.

Any business that produces air emissions should contact the Technical Assistance Program at 303-692-3320 to determine if they are subject to APEN requirements.

Water Quality Control

Pollutant discharge permits required for ALL discharges into water. 

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
303-844-5285 or 800-755-7090

OSHA enforces a variety of health and safety requirements related to workplace exposure to hazardous and toxic substances, i.e., chemicals present in the workplace which are capable of causing harm. In this definition, the term chemicals includes dusts, mixtures, and common materials such as paints, fuels, and solvents. OSHA currently regulates exposure to approximately 400 substances. There are many resources related to accident prevention as well as compliance assistance on the OSHA web site.

OSHA has developed the blood borne pathogen rule in 29 CFR 1910.1030. This applies to all employees who may reasonably anticipate being occupationally exposed to blood, body fluids, and other potentially infectious materials.

Federal Trade Commission

All funeral establishments are required to comply with the Funeral Rule enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. The Funeral Rule gives consumers the right to:

  • Buy only the funeral arrangements you want. You have the right to buy separate goods (such as caskets) and services (such as embalming or a memorial service). You do not have to accept a package that may include items you do not want.
  • Get price information on the telephone. Funeral directors must give you price information on the telephone if you ask for it. You don’t have to give them your name, address, or telephone number first. Although they are not required to do so, many funeral homes mail their price lists, and some post them online.
  • Get a written, itemized price list when you visit a funeral home. The funeral home must give you a General Price List (GPL) that is yours to keep. It lists all the items and services the home offers, and the cost of each one.
  • Receive a written statement after you decide what you want, and before you pay. It should show exactly what you are buying and the cost of each item. The funeral home must give you a statement listing every good and service you have selected, the price of each, and the total cost immediately after you make the arrangements.
  • Make funeral arrangements without embalming. 

Read more about the other rights granted by the Funeral Rule at

Colorado Funeral Directors Association,  P O Box 631664, Highlands Ranch, CO 80163-1664 U.S.A. 

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