New Regulation for Funeral Service in Colorado

For the first time since 1982, funeral service in Colorado is being regulated at the state level, sort of. As of January 1, 2010 all funeral homes and crematories must register with the Department of Regulatory Agencies, DORA. Not to be confused with licensure, registration means you must simply stand up and be counted, and of course pay the fee of $544 per funeral home, or $633 per crematory. Figuring out what you have to pay is about as simple as figuring out all the ways the Denver Broncos could have made it in the play-offs this year.

1. If there are multiple Funeral Home businesses at one address, only one application per address is required.

2. Funeral Homes that offer cremation services but contract out the cremation services only need to register as a Funeral Home.

3. If you offer Funeral Goods and Services at a location (i.e., office, home, vehicle) and the services are provided elsewhere or contracted out, you must register as a Funeral Home.

4. If you offer and provide both Funeral and Crematory services at one address, separate applications will be required for the Funeral Home business(es) and Crematory business(es).

So what will the financial windfall bring funeral service? Not primary inspections of the registered funeral homes, but rather they cover the entire cost of the program which include all of the administrative, registration, legal, as well as enforcement costs.

What does it mean to the consumer? The funeral director must provide contact information on the funeral contract to the consumer should they wish to file a formal complaint with the state through DORA. There are also several pages of updated law on cremation, which in theory if followed should prevent a Colorado crematory operator from ever being on national news for cremating the wrong body. On the books, those changes are arguably good.

It’s too soon to say whether or not these laws will be effective in protecting the public from unscrupulous funeral directors, bad apples are everywhere in every profession regardless of the laws. Two main questions will need to be answered to determine if this is a successful program:

1. Are consumers being protected?

2. Will oversights by the state be appropriate and effective?

So right now we’ll put these new laws in the cautiously optimistic category, and see if something is better than nothing. For more information from the Office of Funeral Home and Crematory Registration visit