The following resources are designed to provide information regarding your options when a death occurs. We recommend you obtain private legal counsel regarding decisions about estate planning and distribution.
Department of Health
Death Certificate Ordering Information
Center for Health Statistics
P.O. Box 9709
Olympia, WA 98507-9709
Federal Trade Commission
Free, electronic publications regarding your rights as a consumer
Funerals: a Consumer Guide (electronic publication)
Paying Final Respects: Your Rights When Buying Funeral Goods and Services (electronic publication)
The FTC is interested in receiving written complaints about problems with purchasing funeral goods and services
Department of Licensing
The department licenses funeral homes and cemeteries in Washington state. On their website you can:
- Find out if a funeral director, embalmer, cemetery, or funeral establishment has a valid license;
- Learn how to file a complaint against a funeral director, embalmer, cemetery, or funeral establishment; or
- See a list of funeral and cemetery licensees who have been disciplines for licensing violations.
LifeCenter Northwest Organ Donor Program
Facilitating the recovery and receipt of organ donations; also offers family support services and online organ donor registration
Washington State Bar Association
The Washington State Bar Association website offers consumer information on wills, trusts and probate. See https://www.wsba.org/docs/default-source/news-events/publications/consumer-pamphlets/consumer-info-wills.pdf?sfvrsn=727e3cf1_2
Relevant State Laws and Rules
The following links are provided for those that wish to research applicable Washington State laws and rules. These pages are written in legal language which has specific legal meanings. It is always wise to check with professional legal or financial counsel.
The Funeral Industry Practices Trade Regulation Rule (or Funeral Rule) is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. The Washington State Attorney General's Office enforces applicable areas of the Washington State Consumer Protection Act. Although neither the Federal Trade Commission nor the Washington State Attorney General's Office can represent individual constituents, they do occasionally take action against funeral service providers for violations of the above mentioned acts. If you believe that you have been a victim of an unfair or deceptive act or practice, you are welcome to file a complaint.
For all other questions regarding the information contained in the provided links, please contact a private attorney.
Revised Codes of Washington:
Available in your local library, the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) may be referred to when one has specific questions regarding Washington State laws. Here is a listing of some of the RCWs that relate to Dealing with Death:
RCW 18.39.215 - Embalming
RCW 11.12.260 - Gift by List
RCW 70.122 - Living Will
RCW 11.62 - Affidavit of Successor, small estates
RCW 18.39.250 - Prearrangement Funeral Service Contracts
RCW 18.39 - State Funeral Directors
RCW 68.46 - Regulations for Cemetery Operations
RCW 11.20 - Probate
RCW 83.100 - Estate Tax
Washington Administrative Code:
The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) also contains rules which pertain to this booklet. You can search the Washington State Legislature Search Page for:
WAC 246-500 - Handling of Human Remains (includes refrigeration, cremation and transportation of human remains)