It may depend on such factors as whether the family selected a service with a public or private viewing of the body with an open casket; if the body is going to be transported by air or rail; or because of the length of time prior to the burial or cremation.
According to the Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule, all funeral homes are required to get permission to embalm. If you select a funeral service which requires embalming, such as a funeral with a viewing, you may have to pay for embalming. You are not required to have embalming if you selected arrangements such as direct cremation or immediate burial. If a funeral home charges for embalming, they must explain why in writing.
Embalming is a temporary preservation of a dead human person. This process is accomplished by a surgical-like technique of injecting chemical solutions into the deceased's vascular system, thus producing a natural life-like appearance. This process dramatically retards tissue decomposition creating a time frame for a viewing and/or funeral service.