Mortuary law has been a field of law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky that has been vague, inadequate, and non-reflective of changes within the industry since its outset. The primary focus of this paper is on the specific Kentucky Revised Statutes governing the requirements and qualifications for licensure as an embalmer or funeral director, the potential sanctions for violations of the statutes, and eligible penalties that may be issued; and how these elements have developed over time. Kentucky mortuary law has consistently been outdated since the first laws were written. This research aims to make the complex topic of mortuary law more easily understandable by emphasizing the needs for change and how a lack of legislative attention throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries has resulted in several violations and court cases involving components of Kentucky mortuary law. This research details the effects of modifications to statutory laws, appellate court cases, and regulations from federal administrative agencies. The field of mortuary law is pertinent and will affect everyone at some point in their lifetime; this paper addresses how the law’s inadequacy has and will continue to impact the funeral industry. Concluding this paper is an analysis of the current state of mortuary law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky to ultimately show that the statutory laws regarding the practice of licensed embalmers and funeral directors is vague, inadequate, and has not been updated to reflect changes in the industry.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2017


Michael S. Fore, J.D.

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Management, Marketing, and International Business

Access Options

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level




Department Name when Degree Awarded

Government and Economics

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Figure 1: Costs of Living and Dying

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Figure 2