Vanderbilt Law Review


Edgar E. Smith

First Page



Funeral directing cannot be classed absolutely as a "profession."'On the contrary, the funeral director's principal concern probably is the sale of caskets and burial supplies, thus making him a "merchant"or "trader." However, for purposes of rendering services in connection with the care and burial of the dead as well as in accommodating the family and friends of the deceased, the funeral director is considered a "professional man." It is the latter capacity which is under consideration here. It is inconsequential for legal purposes whether a mortician is referred to as a "funeral director," an "embalmer," or an "undertaker." An embalmer is one whose function it is to disinfect and preserve dead human bodies. An undertaker is one whose vocation involves the caring for dead human bodies and the burial or other disposition of them, together with the conduct of the funeral and burial services. These various terms are used interchangeably within this article, although "funeral director" is apparently the preferred usage.