Home funeral at a green burial park near San Antonio, Texas

Home funeral at a green burial park near San Antonio, Texas

Are home funerals safe?

What is a home funeral?
Home funerals occur when a loved one is cared for at home after death, giving family time to gather and participate in:

  • planning and carrying out after-death rituals or ceremonies
  • preparing the body for burial or cremation by bathing, dressing and laying out for visitation
  • keeping the body cool with noninvasive techniques, such as ice
  • filing the death certificate and obtaining transport and burial permits
  • transporting the deceased to the place of burial or cremation
  • facilitating the final disposition, such as digging the grave in natural burial
  • hiring professionals for specific services … or not.

Did you know

  • The average cost of a funeral in the U.S. ($6,500 not including burial plot) is almost three times that in Great Britain ($1,650) and more than twice what it is in France ($2,200) or Australia ($2,100).
  • In almost every state, a family member can act as the funeral director when a loved one dies.
  • It is legal to have the deceased lay in honor in the home of the family or a friend (1 to 3 days is usual).
  • Embalming is NOT necessary for public health reasons and is not legally required except in rare circumstances.
  • Simple measures, easily performed by a family member, can preserve the appearance and sanitary condition of the body.
  • Friends and family can construct their own simple coffin or decorate a cardboard cremation container in any way they wish.
  • A funeral home is required to accept any casket provided by the family at no additional charge.

How to get the body released from a hospital or nursing home

This is a common question we get asked, and in the midst of dealing with officials it can be hard to stay composed. Here is a script we suggest to use in dealing with medical care institutions:

The key in Texas is to use the phrase acting as such. Say to medical officials you was dealing with, “Yes, of course. I understand that is your policy to only release the body to a funeral home. Yes, release the body to a funeral director. And Texas law allows the next of kin to act as funeral director, so I’ll be acting as such.”

Then give them the reference sheet to the law that states that the next of kin can act as a funeral director.