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?

  • Visit the National Home Funeral Alliance website which has an excellent page about the safety of home funerals.

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:

  • preparing the body for burial or cremation by bathing, dressing and laying out for visitation
  • planning and carrying out after-death rituals or ceremonies
  • keeping the body cool with noninvasive techniques, such as dry 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 lie 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 a simple coffin, decorate a cardboard cremation container in any way they wish, or wrap the body in a shroud.
  • Funeral homes are required to accept any casket provided by the family at no additional charge.
  • Read about funeral myths (below)

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

We are commonly asked this question. 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 are dealing with, “Yes, of course. I understand it is your policy to only release the body to a funeral home. 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.

Please refer to the National Home Funeral Alliance’s document, “What to Do When Families’ Home Funeral Rights are Challenged.”

Funeral Myths

Read these interesting myths about funerals compiled for the national consumer organization, funerals.org.