Whether you are planning for yourself or a loved one, home funerals do take a little advance preparation and consideration. They can offer a number of advantages over a traditional funeral, but they're definitely not for everyone. Here's what you need to know about these types of funerals in order to decide if it's compatible with you and your family needs.

Advantages of a Home Funeral

With a traditional funeral, bodies are taken from the home, hospital, or nursing home and transported to the morgue and then a funeral home to be prepared for burial. But with a home funeral, the body is either returned home or it remains there so that some or all of the after-death care can be performed by close family members and friends. Some people think that a home funeral is a more loving way to part with the deceased. But really, that's in the eye of the beholder. The overall advantages include the following:

  • It can save you money
  • Family and friends have more time to sit with the deceased to come to terms with the death and say final farewells
  • You can plan for a green burial or use a commercial coffin
  • Home burials are allowed in some states

Disadvantages of a Home Funeral

Home funerals aren't generally decided at the last minute since lots of planning is required, and some people see this as a disadvantage. They are legal in all states, but a handful still require that a funeral director be involved by either signing the death certificate or overseeing the burial or cremation. Naturally, you'll have to see what's allowed in your state, too.

If embalming isn't required, you'll need to learn how to preserve the body temporarily, until the burial or cremation service. This typically requires refrigeration or dry ice, so you'll need to be sure that you can accommodate one of these two in your home.

If death occurred due to a contagious disease, plans can quickly shift as the body may need to be removed so that no one else gets sick. You'll have to speak with a doctor and get guidance if this happens.

When you forego a funeral director, someone in the family will be responsible for completing and filing the death certificate. All states have laws that outline how many days you have to get this done. The first step entails a doctor or other medical professional to confirm the death and write down the date, time, and cause of death.

Someone will also need to get the death certificate certified so they can arrange for a legal transport of the body. In some cases, you can file the death certificate and get your copies all on the same day, but in other situations, you may have to come back later. This could be upsetting or stressful for some families. You should also expect to pay a fee for each copy that you need.

Once that's all done, getting a burial-transit or disposition permit is required to move the body from the home to the final resting place. Again, the requirements to get the permit will vary by state.

Lastly, you may not be able to bury your loved one at home. A lot of states will allow for this, but some require the body to be interred at a cemetery. If you live in a rural area, you may be able to establish a family cemetery on your property. But again, this takes time and planning.

If cremation is desired, some crematoriums will ask that a funeral director arrange the cremation. And in these cases, you'll need to plan for this ahead of time.

Is a Home Funeral Worth It?

Before making a final decision, you may wish to consult with both a funeral director and a home funeral guide who can let you know what to expect in each situation. Some funeral homes have guides on staff that can help you plan in either direction. You may simply wish to keep your loved one at home until it's time for the funeral, at which point a funeral director can take over.

When weighing the advantages and disadvantages, only you and your family can decide how you wish to say your final goodbyes. For more information and options, contact a funeral home in your area or visit websites like http://www.hitzemanfuneral.com.