Home Funerals

The family-led home funeral offers many benefits; more time and freedom for family to say goodbye, an opportunity for mourners to channel their grief and find a sense of purpose through the physical preparation of the body, a more personalized family ritual that reflects the life of the deceased and provides a better transition for those left behind, and a cost of hundreds versus thousands of dollars.

Forty-two states allow families to direct and complete the disposition of their own dead, however, New Jersey funeral law prevents families from caring for their own dead without some assistance from a licensed funeral director.

  • A funeral director completes the death certificate and files it with the local registrar (NJ Statute § 26:6-6)
  • A funeral director obtains the burial or removal permit used for transport out of state, for burial or for cremation (second page 26:6-5.1)
  • A funeral director will need to meet you at the crematory or cemetery as they need to be present at every disposition (NJ Statute § 13:36-8.10 page 54)
Dry Ice Resources

Home Funeral Websites

National Home Funeral Alliance
Home Funeral Directory
A Natural Undertaking
Final Passages

Death Midwives/Doulas

International End of Life Doula Association
The Death Midwife
National End of Life Doula Association (states A-M)
National End of Life Doula Association (states N-Z)
Death Doulas
Round Glass EOL Community

Books on Home Funerals

Undertaken With Love, A Home Funeral Guide
Planning Guide and Workbook for Home Funeral Families by National Home Funeral Alliance

Other Online Resources on Home Funerals

Seven Ponds: Embracing the End-Of-Life Experience
Inside a Home Funeral, The Daily Beast, 2/5/13
The Surprising Satisfactions of a Home Funeral, Smithsonian, 3/1/09
DIY Death: Natural, At-Home Funerals and Their Boomer Appeal, WBUR Common Health

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