Pre-Planning a Home Funeral
Making advance arrangements for a funeral is almost always a good idea, but there are times when it makes more sense than others. Home funerals are one of these times.
Home funerals, in which families to forgo the funeral home to care for and watch over the deceased’s remains on their own, are being revived all over the country. Less expensive than a formal funeral, more personalized, and part of a historic tradition that puts family first, home funerals are especially popular when the death was expected (as is the case with a long illness or hospice services).
They are also becoming more popular among people who are pre-planning their funerals. As you go over your options and consider costs, it may make more sense for your family to perform the funeral and memorial service at home.
Here is how to get started with your home funeral plans.
- Visit the National Home Funeral Alliance. The NHFA is a group that exists to help foster the idea of home funerals and to ensure that families have rights when it comes to this kind of option. Their website contains several articles and links to help you get started with the home funeral planning process.
- Know your state guidelines. Government/county officials cannot forbid you from having a funeral at home, but they can require you to follow the proper protocols. This may mean getting the right permits, having a funeral director help oversee the process, filling out paperwork, and making other arrangements to meet health and sanitation codes. If you want a home funeral, you should know your local laws and be prepared to meet them ahead of time.
- Make sure your family is comfortable. Sure, you like the idea of a home funeral, but does your family feel the same way? Not everyone is comfortable touching and transporting a body, and there may be negative associations with having a relative’s remains in a living room or dining room. This is one time where your family’s wishes really do matter—if they are not on board with the idea of a home funeral, it may be time to rethink your options.
- Hire specialists. Certain religious groups, environmental groups, and bereavement groups are willing/able to oversee home funeral preparations. Although these groups are not found all over, it may be worth hiring a specialist to help make the preparations and ensure everything is in order to reduce the burden on your family.
- Make financial preparations. A home funeral can be less costly than a traditional funeral, but there will still be financial considerations. How will burial/cremation eventually occur, and how will that be paid for? Will you be holding the home funeral under the guidance of a funeral director? There may be pre-packages specifically for this process (or you can opt for a burial insurance/life insurance policy to cover the costs).
Above all else, make sure you communicate with your loved ones. A home funeral can be a great way to remember what is truly important about life and family, but only if everyone is on board with the idea. Springing this kind of request during the final stages of life can be overwhelming to a family already preparing to grieve, so the sooner you pre-plan your home funeral, the better.