My elderly aunt, with whom I am extremely close, has asked me to help her with her funeral plans. While I love her dearly and am thrilled that she trusts me enough to let me be part of her planning process, I’m not sure that I am comfortable handling some of the things she wants. The big one is that she would like to have her funeral held at home. Is this even legal? Do you have any advice for how I might get more information about this?
It is certainly understandable why you might be uncomfortable with the option of holding a home funeral. The whole process is relatively mysterious to many of us. Fortunately, there are resources that can help you learn more about what is involved and the things you need to consider. It may be that once you learn more about home funerals, your concerns will be satisfied.
First and foremost, yes, it is legal in all states to hold a home funeral. Some states do have special requirements so we suggest that you visit our page on home funerals to get an overview of the history and some of the things you need to think about. The article also references some resources that will help you learn more about legal requirements and other considerations.
If the process of handling her body is troubling you, you might talk with your other relatives to find someone who might take over this aspect of the process and then you can plan the ceremony. You might also consider finding a “death doula” or “death midwife” in your area who can help guide you through the process. There are many ways to handle a home funeral. A professional may be able to help you find alternatives that would be acceptable to both you and your aunt. It is important to keep the conversation with your aunt going and work around your fears and concerns to find a way to help her fulfill her end-of-life wishes.