Frequent Questions - Home Funerals
A home funeral is what used to be called “a funeral,” since all funerals took place in the family home. Nowadays it means choosing to keep a body at home after death, as opposed to having the body immediately picked up by a funeral home. It is a safe and legal choice for a family to make.
Beyond keeping the body at home, a home funeral can be whatever is comfortable for you and your family. We’ve seen home funerals that are a family keeping mom at home for several hours in order to sit with her body. We’ve seen home funerals that are elaborate, intimate ceremonies that last three days. Don’t feel pressure to conform to any idea of a home funeral that isn’t exactly what brings you comfort and feels safe.
Home funerals are legal everywhere (not just California), although California’s regulations are especially well-designed to give the family power and autonomy to care for their own dead.
If you find your medical professionals are not supportive of this choice, we can help. Hospice nurses, hospital staff, and funeral directors are often not malicious in giving misinformation to families. They simply don’t know the laws and rights regarding home funerals and keeping a body at home. Don’t let someone in a position of authority tell you you can’t keep a loved one at home. Contact Clarity and we will help advocate for you with your medical team.
Here’s a video our founder Caitlin Doughty made to help you know what your rights to keep the body at home or at a funeral home, and also know how to work WITH a funeral home to achieve your goals.
There is no wrong way to have a home funeral. Ultimately it will reflect what is meaningful to you and your family. However, there are practical issues you’ll want to prepare for like caring for the body. A helpful step-by-step guide to all aspects of planning a home funeral can be found here.
Additional information regarding preparing and dressing a body are outlined here, on the National Home Funeral Alliance website.
A home funeral guide (also known as a doula or midwife) is never required, although if your family is looking for help and advice through the death, hiring a guide might be a good choice for your family. Clarity can recommend one to you.
Please contact Clarity Funerals if you have questions on the process, we’re happy to advise you further.
A delayed removal is a shorter version of a home funeral. Essentially, it is the family taking as much time as they need before Clarity comes to pick up the person who has died.
When someone dies, it is not an emergency. Please let Clarity Funerals know by phone call, but understand that you determine how long you would like to keep the person with you. When you feel the time is right, call Clarity for a second time and we will arrive to transport the person into our care.