MISSION The National Home Funeral Alliance’s mission is to educate individuals, families, and communities about caring for their dead. Our primary focus is to provide guidelines and give encouragement to those who choose to care for their own dead. The NHFA believes that it is a right, and can be a privilege, to care for members of our own communities after death. We can't offer every instruction for every circumstance, nor can we make any promises, other than this: a home funeral might be the best and hardest thing you'll ever do. Oftentimes, we must ﬁgure it out as we go along. If you know the basics and have the desire to create a truly special and transformative event, you can do it.
What is a Home Funeral?
COMMUNITY LED AFTER-DEATH CARE
Community-led after death care is when individuals who are not funeral directors decide to provide some form of after-death care and allows time to honor the life of the departed.
It is legal to care for your own dead in every state, and may involve:
completing the necessary paperwork, such as preliminary death certificates and transport permit
transportation of the body
celebration and ritual
making, buying, or renting caskets, urns, shrouds, etc.
having them lay in honor
disposition of the body
WHY HAVE A HOME FUNERAL?
because you can; it’s your legal right!
allows time to slow down and creates space for those who are grieving.
allows the community to follow the wishes of the dying and grieving.
having access to more time, privacy, and/or hands-on engagement may result in a more meaningful experience, which may also benefit the grieving process.
may cost less money if you aren’t paying for the services of a funeral home.
Home Funerals - Yesterday & Today
People from all cultures have been caring for their dead regardless of the climate, type of illness, age of deceased, or traumatic circumstance surrounding the death for millennia.The professionalization and commodification of the funeral industry really took off at the beginning of the 20th century. It has become a common belief that individuals are no longer able to care for their own deceased and must hire funeral professionals to provide the care. This is not the case. In most states, communities can take care of everything that is necessary on their own without hiring a funeral director. In some states, the law impedes communities from completing all tasks and may require hiring a funeral director to provide specific services. These usually include filling out paperwork and transportation, but hands-on care is still an option for communities if that is desired. Regardless of where you live, you have the right to provide much, if not all, of the care necessary. Other than the legal requirements in your state, there is no right or wrong way to do things.Caring for the body is safe and possible.
The NHFA is a nonprofit 501c3 organization committed to supporting home funeral education. The NHFA does not offer certification opportunities. Membership in the NHFA and participation in its activities does not constitute endorsement of any kind.