MISSION The National Home Funeral Alliance’s mission is to educate the public regarding their natural and legal rights to care for their own deceased loved ones. The primary focus of this document is to provide guidelines and give encouragement to those who choose to care for their own dead. The NHFA believes that it is one’s privilege and responsibility to take charge when it comes to managing death care within our own communities. In this document 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?
FAMILY DIRECTED AFTER-DEATH CARE
Also referred to as a Traditional Home Funeral is a family centered response to death that allows time to honor the life of the departed and may involve:
family doing the necessary paperwork
making caskets, urns, shrouds, etc.
disposition of the body
having them lay in honor in the home for one, two or three days
WHY HAVE A HOME FUNERAL?
emphasizes the family maintaining control in the days following a death
offers a beautiful and healing experience for loved ones
is often more affordable and respectful to the environment than contemporary funeral industry-led funerals
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. In the United States, this practice continued until the beginning of the 20th century. Unfortunately, it has become a common belief that individuals are no longer able to care for their own deceased loved ones and hired funeral professionals must provide the care. This is not the case. At present time, families can take care of everything that is necessary on their own without hiring a funeral director in 41 states. In the other nine states (NY, NJ, NE, IL, FL, LA, MI, IN, CT, IA), the law impedes families 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 families 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 region, there is no right or wrong way to do things. Caring for the body of a loved one 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.