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When Death Occurs Flowchart

Home Funerals/Family-directed Funerals/

Do-it-yourself Funerals

The State of Utah provides general guidelines and

the form to file a Death Record at: 

(then scroll down to: "File a Death Record")











Your neighbor/friend/relative may become "very concerned" when you tell them you are caring for your dead without hiring a funeral director! So here are some answers for them:


1) Is it lawful? Yes. Utahans have the lawful right to act as a dispositioner. See Utah Code 26-2-16

2) Isn't it dangerous? No. Dead bodies don’t harbor dangerous bacteria unless the person died of a contagion (such as Jacob Kruetzfeld or Mycobacterium Tuberculosis). Typical disease dies with the death of the body. If you could care for the person before death then be assured that any risk has decreased after death.

3) Isn't it messy? No. There's no need to spend thousands of dollars over the possibility of leaking bodily fluids. If it happens, it's minimal. What worked before death for that works after death as well.

4) Doesn't a body need to be embalmed? No. The law only requires one of 4 options begin within 24 hrs: cremation, burial, or refrigeration. Even though dispositioners (you and me) are not subject to Licensure Rules, keeping a body between 34-40 degrees F at home is a good standard.

5) Isn't it immodest? No. If you took care of your loved one’s needs in a modest way BEFORE death, you certainly know how to do so after death too.  There's no cause for immodesty.

6) Am I equipped? Yes. If you own, can rent, or borrow a van, truck, or SUV then you can transport a body (even across state lines). If you know how to conduct a meeting, then you have the skills to run a funeral, memorial or graveside ceremony.

7) Isn't it complex? No. If you read our step-by-step instructions you'll see that with determination and love you can do this!


I have a friend who was sabotaged from carrying out a funeral without a funeral director because her congregation leader, out of fear and lack of information, pressured her to hire one. That's why I wrote this article.

Hopefully these 7 facts begin to assure your "helpful someone" that it will be ok for you to exercise your right to an affordable and fulfilling final goodbye. 

How-To Instructions
SHORT VIDEOS: Part 1 — Moving the Body (3min), 
Part 2 — Washing the Head, Face, and Mouth (11min)
Part 3 — Washing the Body (9min), This video doesn't depict the body properly draped modestly. The dead should be covered as you would a conscious bedridden person. 
Part 4 — Dressing the Body (6min) includes closing eyes & mouth,
Part 5 — Final Preparations (8min) includes casketing or wrapping in a shroud

We Did it For Love

(A personal story shared by a member of FCA of Utah)

In the past 4 years I have been in charge of burying both of my parents, a very close friend who had almost no family, and my mother-in-law. My brother made a simple wood casket for my dad.... [continued],

PassingThroughOur Hands is a nice documentary style video instruction. Videos of other peoples home funerals


Undertaken with Love, A Home Funeral Guide for Congregations and Communities, Free .PDF


Final Passages $26&up. Click on "Our Guidebook". How-to booklets A&B contain elements helpful to Utahans.


Crossings: Caring for Our Own at Death At the top of their Resources page there is a link to a really good document on preparing a body.


A few Transport Legalities in other States.


Enlist help performing a home-funeral in another state?  National Home Funeral Alliance Directory  

Final Rights. Book by Josh Slocum & Lisa Carlson takes you through story after story of funeral chicanery from sea to shining sea. You'll see Utah highlighted from the very beginning!

A state by state reference is included in the second half of the book (buy at


For DIY personal support & encouragement

Mobile View ==>Keep scrolling down for step-by-step instructions (and everything else on our sidebar)

Image of Utah Vital Records page
Home Funeral Instructions

When Death Occurs 
Visual Flow Chart

Dead Bodies the "Danger" That Doesn't Exist
(quotes from experts)

When an Autopsy
 is required


DIY Veteran Families have wonderful experiences coordinating burial directly with Utah State Veterans Cemetery WITHOUT a funeral director.

Provided FREE:

-the grave (spouses or dependent children $828),

-opening and closing (Internment)


You BUY:

-a vault/grave liner (Beasley Monument is friendly to DIYers)



Zoomeral: For a free video course on hosting a virtual funeral: 

Viewing: Mourners visit with the body on display.

Visitation: Mourners visit while casket closed or body not present at all (perhaps a single photo on display).

Either can be held at home (for hours or days).  Or, just prior to starting time, at the location of ceremony.

Funeral: a ceremonial meeting where the body is present.

Memorial: a ceremonial meeting where the body is not present.


Final Disposition: the place where the body is relinquished to the forces of nature (either a cemetery, a crematory, or the ocean).

When Partial Mortuary Services are desired   Compare Prices at-a-glance 



An alternative to newspaper prices of $500-$1500.  Get an Obituary for $50:


Advantages to DIY:
  • You can take your time with your goodbye.

  • The stress of cost is reduced.

  • No one is trying to sell you anything.

  • The body looks more natural and doesn't smell like embalming chemicals (embalming facts).

  • A body can remain 24 hrs/day in your care (with proper cooling) until final disposition.

  • Transporting across state lines is easy. You are not required to have a body embalmed for this (unless you hire a Utah Funeral Director since THEIR Licensure requires it of THEM).

How-to Videos
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