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When Death Occurs Flowchart
How-to Videos

Caring for Your Own Dead reads, 

"Utah law allows families to care for their dead without the services of a licensed funeral director.  Families that do not retain a funeral director must file a death certificate and comply with state laws and rules regarding the disposition of human remains."

Scroll down that page to find general guidelines and the death record processing form to "File a Death Record" (which allows you to get the Death Certificate & Medical Examiner's Permit you need to care for your own dead).  


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) Is 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 only 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 stipulates that one of 3 other options begin within 24 hrs: cremation, burial, or refrigeration

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 a) have pall bearers b) own, can rent, or borrow a van, truck, or suv, c) and acquire the proper paperwork, you can transport a body (even across state lines). Plus if you know how to conduct a meeting, then you even have the skills to host 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!


One woman desiring to care for her mother without a funeral director was sabotaged from doing so because her congregation leader, out of fear and lack of information, pressured her to hire one. That's why I wrote this. Hopefully these 7 facts begin to assure your "helpful someone" that it will not be a debacle for you to exercise your right to an affordable and fulfilling farewell. 

How-To Body Prep 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

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 home funeral video instruction. Videos of home funerals

Example of a Congregational Funeral Committee 


Exempt from Licensure (from Utah State Funeral Licensure Act): You!


Final Passages $26&up. Click "Our Guidebook". Only 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  


For DIY personal support & encouragement

Mobile View ==>Keep scrolling down for step-by-step instructions

(and everything else on our sidebar)

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: 

Virtual options with better sound than Zoom:

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).


No law requires you to follow State Licensure Rules for Hairdressers when you cut your family's hair. Neither Federal nor State law requires family and friends who serve without pay to follow State Licensure Rules for Funeral Directors in the care of dead loved ones.

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