What is a Home funeral?
When the family or friends of the deceased person arrange the funeral at home instead of hiring a funeral home, it is known as a home funeral. It includes keeping the body cool, transferring it to the cemetery, and doing the state mandate paperwork.
Who Has the Right to Make Funeral Arrangements in Florida?
The right to make funeral arrangements in Florida goes to the following people, in order:
If you have left any funeral wishes in your Estate plan before your death, that will be followed.
- Your Spouse
Your surviving spouse has the right after you to make the funeral arrangements unless he/she is involved (criminally responsible) in your death.
- Your children(18 years of age or above)
The Adult child has the right or the majority of the children if you have more than one.
- Your Parents
- Your Siblings(18 years of age or above)
- Your Grandchildren (18 years of age or above)
- Your Grandparents
- Any person in the next degree of kinship.
- your guardian / personal representative/power of attorney/health surrogate / public health officer / medical examiner or public administrator
Note - a person in the military may name the person who will carry out the funeral wishes and arrangements in the Record of Emergency Data that is provided by the Department of Defense.
Florida designation of Health care surrogate.
You can create a Florida designation of health care surrogate and name a person who will take care of your final arrangements.
You need to specify in your document, the power of your healthcare surrogate to carry out your final wishes after you die. This will save you from creating a separate document for your final wishes.
Learn more about the designation of Health care surrogate.
Is Embalming of the body necessary?
Embalming is the preservation of a dead body using chemicals.
In Florida, embaling or refrigeration of bodies is required only when the burial does not occur within 24 hours. (Florida Statutes § 497.386 (2019)
You can read more about Body care and cooling techniques on the website of the National Home Funeral Alliance.
How do I get a death certificate in Florida?
In Florida, within 5 days of the death and before the final burial or cremation, you should file for the death certificate in the office of the local Registrar. It may be filed by either the funeral home, cremation organization or person in charge of the deceased person's remains.
The doctor or the medical examiner of the deceased is required to mention the date, time, and cause of death within 72 hours of receiving the death certificate.
Florida is now offering the services to file for death certificates online. You will need to visit the website of the Florida Department of Health and download the form for the death certificate.
If you do not want to file online, you can simply file for a paper death certificate.
Note- Do not forget to get a few certified copies of the Death certificate as it will be required in a number of tasks. For example, claiming the property of the deceased, social security benefits, payable on death accounts, etc.
Is Home Burial Legal in Florida?
Home burial is not prohibited in Florida. Cemeteries can be established at home if they are smaller than 2 acres but make sure to check local zoning rules and do not sell burial places. (Florida Statutes § 497.260 (2019).
Getting a ‘Permit to Transport the Body’ in Florida
A dead body can be transferred in Florida if you have a proper burial-transit permit issued by the county chief deputy registrar and you can transport the body for burial or cremation.
The permit must be obtained within 5 days of the death and before the final disposition if the dead body and all human remains transported or stored must be completely covered and at all times treated with dignity and respect. (Florida Statutes § 497.386 (2019).