Legal rights at death

Families have a legal right to their own dead.  If there is no medical or legal hold on a body, it may be released to a family member for after-death care and final disposition.  In most US states, families may care for their own dead.  Eight states (according to Lisa Carlson and Josh Slocum, authors of Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death) make it necessary to use a funeral director.  At the time of writing, these are Indiana, New York,  Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Nebraska, and Louisiana.

Caring for our own dead is a sacred right and NT’s educational mission is closely tied to the premise that families have a right to their dead and to ritualize the death transition according to their own beliefs.

Lisa Carlson of the Funeral Ethics Organization has created a state-by-state listing of consumer rights. Find your state by following this link www.funeralethics.org/rights

The National Funeral Consumers’ Alliance, FCA, is a good resource for information about consumer rights.