In a home funeral vigil, a deceased person remains at home instead of being transported to a funeral home. You can bathe, dress, and care for your loved one in the privacy of familiar surroundings. You can create a special space around the deceased, where people can gather and spiritual practices can take place. You may build a simple casket or decorate a fiberboard one with messages and drawings. Everyone can find ways to engage in creative and meaningful ways.
At the end of the home funeral vigil, the deceased is transported to a cemetery or crematorium for a conventional or green burial, or a witnessed cremation.
Our Home Funeral Services
A Sacred Moment offers two home funeral services to help you create the home funeral that is right for you and your loved ones.
The DIY Home funeral is run largely by a family member or friend. This person fulfills all of the responsibilities typically provided by a licensed funeral director, including paperwork, body care, obtaining dry ice, building or decorating the casket, etc. Our role in this instance is to provide consultation via phone or video call. We’ll walk you through the necessary steps to hosting your own home funeral so you don’t get lost or overwhelmed. We can also answer any questions you may have and help you navigate issues as they arise.
We recommend planning your home funeral before the death has occurred, giving you time to take advantage of our training workshops and webinars. When you’re ready to start the arrangements, you can consult with us via phone (425-316-8290) or video call. We can also come to your home.
Our Basic Home Funeral is for families who want to be actively involved in the home funeral preparations but want A Sacred Moment to act as the licensed funeral director. This means that ASM is legally responsible for the paperwork and the care and transport of the body.
The Basic Home Funeral package includes:
- Assessment meeting in home (2 hours maximum)
- Pre-need planning consultations (up to 4 hours)
- Initial assistance interfacing with medical providers, examiners, and administrative support
- Expedited paperwork
- Transportation of loved one’s body from a facility to your home (within 30 miles of South Everett office)
- Coordination with crematory or cemetery personnel
- Basic services of funeral director, staff, and overhead of funeral home
Our Basic Home Funeral package also comes with a la carte options which be added upon request, including:
- Body care and cosmetology
- Purchase, delivery, and placement of dry ice
- Arrangement of vigil space and placement of the body
- Support in selecting and purchasing a casket, alternative container, or shroud
- Delivery of container, if purchased or rented through A Sacred Moment
- Guidance for the building or assembly of a burial or cremation container and use of art supplies
- Assistance with the placement of body in burial or cremation container
- Coordination with clergy or celebrant as desired
- Guidance for a meaningful departure of your loved one
- Equipment use and delivery (massage table, church truck, etc.)
- Transportation to crematory or cemetery at end of vigil
Three-day vigils after death are an integral part of many spiritual traditions, yet our modern day funeral services have not made it easy to keep a deceased person at home or a sacred environment.
We are one of the first licensed funeral services to make this kind of vigil possible. Our legal and practical assistance can be invaluable as it frees those involved to focus their attention on the spiritual support of the deceased and their loved ones.
Home funerals work best when there is enough time to plan and prepare. While it is possible to have a home funeral with a sudden or unexpected death, it is far more challenging. If you are a family member who wants to care for a loved one after death, making arrangements now will help things run smoothly.
A meaningful home funeral is generated by the energy and creativity of those who know the deceased and are most intimately involved. Do you have extended family, friends, and community who can take on different tasks and help make the whole effort run smoothly? If you discover you are in need of more support, Our Basic Home Funeral may be the better option for you.
Read up on home funerals. See our Resources – Helpful Links and articles/videos from Home Funerals in the News. Think about what is most important for you to include in your plans.
Online Home Funeral Arrangement
While making arrangements for a burial would be ideal in person, we understand circumstances may not allow a personal meeting to occur. We have made this online form available to you, as a way for us to support you during this stressful time and make the process of handling arrangements as easy as possible.
Please note that completing our online arrangement form does not inform us that a death has occurred. Please contact us by telephone if a death has occurred so we can make arrangements to bring your loved one into our care.
Upon completion of this form, a staff member will be in touch as soon as possible during regular business hours, Monday–Friday 9am–5pm. We will review any questions you may have, discuss the next steps in the process and make arrangements for payment.
Home Funeral FAQs
Yes. Families have the legal right to care for their loved ones after death. (In Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, and New York, a licensed funeral director must be involved and sign the death certificate.) It is legal in the state of Washington to keep the deceased at home or another vigil space as long as the body is placed on dry ice after 24 hours. Home funeral vigils last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. You can legally act as your own funeral director, or you can have us act as your licensed funeral director. See Washington State Laws.
Washington state law requires that a burial transit permit accompany a body if it is being transported, unless it is under the care of a licensed funeral home. Since it can take up to two days for a family to obtain a burial transit permit, a licensed funeral service is usually needed to transport the body.
Those who have participated in home funeral vigils are often so transformed by the experience that they frequently want to share it with others. In choosing a home funeral vigil, families and communities are reclaiming their right to be in control of the circumstances surrounding a loved one’s passing. Home funerals also solve many of the spiritual, financial, and environmental concerns that accompany traditional funerals.
Home funerals are actually very old. People used to care for their own dead, having them lie in the front parlor so family and friends could pay their respects. We are reclaiming this simpler and more fulfilling practice by re-establishing the right for families to keep their loved ones at home.
No. Embalming is often recommended or required by funeral home policy, but it is not legally required. Home funerals are a good choice for those who do not want their loved one’s body disturbed by embalming.
A vigil can be a few hours or a few days. It is up to you. The traditional three-day vigil has several origins. Before modern medicine, people waited three days before burying or cremating someone to insure the person was actually dead. Many cultures believe that the soul or consciousness needs at least three days to fully disengage from the body. In our work, we have experienced that mourners often feel a true sense of closure after three days, but this, of course, varies with each individual and situation.
- The death is anticipated and there is time for planning
- Dying loved one is cared for at home, typically with hospice
- Dying person asks for this kind of care for personal or spiritual reasons and can work with others to make it happen
- Family and community want to participate as an act of closure and goodbye
- There is enough space at home to accommodate a vigil.
Less of a Fit:
- Tragic or sudden death
- Body needs autopsy or repair/restoration
- There is no suitable home or place for the vigil
- Family has conflicting wishes or not enough support or planning
- Extending care beyond death is too much for everyone involved
Home funerals offer a safe, loving space where emotions can be expressed and held. Family, friends, and community can gather together in a private setting for support, shared grieving, and life celebration. Home funerals offer a freedom of spiritual expression, allowing family members to partake in religious practices in the comfort of their own home. There is also room for creative expression, such as building or decorating the casket. Lastly, home funerals can be more cost-effective than conventional funeral options.
Information about the decedent is needed to complete and file the death certificate, which is mandatory for all dispositions. You can fill out, print, and bring the questionnaire to the arrangement meeting, or you can fax or email it to us.
Designated Agent Form
A designated agent for funeral arrangements can authorize a cremation or a burial and is legally responsible for all financial payment. That person’s name is written on the Designated Agent Form, and the declarant—meaning you—must sign, date, and have the document witnessed by an adult.