This link will lead you to a nationwide state by state guide to laws and regulations
Here in Delta County, Colorado, these are the steps to take to having a home funeral. Thanks to Steve Lyons for putting this guide together.
For a Home Burial or other Self-Directed Disposition
*In order to avoid a stress producing situation for yourself, and an inconvenience for the agencies involved, it is very important that you understand what is required and plan ahead so that you have all the necessary paperwork at the proper point in the disposition process.
The following legal steps must be taken:
- Required within 24 hours of death: cremation, embalming, immediate burial, or refrigeration of the body until one of the above is carried out—up to five days. Dry ice will work for refrigeration in the home.
- Authorization Form: The person handling the final disposition (cremation, burial or donation) must have the authority to do so, granted by the the deceased prior to death, or by the next of kin afterward. This person, the “disposition director,” needs to have an Authorization form filled out & signed by a notary. This certifies that the designated person has the authority to handle the deceased’s disposition arrangements. This may also be needed for the release of a body from a hospital or the coroner, and to get the Death Certificate from the Delta County Clerk. Two copies of an Authorization form, one for a family member and the other for a non-family member, are attached. You can can use these as a model to make your own.
- Death Certificate: The disposition director must get the Death Certificate from the Delta County Clerk. The Delta County Coroner recommends getting a blank copy prior to an anticipated death and fill it out as a draft, making sure the information is precise and complete to avoid possible post-death delays. If there are errors, this will delay the issuance of the Burial Permit needed before the disposition can take place. The disposition director needs to have the attending physician or the coroner sign the Death Certificate within five days of the death. A copy of the Vital Statistics Necessary For the Completion of Death Certificate is attached.
- Burial Permit: The disposition director takes the signed Death Certificate to the Delta County Clerk. The Clerk will issue a Burial Permit (the Clerk would not release a copy of this document, so none is attached.). With this you can proceed with the disposition (burial, cremation or donation). If the body is to be buried in a cemetery or cremated in a crematorium, give the Burial Permit to the cemetery/crematorium personnel; they will file it with the County. Ask the Delta County Clerk for a Private Burial Affidavit form if the disposition involves a burial on private land. A sample copy is attached.
- Private Burial Affidavit: This document records the details of the burial, and the GPS coordinates of the grave and it’s permanent grave marker. It is signed by the property owner and witnesses. Return the completed copy to the Delta County Clerk within 30 days. The Private Burial Affidavit will be recorded by the Clerk with the property deed showing the location of the burial and it will stay with the deed so that future land owners know the location of the grave. A copy is attached.
Human Interment guidelines: The Human Interment document from the Delta County Department of Health outlines the guidelines for interment/disposition of a body in unincorporated Delta County. A copy of this document is attached.
Contact People for Delta County;
Delta County Coroner Kevin Lucy 874-5918
Delta County Health & Human Services Ken Nordstrom, Director of Environmental Health 874-2169, cell 970 712 8841
Delta County Clerk & Recorder Ann B. Eddins 874-2151 email@example.com
Paonia Cemetery District
Includes Bethlehem and Cedar Hill cemeteries
Wayne Wiitenen, President 527- 4057
Greg Mellot, Caretaker 527-3555 cell 589-2464
Lots $75, Internment $150, Cremains $15
coffin/vault not required
Hotchkiss Cemetery District
Heidi Rung, Secretary 399-7162
Lots $450 plus $400 for internment
Michael Street, Pres. 856-2373
Joe Ogalby, 921-3002
no vaults required
Cremations: Taylor Funeral Home 874-9988 in Delta has a crematorium. They charge $1,540 for a cremation . They will sell you a cardboard box (required for the cremation) for $88 or you can provide your own. You can also provide your own non-glass urn. (It needs to be at least 200 cubic inches to hold the cremains.) or hey will sell you an urn for $58. Both of these prices include picking up the body, doing the Death Certificate paperwork and newspaper notifications. They will come to the home, or local Taylor funeral parlor, to interview the relatives for the necessary information.
These are the forms you will need if you are going to do your own filing and not involve a funeral home.
The Official Law: