6 Tips on Making Out-of-State Funeral Arrangements
With family members increasingly mobile and spread across the country, it is more common to have to make funeral arrangements for someone in another state. Here are a few things to know about the process.
How to begin
If you are going to have your loved one buried or cremated where they lived, then you should contact a business in that state. However, if you are going to arrange to have the body returned to you in your state, you’ll want to work with your chosen local company. Funeral businesses have directories they can consult to connect you to someone across the country if you need assistance. A quick Google search may also be helpful.
An obituary is a way of letting the wider community know your loved one died. The obituary can also list charitable contributions or planned services. A newspaper ad in the local paper is a traditional option for obituaries, but you may also consider one of the many online obituary and memorial hosting services that are often free and easy to share.
Paperwork varies by state, as do the laws that govern the funeral businesses there. When you contact a funeral home in your loved one’s state, they will send you relevant paperwork to sign when needed. You do not need to travel to the loved one’s home state unless you are choosing to have an in-person funeral there or handle other family business.
Planning ahead is never a bad idea. If you and your family live far apart, it is a good idea to talk about your wishes, even if it seems awkward at first. The nonprofit “The Conversation Project” is a useful resource. Solace Cremation also offers a quick tool for some simple decisions. Planning ahead doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay ahead.
Each state has different rules about scattering, so if you are bringing ashes from one state to another, you’ll want to know the local laws. Some states require paperwork for each place remains will be stored or scattered, while others do not. It’s always a good idea to check with the local property owners or government authorities in the locations you plan to scatter for permission.
The only authorized shipment of cremated remains in the United States is the United States Postal Service (USPS). The USPS shipments are sent by priority mail and usually come in a couple of days. The packages have a unique label and come with tracking so you can know when the remains will arrive. It can be emotional for some, so you can plan to have someone with you with that information, says Solace Cremation’s Florida funeral director, Sarah Lee. Lee says the package will be delivered to you with a signature required and should not just be left at your doorstep.
If you have questions about how to handle a loved one’s death out of state, Solace Cremation’s care team is available 24/7.