Welcome to Vermont Funeral Resources & Education
We are dedicated to providing Vermonters with information about their legal rights and available resources when death occurs. Whether you’re anticipating a death through illness or age, or wanting to be prepared with the facts knowing death can come at any time, this website is designed to enable you and your community to be better equipped to provide meaningful, hands-on care for the dead—what is commonly called a "home funeral".
Making Vermont Home Funeral Information Easy to Find
In Vermont, no one is required to purchase the services of a funeral director or funeral home. Families may conduct any or all tasks commonly performed by a funeral home (except embalming which is not required by Vermont law), and may bury on their own property if certain provisions are met. Sometimes called "family-led after-death care" or "home funerals" this may include:
- bathing and dressing the deceased;
- sheltering the deceased at home;
- spending time with the deceased (sometimes called a wake, vigil, or viewing);
- filing the death certificate and obtaining a burial/transit permit;
- making arrangements for final disposition (generally burial or cremation);
- transporting the body home (or to another location) for care and viewing, and to place of final disposition;
- making arrangements for any ceremony.
Finding Your Way
While some families entrust all of these arrangements to paid professionals, or choose to forgo everything except for a simple cremation, many families find ourselves looking for more affordable, meaningful and authentic ways of memorializing and caring for our dead ourselves, in our own homes, in our places of worship, and in our communities, including more eco-friendly practices.
This website is for anyone wishing to explore the continuum of death care options, including home funerals, home burial, green burial, or simply purchasing only the products and services really wanted and needed.
Our goal is to empower individuals, families, friends, communities, and professionals to make decisions about death care, final disposition, and funerals based on knowledge, not simply by default.
For many, that will mean learning how to conduct what’s called a home funeral; for others, it will mean searching for a funeral director who will honor their unique ideas; for still others it will mean advocating for change in your local cemetery, hospital, and government laws and policies.
If you are one of those looking for answers, this site is designed to walk you through the practical “How Tos” of whichever aspects of after-death care you want to handle, including how to get what you want from any professionals you hire. You’ll find quick links to get assistance, a glossary of terms, and informative stories of how others have cared for their dead (coming soon).
Because so many helping professionals are unfamiliar with family- and community-directed care for the dead, we’ve included professional education materials and resources for use in community education.
It is our hope that the resources of this website equip you, and more families and community advocates, to dismantle the barriers to meaningful and respectful family-led care for the dead.