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Know Your Rights

An important step for the terminally ill and their families is to know about rights pertaining to end-of-life decisions.  For instance, the family may have the right to transport the body of their loved one home from the hospital, or to a crematory or cemetery, if the proper paperwork is filed. Other rights may include – the right not to be embalmed, the right of a family to care for and see to the disposition of the departed without employing a funeral home, the right to green burial, and many others.

Because the laws and regulations around end-of-life matters vary from state to state and county to county, it is important that you contact the local persons or offices with the knowledge and authority to explain your rights.  Local hospices and coroners offices are good places to start.

In addition, Lisa Carlson’s book, Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love, contains a state-by-state guide to end of life regulations, as well as an appendix on Federal Trade Commission rules concerning people’s interactions with funeral trades.