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Funerals/out of state use of funeral home


QUESTION: Is it true that a funeral home in Idaho cannot pick up a body in Oregon and handle the funeral arrangements because they do not have an Oregon license?  Is it legal for a family to transport a body with the transport permit in hand to get the body to the less expensive funeral home in the neighboring state?  In Oregon the transport permit is on the death certificate so would the family have to be doing the death certificate work themselves or hire an Oregon funeral home to do the paper work in order to get the body to Idaho for the less expensive funeral.

ANSWER: Oregon has reciprocal licensure, but the Idaho FD may not have applied for it.
Yes, it is legal for the family to transport the body. In fact you don't need to use and Idaho funeral home at all.

Where is the body now?

If a funeral home has already picked up the body, then they will have already done the paperwork, and you will owe them the removal fee. They may try to charge you for the "basic service fee," but you should protest that as they will not be "planning a funeral."

They may tell you the body has to be embalmed after 24 hours, but refrigeration (dry ice) will suffice, and that regulation applies only to bodies held by a licensee, not when the body is held by private families. The same is the case in Idaho.

You can download both the OR and ID chapters from the Bookstore at for only $5 each. That walks you through the procedures, and if the OR funeral home gives you any trouble about releasing the body to you, it may be helpful to show them that it was fact-checked by several agencies including the Mortuary Board.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Am I clear that yes, a family can obtain and complete the Oregon paperwork then do the transport to a funeral home in Idaho that does not have an Oregon license and they can legally do a full service funeral?

Yes, but why would you even take it to a funeral home that will likely pressure you to have the body embalmed. What kind of services are you planning? Church? Graveside? Is there someone's house where you could hold an Open House visitation? Or maybe a social hall? Heck, a room at the Sheraton is likely less than a funeral home. LOL

There are state-specific funeral consumer rights pamphlets here, not as detailed as the state chapters,


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Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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