Funerals/CA law


I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with advanced cancer. She asked me to help her make plans so that her body can be kept in her home for three days after her death, as her Buddhist tradition calls for. Please would you tell me where I can find out what California law says about all this? Thanks very much, Maryann

That is absolutely allowed in CA. You can download the CA chapter from the Bookstore at for only $5. That will walk you thro' the whole process without using a funeral director, assuming family and friends will drive the body to the cemetery or crematory. You can also download a free pamphlet on Funeral Consumer Rights specific for CA at


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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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