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Funerals/Transporting fathers body from Colo to WI



I expect my father (currently in a nursing home) to pass away in Colo within the next 4-8 weeks.  He would like to be buried in Wisconsin (where I live).  My brother and I would like to transport him there ourselves, after a small private ceremony in CO. We prefer to travel thru Colo, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.  It appears that we are able to do this with a burial transport permit issued in Colo, understanding he would be need to be embalmed and in a casket approved for transport, and that we have a vehicle capable of doing so.  

Are there any other laws in those states that would prohibit or require us to do more to be able to travel across state lines?  Should we avoid one or more of them? Also, we do not plan on using a funeral home in Wisconsin - other than to consult and insure that our private burial in our small rural cemetery meets with state and /or local laws.  Apparently we can bury him ourselves provided the necessary documentation has been submitted, although I need to verify this.

Am I missing anything?  My cousin works as a part time mortician and will also be able to help us.

Thanks for your expertise.


You don't have to use a funeral home at all. Go to to download the CO chapter for only $5. It will walk you through the process to file the death certificate and get the burial transit permit. Embalming OR refrigeration are required after 24 hours. Dry ice would suffice and could be replenished along the way if you needed to. Temperature has more to do with decomposition than the time elapsed after death, so if there is air conditioning in the vehicle, you may not even need a lot of dry ice.

There is no need for a "casket approved for transport." You may use a plain pine box if you wish or something you build yourself. You may use a van, pick-up or stationwagon.

Once you have the burial transit permit, there is no need to worry about other states. All states accept the legit paperwork from another state should there be questions. But there shouldn't be.

Does the cemetery you'll be using require vaults or grave-liners? Vault people won't sell to the general public, so you might need to use your cousin to order one. Other than that, you shouldn't need a funeral director in WI at all, and I'd avoid calling one if you can so he can't insist he has to be involved. Not. Who owns the cemetery--church? town? county?


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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

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Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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