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Funerals/Arranging for direct cremation without funeral director.


My 97 year old mother is living with us in rural Georgia. I want to work through the details of her final moments in our home. Can I call the coroner directly when she passes quietly in the night?
I would like to have this process be as simple and dignified as possible. Can we purchase a cardboard casket and transport her to a crematory ourselves? How do we find one that will accept her directly from family with no 'funeral director' involved?

You can download the GA chapter from the Bookstore at for only $5. That will walk you thro' how to file the death certificate, etc. DO NOT call the coroner, as many in GA may be funeral directors. Talk with your mother's doctor to let him know what your plans are. He may not even know it's legal, so having the GA chapter to share with him/her may be helpful. If it's an anticipated death, there's no need to involve the coroner.

Check the Yellow Pages to find a crematory. The law was changed after the scandal in Noble, GA, and now all crematories must be operated by a funeral director. Consequently, you may have trouble finding one that will accept the body directly from the family.

If you are in a rural area and own your land, home burial would be permissible.


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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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