Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult enough when it happens near home. But when a death occurs far away in another state, it adds an extra layer of complexity to the situation.
The biggest issue is getting the remains home. That requires special transportation arrangements. There are actually many ways that it could be arranged depending on a number of factors.
Rest assured that out-of-state deaths happen often, and an experienced funeral director will know how to handle it. If you find yourself having to arrange the transport of a loved one after their death choosing an established funeral home is extremely important.
Cremation vs. Burial: Why It Makes a Difference
One of the most important factors is whether the family plans to have a burial or cremation. Generally speaking, you’ll have more transport options if the plan is to cremate because time is less of a factor. The transport services will also tend to be less expensive.
The family will also have the option of cremating in the state where the individual passed and then having the cremated remains transported. It’s possible to arrange a cremation remotely with providers like Direct Cremate so you don’t have to make a trip out of state. It’s even possible to have cremated remains sent through the mail using USPS Priority Mail Express as long as all the regulations are followed for packaging and labeling.
Transporting a body for burial or cremation back to the home state is much more regulated, especially if the transport is happening across state lines.
Transportation Options Prior to Burial or Cremation
First off, it’s important to understand that when a body has to be transported across state lines you will likely need to work with a mortuary in each state. The two mortuaries can work together to help you get the body where it needs to be for the funeral services. Talk with the funeral home in the state where the body is being transported. They can initiate the process with the mortuary that’s delivering the body while guiding you through it all.
In most locations there will be three transportation options:
Air Transport – Sometimes the distance is so far air transport makes the most sense. This option tends to be more expensive because you’ll have to pay $300-500 per flight, and ground transportation to and from the airport is still needed. The funeral home also needs to have working relationships with airlines, so keep that in mind when you’re selecting a provider.
Ground Transport – This is the option that’s commonly chosen because it’s more affordable, and in many cases, it’s easier to arrange. Typically, there’s a flat fee that ranges from $3-$5 per mile.
DIY Pickup – In some states it’s possible for the family to take possession of the body and transport it to the funeral home. However, because of the logistics and different laws for each state you pass through, this option usually isn’t feasible. Plus, a proper transportation case is needed, which requires a very large vehicle.
The cost varies depending on the mode of transport, but there will also be an additional service fee from each mortuary for making the necessary preparations and arrangements.
Paperwork Needed to Transport a Body
As you can imagine, there are a lot of regulations surrounding the transport of a body. No matter what type of transport is selected, there’s certain documentation that needs to be on hand. In particular you will need two things:
Burial/Transit Permit – A permit is needed for someone to take possession of a body in order to transport it.
Death Certificate – It always helps to have a certified death certificate in these situations, and it may be required depending on the state.
Every state has their own laws regarding the transport of remains. Keep in mind when you are transporting across state lines those laws could change.
If you have questions about arranging a direct cremation from out-of-state our team can help. Contact us anytime of day if you need assistance with transport or would like to know more about the available options.