Welcome to KORU Cremation | Burial | Ceremony

Family-Led Home Funerals & Vigils

Up until as recently as 90 years ago, when a death occurred it was not uncommon for the family and community at large to personally care for their dead at home. My grandmother referred to it as “laying out the dead”. In recent times, funeral homes have come to be the professional caregiver of the deceased and the mourners. While their services are valuable, others are now asking the question, “Do we need to use a funeral home when there has been a death?” The simple answer to that question is, “No”.

There is no one right or wrong way to say goodbye, mourn, celebrate, and remember someone who has died. We can help you find your way.

Photo by KORU, Home Funeral Workshop 2020

In B.C., as in many other jurisdictions, families do have the option to look after all or some of the arrangements so that a cremation or burial and the service can occur.  These are some of the requirements:

  • The person who has the right to control the disposition must be identified so that the final disposition can occur (burial, entombment or cremation);
  • When a private individual transfers the deceased from the place of death to a home and then to a cemetery or crematorium a government issued permit is required;
  • Permission from the cemetery or crematorium for burial or cremation must be obtained prior to the transfer;
  • All required cemetery or crematorium paperwork and forms must be filled out prior to burial or cremation;
  • Registration of the death must be completed prior to the burial or cremation through Vital Statistics BC;
  • A burial or cremation permit must be obtained before the final disposition;
  • A suitable burial casket or cremation casket/container must be supplied;
  • See also, the Consumer Protection of British Columbia (CPBC) site for more information on privately led death-care:
There are many things to think about and tasks to complete when considering having a Family-led  Home Funeral & Vigil, but by planning ahead and with support from others, it is possible. Here are some things to consider:
  • Before the death occurs, choose the crematorium or cemetery you wish to use and try to go there ahead of time to familiarize yourself with the location;
  • If the death is to take place at home, ensure you have all of the information from your doctor and palliative care team (ie: a Notice of Expected Death form);
  • Locate and prepare as much of the legal paperwork that will be required once the death occurs (ie: the Will, birth certificate, financial documents, etc.);
  • Gather vital statistic information, such as, occupation, parents names and their birthplaces, all of which is needed for the registration of death;
  • Determine the area you would like to use for washing and dressing the body and then gather the supplies needed to complete this task;
  • Prepare a casket/coffin or shroud and urn;
  • Begin writing an obituary notice;
  • Start planning the ceremony.
There is no greater honour than being able to care for someone when they can’t care for themselves. This is one of the most important steps in the journey after death and it can be done by family members, friends and other supporters. Although it may seem like an intimidating task, much experience may already have been gained if you were already caring for your loved while they were still alive.
Homemade caskets are accepted at some cemeteries and crematoriums in B.C. It is advisable to obtain the maximum allowable dimensions of the casket from the crematorium or cemetery. Homemade urns or a container brought from home for the cremated remains are also acceptable for use. If the urn is to be buried or interred at a cemetery it is advisable to check with the cemetery first to see if they have any restrictions on urn size and type.
At KORU we’re willing to give as much assistance as requested to families who are choosing to have a Family-Led Home Funeral or Vigil. See Our Pricing, Additional Services for itemized costs on support work by KORU. We’re also happy to refer you to a growing community of people who are called to provide support to families who want to be more hands-on. These support people are described by various names or titles: death doula, death midwife, thanadoulas, home funeral guides, end of life coaches or guides. See our list of trusted professionals for ideas of who else you can call upon for help.