When a loved one passes away families are confronted with a wave of emotions to deal with as well as a mountain of logistics that need to be addressed. One logistical issue that frequently comes up is transferring the body across state lines. As fewer and fewer families all live in the same town or state, this issue is becoming more common. While this might seem like an overwhelming task, it only takes two phone calls.

The First Call

Once the family decides where they want to bury their loved one, they should call the receiving funeral home. This will start the process of the local funeral home and the receiving home coordinating with each other. After the family signs a few documents, the two funeral homes will decide on the transportation method based on the distance between the two.

The Second Call

The next step for the family to take is getting a burial transit permit. This document contains the cause of death, the deceased’s personal information, the family’s contact information, and the release documentation needed to transport the body. Rules and regulations for these permits change slightly from state to state, so it’s important for families to check with both funeral homes to make sure everything is filed correctly.

The DIY Option

Families can transport the body using their own vehicles, but there are laws that must be followed to do this. A proper shipping container must be used and it needs to be sealed appropriately. There are also laws regarding embalming the body.


Regardless of paying a funeral home to transport the body or doing it yourself, transporting a body across state lines can be expensive. The average cost clocks in around $5,000. If this cost is too expensive, a much more affordable option is cremation. Ashes can be transported without the need for permits, making it much more affordable.