Transporting a body in NJ

Hi Brian, Good idea. It is more personal and you will save a bundle of money. In Lisa’s book, she states that the mortuary board has no authority over private citizens, only licensees. I’ve spoken with them and they do not agree, but we suspect that they have little if any actual enforcement or punitive power if you’re not a licensed funeral home, so our general advice is don’t worry about it. What you are supposed to do is go to the town clerk where your dad dies and pick up a removal or transit permit (a couple of dollars), but in some areas, the clerk has never issued one to anyone other than a funeral director and might or might not cope with your request calmly. The actual statutes says: “No person, without securing a proper death certificate and a burial or removal permit, shall: a. Remove a dead body from this State; or b. Bury or make other final disposition of such body in this State.” Since you are not removing the body from the state and you will not be burying the body yourself, you could just skip this. But, we encourage people to give it a try and see if the clerk cooperates as s/he should. You can always say “Oh OK, thanks anyway” and walk away (and transport your dad without the permit). We’re even more excited to find people willing to make a stink with an uncooperative town clerk, but you’d have to be prepared for a delay while you secure an attorney, notify the press, etc. As for getting the death certificate, it might depend some on where he dies. If he dies at home on hospice, you shouldn’t have a problem. While most of NJ has gone to electronic registration, the MD can drop it to paper when needed. If he dies in a hospital, your biggest problem will probably be getting them to release the body to you! The northern NJ funeral home can do the electronic registration for you as well (call in advance to confirm). Once you get up north, you can arrange to have the funeral director meet you at the cemetery for a graveside service if you want to avoid the home, embalming, etc. Also remember that you can purchase a casket online at a deep discount. Please call if you run into problems. Laurie Powsner Funeral Consumers Alliance of Princeton 609-924-3320

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