The resources below are an ever-growing compilation based on our own personal research. Please note that we are not receiving any kind of compensation for mentioning these organizations, companies or products- we just appreciate the work they're doing!

California Regulations

  • The California Cemetery & Funeral Bureau is the licensing and regulatory agency for all funeral establishments, funeral directors, and embalmers in the State of California.
  • California law requires funeral service providers to secure and file a certificate with the health department. Certified copies of the death certificate are issued by the registrar.
  • Generally, local ordinances or deed restrictions prohibit private burials within city limits. Check with the State Health Department and local zoning authorities for applicable laws.
  • Embalming is not required by California law, but most common carriers will require a body to be embalmed prior to shipping, and funeral homes must embalm or refrigerate within 24 hours by regulation.
  • Burial caskets are not required by California law, but there may be cemetery or mausoleum restrictions regarding caskets and outer burial containers or vaults.
  • There are also regulations around burials at sea. Please see the EPA Guidelines for Sea Burial
  • Cremation caskets are not required by California law, but some type of container such as a cardboard box or canvas pouch is usually required by crematories. Please see the Funeral Consumers Alliance FAQs about cremation.
  • The California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau consumer guide to funeral and cemetery purchases has a detailed summary of regulatory details and price list requirements for funerary services.

Home Funerals in California:


  • The use of a funeral home or funeral director is not required by law when preparing a body for disposition. You can arrange for your body, or that of a loved one, to be cared for and prepared for disposition by family and friends at home.
  • There are no preservation time requirements for home funerals, but use of dry ice is recommended if keeping the deceased at home for more than a few hours.
  • If you choose home death care in CA, you must:
    • File a completed Certificate of Death, signed by the attending physician or coroner, with the local registrar of births and deaths.
    • Obtain a Permit for Disposition from the local registrar of births and deaths. (Your local county health department may be able to help you file a Certificate of Death and/or a Permit for Disposition.)
    • Provide a casket or other suitable container.
    • Make arrangements directly with a cemetery or crematory.

San Francisco & Bay Area Resources


Bay Area End of Life Doula Resources:


The California End of Life Option Act allows certain terminally ill individuals to legally request and obtain from their physician medications to hasten their death and end their life in a humane and dignified manner.


SF Bay Area Green Burial Businesses:


SF Bay Area Funeral Organizations:


SF Bay Area Hospice Organizations:


The Willed Body Program at UCSF