Laws and Regulations on Funerals and Cremation in Idaho
Funeral Information

Rules and Regulations on Funerals, Burials and Cremation in Idaho

Funeral laws and regulations differ from one state to another, and you want to be informed before making a decision. Some rules are similar, but the differences can put you on the spot, so the following guide will shed light over the most significant aspects related to a funeral or cremation in the state of Idaho.

What are the steps to follow to obtain the death certificate in Idaho?

In Idaho, you have five days to fill in the death certificate with the local registrar. Nine times out of ten,  the mortuary, funeral home, cremation organization, or any person managing the deceased's remain will file the death certificate. The medical certification has to be completed before the death certification is released.

How to obtain Death certificate in Idaho

The person in charge of completing the death certificate only has 72 hours for filling in the medical section. The date, time, and cause of death are the primary information he/she has to complete.

There's an electronic death registration system running in Idaho for the moment, but using paper is still possible. You need to go to the local health department, and get the death certificate, fill in the personal data, go to the deceased doctors, or medical professional in charge of signing. The Department of Health and Welfare is what you should check for detailed instruction.

It's also mandatory that you get and file the report of death form from the local registrar in 24 hours of coming in possession of the body. The paper confirms that you have been in touch with a medical professional who checked the deceased at the time of death and that he/she will also sign the death certificate.

Who will fill in the death certificate in Idaho?

The certifying physician who was taking care of the person at the time of death may complete the medical certification section in the first 72 hours from the time of death. The state may not ask a medical certification of the cause of death within 72 hours if the rules would generate "undue hardship." Still, the coroner or the certifying physician has 15 days to complete the death certificate.

When the physician isn’t available and agrees, the physician performing the autopsy may also fill in the certificate. However, he/she would need access to the deceased’s medical history, and the cause of death should be natural. The case will be handed to the coroner if there was no physician around during the last sickness, or the cause of death wasn't natural.

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How pricey is the death certificate?

A copy of the death certificate is $14, and you may obtain an official transcript by phone, online, by mail, or in person.

You will pay $21 for the first certified copy and $16 for any other certified copy later on.

How fast can you get the copy?

If you're going in person, you will wait around 40 minutes for the copy, whereas by mail, you will have to wait 5-7 days. Online processing takes two days, and you need to add the shipping time. Expedited shipping is also an option.

What documents do you need to present?

You need to provide a proper ID for ordering copies of the death certificate. Read below who can ask for the death certificate.

On the side note, anyone can request the copy of death certificate for someone who’s been dead for more than fifty years.

You will most likely need more than one copy

There are many situations when a copy of the death certificate will be required. You may keep one for personal records, and you will need several copies if you're responsible for the deceased's affairs. Every time you will ask for a property or benefits that the deceased possessed, you will have to provide a copy of the death certificate. Social Security benefits, life insurance proceeds, veteran benefits, payable on death accounts are only some of the situations to name.

All in all, you will need at least ten certified copies, and you can ask the person/organization to file the certificate to ask for copies at the time of death.

Are all people legally allowed to ask for the death certificate or only some categories?

In the state of Idaho, you need to present a direct and tangible interest when requesting the death certificate.

Here are the persons who qualify:

  • The spouse or an immediate family member
  • The legal representative of the spouse or the immediate family member
  • A person who may provide the right of inheriting or claim the insurance proceeds
  • A person capable of proving that the death certificate is essential for establishing the property claims

Who has the legal right to make the funeral preparations in Idaho?

The Idaho law decides who is legally entitled to have the final word on one's body and funeral ceremonies. The responsibility and right go to the following people, according to the order:

  • A person named by the deceased in a pre-arranged funeral plan
  • A person selected in a written and certified document
  • The health care agent under power of attorney for health care. It cannot be done if there's a document denying the agent to take care of your final plans.
  • Any person selected in a power of attorney, when the document specifies the rights of the named person
  • The spouse
  • An adult child, or most of the children
  • The parents
  • The administrator of the state or the personal representative
  • The next of kin
  • The personal guardian

Do you have to buy a casket in Idaho?

See our selection of caskets, shipped fast throughout the entire State of Idaho.

Typically, the casket is the most expensive item in a funeral. Even if the price for a really simple casket starts at around $1000 (but you can find it for less at online retailers), the casket prices can go as high as $20,000. This is why people more and more often buy a casket from third-party casket companies, or from online retailers.

Where to Buy a casket in Idaho


Even if no laws are requiring you to use a casket, the cemeteries may have their own set of rules, for various reasons. Stay on the safe side and find out what are the requirements for the casket you should use.


The federal law asks the crematory/funeral home to present you the cremation caskets or alternative containers. Additionally, they also need to make the simple casket-boxes or cremation caskets available to you. Pressed wood, cardboard, fiberboard, and unfinished wood are the common materials used for alternative containers and cremation caskets.

Do you need a special permit for a cremation?

Even if it may not be the case for all crematories, the majority of them will ask you to hire a funeral director. If you are determined not to use a funeral home, you need to make sure that the funeral home will take the body right from the family. The coroner also has to permit before the body is cremated.

Can the funeral home demand you to buy the casket from them?

Even if Idaho law states that it’s only the licensed funeral directors legal to sell caskets, the federal law requires the funeral homes to accept caskets bought from a third party. Online retailers provide amazing models for attractive prices, so don’t eliminate this option right from the start.


Is hiring a funeral director mandatory in Idaho?

Just like in all states, in Idaho, you can take care of the deceased without hiring a funeral director. Moreover, the law allows you to obtain and complete the death certificate if you're taking the body from the district.

What aspects should you consider when selecting a funeral home?

Should you decide to go with a funeral home, you need to consider several aspects. You may very well conduct the funeral planning, but it’s going to be a lot easier when hiring a funeral home.

There are 120 funeral homes and mortuaries in Idaho, so a set of criteria will be helpful to ease out the selection process.

Do you need to think about the final disposal of the remains? What kind of funeral ceremonies do you wish to have? Is your budget limited, and you need to watch out for every little spending that you make? When you know precisely which type of casket, ceremony, final disposition, and so on you want to have, it's easier to select a funeral home.

Word of mouth suggestions are a good hint, but if you want something more specific, you may need to look around more time.

What budget should you have for a funeral in Idaho?

An immediate burial may cost you anything from $1500, whereas direct cremation can start at $850. However, the typical expenses for a funeral across the US are something around $7,000, without the cemetery feeds. When you consider the cemetery fees, the total costs gets as high as $9,000.

The casket, embalming, funeral director service charges, transportation, and additional spendings such as music, flowers, or obituary are only some of the many expenses to make on a conventional funeral.

The prices vary a lot, which is why you should have more than one option when selecting your funeral home and whatnot. Nevertheless, the general price list (GPL) has to be provided by the funeral home, it’s a list displaying prices for funeral merchandise and services. The "Funeral Rule" released by the Federal Trade Commission also requires funeral homes to ensure a copy of their GPL.

How much do you pay for cremation in Idaho?

Once again, the additional services/products that you choose will affect the final cost of a cremation funeral service. Direct cremation may start at $845 in Idaho, but cremation funeral service can cost you around $3,000. We're talking about a type of service that replaces the conventional funeral.

Who has to pay for the funeral in Idaho?

A funeral plan, life insurance, a POD account, or enough funds for the family to take care of the funeral expenses are some of your options. If none of the options are available, the next of kin and taking care of the funeral will have to cover the funeral spending.

Does the Idaho law allow you to pre-plan a funeral?

Pre-planning is a very efficient way to spare the surviving family the trouble and stress about the financial costs of the funeral. Having said that, you can either buy burial insurance or make the preneed funeral preparations straight with the funeral home. Don't forget to see of the preneed contract is "guaranteed" or "non-guaranteed" to cover the entire expenses for the funeral later within the future.

A document with your wishes on the final disposition of body can also be made. Putting some money aside in POD Payable on Death account or a Totten Trust is something that many people do. It’s going to allow your family to get the funds when the time comes and proceed with the funeral arrangements.

What does the Idaho law states regarding embalming?

Idaho doesn't have any embalming requests for the families that choose home funerals. If the body will be transported for the final disposition, embalming becomes mandatory. Additionally, you also need to get a permit for the final placement from the professional signing the death certificate.

If burial or cremation doesn't happen in the first 24 hours, embalming or refrigeration becomes mandatory. Embalming is also compulsory when the body will be sent by traditional carriers, such as trains or airplanes.

In Idaho, embalming is also mandatory if the person has died from infectious disease and if a viewing is planned. If public service is planned and the body has to stay out of the refrigerator for more than six hours, embalming is a must.

Refrigeration or dry ice will ensure body preservation for only a short amount of time.

Does the Idaho law approve home burials?

No state laws in Idaho forbid you to have a home burial. However, local governments may have specific regulations on private burials.

If you’re considering burying the body on private land or wish to create a family cemetery, you need to see the county and town clerk’s regulations. There may be region laws that you must obey before proceeding with the burial.

Drawing the map of the property and displaying the burial place is also requested. Later on, you will need to file it with the property deed and ensure the display of the burial once you sell the property.

What's the legal aspect of cremation in Idaho?

Cremation can take place in Idaho only after the "Cremation Authorization Form" has been signed by the coroner and the legal next of kin. Many states have a mandatory waiting period of 24 hours before cremation, but Idaho makes an exception.

However, it's going to take you three days to obtain all the documentation papers that you need for proceeding with cremation.

Does the Idaho law allow direct cremation?

The Idaho law allows you to have direct cremation. Most of the time, you will pay at the end of around $1,200.

Many families choose direct cremation since it’s the least expensive type of funeral to have. There are no services involved or embalming. Once the documentation is filled in, the cremation takes place, and the cremated remains will be given to the family later on.

An upgraded cremation urn or a private family viewing will increase the costs of the direct cremation, for the obvious reasons.

What criteria to use when deciding between burial and cremation in Idaho?

Selecting between cremation and burial is a personal matter. If the deceased has left explicit instruction about it, it's going to be more comfortable for the family to make the funeral arrangements.

Expenses for the funeral service are one aspect to consider when selecting between the two. Cremation means fewer costs, and many people choose it over the traditional burial service.

If one already owns a cemetery plot, traditional burial is the ideal choice, especially since burial plots are hard to find and quite pricey.

Green burials

Green burials are also a common choice, and many people choose the eco-friendly disposition. All materials used for the casket, the clothing of the deceased, and even the tools used for digging the grave need to be eco-friendly.

Alkaline hydrolysis

In 2014, the state of Idaho legalized alkaline hydrolysis. The chemical process turns the body into liquids and bones and doesn't generate matter into the atmosphere. Additionally, it utilizes less energy, which is why it's greener than cremation.

Even if the alkaline hydrolysis is legal in Idaho, no funeral home in Idaho is currently performing the procedure.

What are the rules on scattering the ashes in Idaho?

No Idaho law is controlling how you’re storing or spreading the cremated remains. You may store the ashes in a niche, grave, crypt, or a container in your home.

With cremations not posing any risk for health, you should only use common sense when spreading the cremated remains.

Private property

You may spread the cremated remains on your private land. If the property isn’t yours, it’s safe to have the owner’s approval before scattering the ashes.

Public property

It’s not illegal to spread the ashes on public land, but you need to check the county and city rules, along with zoning rules before spreading the ashes on local public property. As long as you’re using your judgment while spreading, you shouldn’t worry much about it.

Settled scattering garden

In the state of Idaho, plenty of cemeteries also provide gardens for spreading the cremated remains. Ask a representative of the cemetery for more details.

Federal property

Officially, you will need the approval before spreading the cremated remains on federal property. Most of the time, you will get permission as long as you're keeping the ceremony quiet and away from roads, trails, waterways, and facilities.

At sea

According to the federal Clean Water Act, you will need to be at least three nautical miles from land when spreading the ashes. It makes perfect sense that you dispose of the container separately if it doesn't quickly decompose.

The EPA forbids spreading the cremated remains in wading pools by the sea and at beaches. Moreover, you have to inform EPA within 30 days of scattering the cremated remains.

Should you be interested in having inland water burial, you have to obtain the permit from the state agency handling the waterway.

By air

No state laws forbid you to scatter ashes by air, but federal aviation laws are forbidding the drop any objects harming the people or damaging properties in any way.

The US government doesn't see ashes dangerous, but you should get them out of the container before spreading by air.


Frequently Asked Questions about Funerals in Idaho

Q: Who can help you with the funeral in Idaho?

A: No matter what you think, taking care of one's funeral is challenging. There are many local guides, consultants, and resources to check for some guidance in this challenging time of your life.

Q: Do you need a permit for transporting the body in Idaho?

A: When the person doesn’t die in Idaho, but you want the final disposition to take place in Idaho, you will need to take care of several aspects. You may use the report of death form as permit for transport, entomb of burial.  Check the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare site for an example of the form.

Should you want to transport the body outside the state, you must get additional authorization. The doctor, physician's assistant, or registered nurse signing the death certificate will give you the approval.

Q: Do veterans have funeral benefits in Idaho?

A: A free cemetery plot, US flag, or grave marker are some of the benefits for veterans in Idaho. Anyone asking for these benefits needs to present a copy of the DD214 discharge papers. Contacting the local VA office will also be necessary. Most of the time, the funeral director can provide guidance and even take care of things on your behalf.

The VA cemetery from Boise offers space for both cremated remains and caskets.

Q: Do people with no life insurance have help with the funeral in Idaho?

A: The financial help provided for people with no life insurance is limited and differs from one county to another. The coroner can prepare with the funeral home so that the spending isn't higher than the minimal price for cremation or burial.

Typically, a specific amount is established, and the state/county will pay for the pauper burial guidance. Get in touch with the local County human services/social services for finding out the details.

Q: Does the Idaho law allows you to donate the body to science?

A: Donating the body to science is a selfless act to help others. The whole body donation programs will manage everything related to the final disposition of the body, but it’s better to pre-register for speeding the process when it’s time.

Q: Where to file a complaint about a funeral home in Idaho?

A: Most of the time, the funeral homes are responsible and reliable, but accidents do happen. When you cannot come eye to eye with the funeral director, you should write a complaint to the Idaho Board of Morticians that controls and licenses the funeral businesses in Idaho.


  Blog Author: Tim 

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