WATERVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — In the state of Maine, you don't have to go through a funeral director to bury a deceased loved one.
Choosing a home funeral instead could save you thousands of dollars.
It could also lend itself to a more personal experience for your family.
"The experience of taking care of your own dead at home is remarkable," home funeral educator, Chuck Lakin, said, "there's a connection."
For several years, Lakin says he's skipped the middle man when it comes to funeral services, opting to forego the conventional route of going through a funeral home.
A few months ago, Penney, Lakin's wife of 44 years died in their Waterville home. Lakin prepared her body for burial there. He buried her at Rainbow's End natural cemetery in Orrington four days later, holding a small memorial ceremony for her there. Lakin spent about $1,200 for a plot of land at the cemetery.
It's a decision Lakin says was intimate, and one that saved him a fortune.
"A full service funeral right now in the United States costs about, the average one costs about $7,500," Lakin said, "for a much more personal experience you get to do it yourself and it costs you about 1,200."
Lakin, also a woodworker for over 40 years, also builds wooden coffins. It only took him a few days to build his wife's coffin.
He says anyone can go out and buy the materials it takes to build a coffin for less than $200.
The bereavement process in my experience is greatly shortened because you've been saying goodbye for a couple of days."
Lakin added that the home funeral process is easy to learn if you take time to educate yourself. He also stated that he doesn't knock funeral directors, saying they have a "tough job" to do.