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How many days after death does a funeral take place?

Updated February 21, 2017

Planning a funeral for a loved one can be a heart-wrenching experience, and the last thing you want is to worry about schematics. So, how soon can you expect your loved one to be buried?

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Burial typically occurs three to seven days after death, depending on custom and more mundane matters, such as the availability of your funeral home.


In Christianity, a funeral is most commonly held three days after death, allowing two to three days for the wake or a day for viewing. In other religions, the length of time varies. In Judaism, the burial normally takes place the next day.


State law can dictate when a person will be buried. A body that has not been embalmed will usually begin to decompose after two to three days. So, state law often requires that burial take place within a few days of death.

Open Casket

If your loved one's funeral is taking place more than three days after death, don't plan on an open casket. State law often prohibits this, although it varies by state.


Cremation is typically done within the same period that a funeral would be held. However, a memorial service can occur at any time.

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About the Author

Sienna Condy began writing professionally in 2001 while attending the University of Cincinnati, and she's been at it ever since. Since graduating, she's written everything from marketing materials to articles on removing stains. Today, she enjoys writing about weddings, legal issues, science, health and parenting.

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