Keeping or bringing a loved one home from an institution after death is legal in every state – including Wisconsin – for bathing, dressing, private viewing, and ceremony as the family chooses. Every state recognizes the next-of-kin’s custody and control of the body that allows the opportunity to hold a home vigil. Religious observations, family gatherings, memorials, and private events are not under the jurisdiction of the State or professionals in the funeral industry, who have no medico-legal authority unless it is transferred to them when they are paid for service
Some states do require the involvement of a licensed funeral director for some portion of the process. Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey and New York have various restrictions concerning a family’s right to after-death care, home funerals and burials. This does not affect family rights to bring/keep the body at home, but a funeral director will need to be involved in the process. Wisconsin has no such requirements.
Families who hold a home funeral must still contact the authorities in order to file a death certificate and other documents.
Wisconsin laws and information:
Reporting Procedures for Statutorily Reportable Deaths provides an overview of the below laws.
Wis Stat. 69.18 Makes it clear that families may move bodies
Wis Admin Code DHS 135 – Human Corpses and Stillbirths – also makes it clear that nothing should prevent immediate family from tending a familiy member’s body.