Burial Laws by State

Burial laws differ state by state. It is important to be informed about what is required in your area when making end of life arrangements. This list of laws is a starting reference for you to learn where you can be buried in each state and which states require a Funeral Director. 

Alabama 

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land. 

It is legally required to hire a Funeral Director to handle certain parts of the funeral. 

Alaska

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Arizona

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land. Embalming OR refrigeration is required if a body is not being disposed within 24 hours. State law does not require the use of a casket, and an individual can build one or bring an alternative container they bought online. However, it is on the individual to check if their cemetery has their own policies.

Arkansas

Bodies must be buried in an established cemetery.  Special permitting for a family burial plot can be applied for.

California

Bodies must be buried in an established cemetery unless a special permit for a family burial plot is applied for. Embalming is not required. However, the person with the right to control disposition must accept or decline embalming by signing a specific form prescribed by the Bureau. Additionally, a funeral establishment must refrigerate an unembalmed body in its possession if burial does not take place within 24 hours (there are some exceptions for home death care). A coroner may also require embalming in certain circumstances.

The law does not require outer burial containers, such as vaults or grave liners, but cemeteries may require them because they keep the ground from settling after burial. Natural burials and cemeteries are explicitly listed as legal and preferable for those who want to have minimum impact on the environment.

Colorado

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land. 

Connecticut

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land. It is also legally required to use a funeral director, even if you are burying on private land. Embalming is only required if a person died of a contagious disease. Otherwise, refrigeration serves the same purpose. 

Delaware

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Florida

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Georgia

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Hawaii

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land. Cemeteries must be

Idaho

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Illinois

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

It is legally required to hire a Funeral Director to handle certain parts of the funeral.

Indiana

Bodies must be buried in an established cemetery.  Special permitting for a family burial plot can be applied for. There are NO laws requiring embalming. However, it is legally required to hire a Funeral Director to handle certain parts of the funeral.

Iowa

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

It is legally required to hire a Funeral Director to handle certain parts of the funeral.

Kansas

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Kentucky

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Louisiana

Bodies must be buried in an established cemetery. Special permitting for a family burial plot can be applied for.

Maine

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Maryland

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Massachusetts

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Michigan

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

It is legally required to hire a Funeral Director to handle certain parts of the funeral.

Minnesota

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Mississippi

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Missouri

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Montana

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Nebraska

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

It is legally required to hire a Funeral Director to handle certain parts of the funeral.

Nevada

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

New Hampshire

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

New Jersey

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

It is legally required to hire a Funeral Director to handle certain parts of the funeral.

New Mexico

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

New York

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

It is legally required to hire a Funeral Director to handle certain parts of the funeral.

North Carolina

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

North Dakota

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Ohio

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Oklahoma

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Oregon

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Pennsylvania

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land. Bodies must be refrigerated if final disposition does not occur within 24 hours, or else embalmed and placed in a sealed casket. If the death was due to a noncontagious disease and will be shipped by common carrier (such as an airplane) to a place that cannot be reached within 24 hours after death, the only choice for a body is to be embalmed or placed in a sealed container.

Rhode Island

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

South Carolina

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

South Dakota

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Tennessee

Most bodies are buried in cemeteries, but there are no state laws in Tennessee that prohibit burial on private property. However, it is recommended that you check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land. Additionally, embalming is not required. Refrigeration serves the same purpose. A casket is also not required for burial by state law, but cemeteries may have their own individual policies for containers.

Texas

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Utah

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Vermont

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Virginia

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land. 

Washington

Bodies must be buried at established cemeteries. Embalming is not required; refrigeration can be used until the time of burial or cremation. A casket is also not required for burial or cremation.

West Virginia

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Wisconsin

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

Wyoming

There are no laws that prohibit home burial, but you must check local zoning laws before establishing a home cemetery or burying on private land.

 

For more information about state burial laws, visit NOLO.com and Funeral Consumers Alliance.

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  1. […] America, you can go to the Green Burial Council Directory or view the burial laws state by state here to find out where you can be naturally buried. In the United Kingdom, you can go to the […]

  2. […] Burial laws vary state to state, so it is important to be informed about what is required in your area. If you would like to learn more about the specific laws of your state, check out our list of laws. […]

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