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With permit
33
Check local zoning
11
Family plot (rural)
4
No
2

Burial Laws by State 2024

Burial Laws by State 2024

Notes:

  • None of the 50 states legally require a casket for burial or cremation.
  • In all 50 states, funeral homes must accept caskets that consumers have purchased from another source.
  • In every state except Alabama, funeral homes must accept caskets that consumers have built on their own.
  • In Idaho and Maine, only licensed funeral directors may sell caskets.

Alabama

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationEmbalming is required only in order to leave the state.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries. However, no state laws prohibit home burial (check local zoning rules).

Alaska

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws exist requiring a body to be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries. However, no state laws prohibit home burial (check local zoning rules).

Arizona

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated after 24 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries. However, no state laws prohibit home burial (check local zoning rules).

Arkansas

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (family plot possible in rural areas)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed OR refrigerated at or below 45° after 24 hours unless cremating. Neither are required for 48 hours if planning to cremate. Embalming is required in order to leave the state.
Legally allowed burial locationsMust be in established cemetery, but it is possible to apply for special family plot permit.

California

Depth Requirement18" from top of body or coffin/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (family plot possible in rural areas)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed OR refrigerated after 24 hours. Embalming is required in order to leave the state.
Legally allowed burial locationsMust be in established cemetery, but it is possible to apply for special family plot permit.

Colorado

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed OR refrigerated after 24 hours. Contagious or communicable diseases must be reported to local or state health officers by person acting as funeral director.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries, but no state laws exist that prohibit home burial (check local zoning rules).

Connecticut

Depth Requirement30" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationFuneral director must be hired to supervise interment, remove body, and file death certificate. If the person dies of a communicable disease, disposition must be handled by a licensed embalmer. Disposition must occur within a reasonable time.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries, but no state laws exist that prohibit home burial (check local zoning rules).

Delaware

Depth Requirement18" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated after 24 hours. Disposition must occur within 5 days.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries, but no state laws exist that prohibit home burial (check local zoning rules).

Florida

Depth Requirement12" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationMust be embalmed or refrigerated after 24 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries, but no state laws exist that prohibit home burial (check local zoning rules).

Georgia

Depth RequirementDepends (check local zoning)
Private Property Burial AllowedNot required
Burial-Transit Permit
Body PreparationNo laws exist requiring a body to be embalmed
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries, but no state laws exist that prohibit home burial. Check local zoning rules. Bibb County prohibits home burial.

Hawaii

Depth RequirementMust be sufficient to avoid public health nuisance and animal disturbance
Private Property Burial AllowedNo
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated after 30 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsMust be buried on land approved as a cemetery by the Director of Health. A burial-transit permit must be obtained before burying a body.

Idaho

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationMust be embalmed or refrigerated after 24 hours. Embalming is also required if a body is to be transported by common carrier, such as an airplane or train.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries, but no state laws exist that prohibit home burial (check local zoning rules).

Illinois

Depth Requirement18" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed. The funeral director or person with custody of the body must obtain a permit from the registrar of the district where the death occurred before disposing of the body.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemeteries, but no state laws exist that prohibit home burial (check local zoning rules).

Indiana

Depth Requirement24" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (family plot possible in rural areas)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsMust be buried in established cemeteries. It may be possible to apply for special family plot permit in rural areas.

Iowa

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody can be held without preservation up to 72 hours; then refrigerated at between 38 and 42 degrees for 72 more. Communicable disease must be reported to attending physician. Funeral director must be hired to handle arrangements with crematories; bodies with infectious diseases must be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Kansas

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated after 24 hours (extensions possible). Check statutes for specific infectious or contagious diseases that must be handled by a licensed FD unless disposition occurs within 24 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Kentucky

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Louisiana

Depth Requirement24" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (family plot possible in rural areas)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated at below 45° after 30 hours. Funeral director must be hired for "any service whatsoever connected with the management of funerals".
Legally allowed burial locationsMust be buried in established cemeteries. It may be possible to apply for special family plot permit in rural areas.

Maine

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationIf a body will be shipped by common carrier, such as an airplane or train, it must either be embalmed or placed in a container designed to prevent the escape of fluids or offensive odors. Diseases must be reported to attending physician to determnine if medical examiner needs to be involved.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Maryland

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedDepends (check local zoning)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationThere are no laws or regulations requiring embalming. Contagious diseases must be reported to attending physician.
Legally allowed burial locationsEstablished cemetery, a family burial plot, or other area allowed by a local ordinance.

Massachusetts

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Michigan

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationIf a body is not buried or cremated within 48 hours, embalming may be required for transportation purposes. Funeral director must be hired to file the death certificate and oversee disposition; embalming is required for bodies with rare infectious or communicable diseases.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Minnesota

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated after 72 hours. Refrigeration limited to 6 days; dry ice use limited to 4 days.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Mississippi

Depth Requirement24" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated after 24 hours if destination cannot be reached and burial/cremation does not take place within 48 hours. Contagious disease that endangers public health must be reported to a medical examiner.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Missouri

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationEmbalming is required for bodies with infectious or communicable diseases if not buried or cremated within 24 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Montana

Depth Requirement18" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationA body that died of infectious disease must be disposed of as soon as reasonably possible and with minimal handling. Body must be embalmed OR refrigerated if not expected to reach its destination within 48 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Nebraska

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationEmbalming is required if the death was due to a communicable disease listed by the Center for Disease Control (unless body is encased in a metal or metal lined and hermetically sealed container), if final disposition will not occur within 24 hours (72 hours of refrigeration is allowed), or if the body will be shipped by common carrier, such as an airplane or train.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Nevada

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitRequired
Body PreparationBodies held for cremation must be refrigerated after 24 hours. Report contagious or communicable disease to attending physician to consult state guidelines.
Legally allowed burial locationsBefore burying a body, the funeral director must obtain a burial permit. Most bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

New Hampshire

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationDead bodies may not be exposed to the public for a period in excess of 24 hours without embalming.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

New Jersey

Depth RequirementAdults 4' from top of body or casket to surface, children 3.5' from top to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationEmbalming is required if a body won't be buried or cremated within 48 hours, it must be either embalmed or refrigerate.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

New Mexico

Depth Requirement6' minimum bottom depth
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated at below 40° if not disposed of within 24 hours. Contagious or communicable diseases must ber reported to the Office of Medical Investigation.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

New York

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitRequired
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsBefore burying a body, the funeral director must obtain a burial permit. Most bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

North Carolina

Depth Requirement18" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationEmbalming is not allowed when death is due to specific diseases.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

North Dakota

Depth Requirement3.5' from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitRequired
Body PreparationEmbalmed or refrigerated if it will be transported but cannot reach its final destination within 48 hours. If the body cannot reach its destination within 72 hours, it must be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsBefore burying a body, the funeral director must obtain a disposition-transit permit from the state registrar. Most bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Ohio

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBodies with communicable diseases must be buried or cremated within 24 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Oklahoma

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationEnbalming or refrigeration is required if final disposition does not occur within 24 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Oregon

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationDispositions not occurring within 10 days must be reported to the Mortuary Board
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Pennsylvania

Depth Requirement24" from the hipbone or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitRequired
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed, placed in a sealed casket, or refrigerated if final disposition (burial or cremation) does not occur within 24 hours. If refrigeration is chosen, final disposition must occur within five hours of removal from refrigeration. After 36 hours of refrigeration, public viewing is discouraged.
Legally allowed burial locationsPermit from the local registrar or State Registrar of Vital Statistics is required in order to bury or otherwise dispose of a body. Most bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Rhode Island

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitRequired
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated within 48 hours of death.
Legally allowed burial locationsBefore burying a body in Rhode Island, the funeral director must prepare a burial-transit permit. Most bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

South Carolina

Depth Requirement10" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

South Dakota

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitRequired
Body PreparationEmbalming is required if a body to be embalmed or refrigerated if final disposition does not occur within 24 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsBefore burying a body in South Dakota, you will need to obtain a burial permit from the health department or local registrar. Most bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Tennessee

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Texas

Depth Requirement24" from top of body or casket/vault to surface
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBodies must be embalmed or refrigerated to 35-40° after 24 hours unless placed in a sealed container.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Utah

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitRequired
Body PreparationEmbalming is required if a body to be embalmed or refrigerated if final disposition does not occur within 24 hours. If a a body will be shipped by common carrier it must be embalmed and placed in a sealed casket or metal container designed for the purpose of shipping a body.
Legally allowed burial locationsHospital must receive a burial transit permit before it can release a body. Most bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Vermont

Depth Requirement3.5' adult and infant min. bottom depth
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit. In 2015, Vermont passed a law permitting landowners to create "natural burial grounds", a private cemeteries that employ land management practices that are more environmentally sensitive than those used by traditional cemeteries.

Virginia

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationBody must be embalmed or refrigerated after 48 hours.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Washington

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedNo
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationA body can be either embalmed or refrigerated until the time of burial or cremation.
Legally allowed burial locationsMust be an established cemetery.

West Virginia

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Wisconsin

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationNo laws requiring a body to be embalmed.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Wyoming

Depth RequirementNone
Private Property Burial AllowedYes (w/ permit)
Burial-Transit PermitNot required
Body PreparationEmbalming is required for bodies with specific communicable diseases.
Legally allowed burial locationsMost bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property is possible with a permit.

Burial Laws by State 2024

Notes:
- None of the 50 states legally require a casket for burial or cremation.
- In all 50 states, funeral homes must accept caskets that consumers have purchased from another source.
- In every state except Alabama, funeral homes must accept caskets that consumers have built on their own.
- In Idaho and Maine, only licensed funeral directors may sell caskets.

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State
Private Property Burial Allowed
Depth Requirement
Burial-Transit Permit
AlabamaDepends (check local zoning)-Not required
AlaskaDepends (check local zoning)-Not required
ArizonaDepends (check local zoning)-Not required
ArkansasDepends (family plot possible in rural areas)-Not required
CaliforniaDepends (family plot possible in rural areas)18” from top of body or coffin/vault to surfaceNot required
ColoradoDepends (check local zoning)-Not required
ConnecticutDepends (check local zoning)30” from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
DelawareDepends (check local zoning)18” from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
FloridaDepends (check local zoning)12” from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
GeorgiaDepends (check local zoning)-Not required
HawaiiNoMust be sufficient to avoid public health nuisance and animal disturbanceRequired
IdahoDepends (check local zoning)-Not required
IllinoisDepends (check local zoning)18” from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
IndianaDepends (family plot possible in rural areas)24" from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
IowaYes (w/ permit)-Not required
KansasYes (w/ permit)-Not required
KentuckyYes (w/ permit)-Not required
LouisianaDepends (family plot possible in rural areas)24” from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
MaineYes (w/ permit)-Not required
MarylandDepends (check local zoning)-Not required
MassachusettsYes (w/ permit)-Not required
MichiganYes (w/ permit)-Not required
MinnesotaYes (w/ permit)-Not required
MississippiYes (w/ permit)24” from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
MissouriYes (w/ permit)-Not required
MontanaYes (w/ permit)18” from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
NebraskaYes (w/ permit)-Not required
NevadaYes (w/ permit)-Required
New HampshireYes (w/ permit)-Not required
New JerseyYes (w/ permit)4’ adult from top to surface 3.5’ child from top to surfaceNot required
New MexicoYes (w/ permit)6’ minimum bottom depthNot required
New YorkYes (w/ permit)-Required
North CarolinaYes (w/ permit)18" from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
North DakotaYes (w/ permit)3.5' from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceRequired
OhioYes (w/ permit)-Not required
OklahomaYes (w/ permit)-Not required
OregonYes (w/ permit)-Not required
PennsylvaniaYes (w/ permit)24" from the hipbone or casket/vault to surfaceRequired
Rhode IslandYes (w/ permit)-Required
South CarolinaYes (w/ permit)10" from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
South DakotaYes (w/ permit)-Required
TennesseeYes (w/ permit)-Not required
TexasYes (w/ permit)24" from top of body or casket/vault to surfaceNot required
UtahYes (w/ permit)-Required
VermontYes (w/ permit)3.5' adult and infant min. bottom depthNot required
VirginiaYes (w/ permit)-Not required
WashingtonNo-Not required
West VirginiaYes (w/ permit)-Not required
WisconsinYes (w/ permit)-Not required
WyomingYes (w/ permit)-Not required
showing: 50 rows

Burial Laws by State 2024

Sources