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Question
My husband wants to have a green burial.  No embalming, put in a bag, buried underground.  He wants all this to happen on the property we own.  We live in Arkansas.  Who would I contact for such a funeral?  He wants nothing fancy, just put in the ground.  He said I could have a memorial service afterward if I want.  He doesn't want to spend anymore than necessary.  I just don't know what the laws are and who to contact for this type of funeral in Arkansas.  Thank you for your assistance on this question.

Answer
If your property is rural, then there shouldn't be a problem. You must register a family graveyard with the county clerk prior to burial. A good practice is 150 ft. from a water supply and at least 25 ft. from a power line or boundary. Call the Dept. of Health for permission--501-661-2654.

You don't have to use a funeral director at all. Everything can be handled by the family and friends. You can download the Arkansas chapter from the Bookstore at www.funerals.org for only $5. It will walk you through the paperwork and other practical matters.

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Lisa Carlson

Expertise

Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.

Experience

I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Organizations
Funeral Ethics Organization (www.funeralethics.org) Funeral Consumers Alliance (www.funerals.org)

Publications
Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Education/Credentials
Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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