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Funerals/Colorado state laws


Is embalming required?
Is a vault required?
Can I be buried on my own property?  (outside city limits)

Embalming OR refrigeration is required after 24 hours.

No, a vault is not required by state law, but many cemeteries require one for maintenance purposes, to keep the ground from settling.

Yes, you may be buried on your own land, but it must be recorded with the local registrar or coroner.

You can get a state-specific Funeral Consumer Rights pamphlet at

To bypass the funeral industry entirely, you can download the CO chapter of "Final Rights" from the Bookstore at for only $5.


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Lisa Carlson


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.


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.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

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

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

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

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