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Funerals/my cremated father's cementary only services


QUESTION: My father was cremated in Alabama and his ashes will be brought to Indiana to have his ashes buried next to my Mother in Butlerville, In.  Is it a state law in Indiana that a funeral director here in Indiana must be present at the cementary service ?

ANSWER: No, cemeteries are exempt from the funeral director licensing laws. Is the cemetery telling you you have to use a funeral director?

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QUESTION: I have not directly talked with the funeral director, but was told by my brother that the funeral director at Dove & Sharp Funeral Home in North Vernon, Indiana stated to him that it was a state law that a funeral director  be present at the cemetary at time of service. I have not talked with the cemetary people, yet.

Ask him for the law. I don't think it exists. Here's what I found--

IC 23-14-31-44
Legal control and disposition; forms concerning disposal
    Sec. 44. (a) Cremated remains may be retained by the person having legal control over the remains or may be disposed of in any of the following manners:
       (1) Placing the remains in a grave, niche, or crypt.
       (2) Scattering the remains in a scattering area.
       (3) Disposing of the remains in any manner if:
         (A) the remains are reduced to a particle size of one-eighth (1/8) inch or less; and
         (B) the disposal is made on the property of a consenting owner, on uninhabited public land, or on a waterway.
   (b) The state department of health shall adopt forms for recording the following information concerning the disposal of cremated human remains on the property of a consenting owner:
       (1) The date and manner of the disposal of the remains.
       (2) The legal description of the property where the remains were disposed of.
The owner of the property where the cremated remains were disposed of and the person having legal control over the remains shall attest to the accuracy of the information supplied on the forms. The owner of the property where the cremated remains were disposed of shall record the forms with the county recorder of the county in which the property is located and shall return the form and the burial transit permit described in IC 16-37-3, within ten (10) days after the remains are disposed of.

Most states consider the cremation process final disposition, and families are free to do as they wish after that. So if you could scatter the cremated remains in your father's favorite trout stream per Sec. 44 (3)(B), why would a funeral director be required at the cemetery? I think the FD is trying to raid your pocketbook.


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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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