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Funerals/Creating a family cemetery on our land


Hello. Wife and i wanna be buried on our own land in upstate SC.  We are in our 40 s so hopefully this wont be soon.  The land has been in our family for a century and should be for a long time to come.  I called a funeral home who said i had to fill a paper out at health dept.  the health dept didnt know of any paper and refered me to the coroner.  The coroner said to just plan to do it and there were no problems he knew of.  My questions are 1. What do i need to do now to ensure at that time it wont be a hastle on my family, 2. What can i do to keep cost down, 3. Will a funeral home dig the hole if its my land?   Any advise is appreciated.  Thanks for your time.

There are no laws that specifically permit or prohibit burial on your own land, but check
local zoning. A good practice is 150 feet from a water supply and 25 feet from a power line with
two or three feet of earth on top. You should draw a map of the land showing where the
family cemetery will be and have it recorded with the deed.

There is no reason at all to use a funeral director if you don't want to and if you have family members, neighbors or a church group to help move a body or dig the grave. You can download the SC chapter from "Final Rights" at the Bookstore at for only $5. That will walk you through how to file the death certificate and so forth.


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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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