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Funerals/The cost to have a private cemetary on my land


How much does it cost to have a private cemetery on my land.  I live in Oklahoma and know it is legal but figure there is some cost.  Just wondering how costly?  Thanks for any help you can give me.

Hi Sandra,

You didn't specify whether or not the cemetery was for private family use or a private business.

A private cemetery that does business with the public is a business like any other and has a full range of start-up costs as well as ongoing expenses so, in one sense, asking how much it would cost is a bit like asking how much it would cost to open a restaurant in Oklahoma - or maybe an arboretum, since a cemetery is permanent! In this case there are two answers - 1) a lot, eventually and 2) it depends. Both of those answers are beyond the scope of this venue, since there are many hours of work involved in doing a business plan for a new cemetery, but I do offer consultation if you'd like.

If you intend this for private family use, it's probably simpler to talk about "burial on private land" when talking with government folks.

Every State is different with its requirements, and counties often have additional land-use codes governing private burial. If you live in an incorporated city or township you're likely to find rules there, too.

Along with rules that the State may have governing things like depth of burial, county and city rules often describe minimum lot size, maximum number of family members, relationships that qualify as family (i.e, no friends, in some cases), etc. And then there are Federal regulations like proximity to a well or a protected water source.

I've not seen fees associated with getting "permission" to bury, but it's increasingly common for you to pay a city or county a 'consultation fee' to respond to you about a specific land-use question to find out what THEIR rules are. If they can't tell you in more than 5-10 minutes for free, they may charge you or suggest that you hire someone to look into the landuse codes for you if you're not able to do it yourself. (Now that many communities have landuse codes online, it's pretty easy to do your own research).

There are also fees associated with filing the portion of the death certificate related to the place of final disposition.

There may be fees related to filing any recordings to the deed or title of your property; many states are increasingly requiring that family burials be recorded on the title, so that potential buyers can decide whether or not they want to buy a property that may have a body on it, or may require them to let future descendants come onto their property in order to visit a grave.

Hope that helps.




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Cynthia Beal


Typical questions include 1) Where can I go for a natural burial? 2) What types of coffins, urns and other "packaging" are best for natural decomposition? 3)How do I plan for a natural funeral? 4) Do I have to be embalmed? and other questions in this vein. I'm available to answer general consumer questions about natural burial, home and natural funerals, and sustainable cemetery management. I answer questions about general cemetery matters, and offer suggestions about how to deal with remains, cremated or buried, interment rights, rules for cemeteries and plot owners, covering conventional as well as alternative options. I also answer questions from professionals, home funeral guides, and family members about how to manage a natural funeral either in the mortuary or at the home, how to best use natural coffins and urns, and how to convert cemeteries to natural, sustainable practices. I will answer questions from volunteer cemetery managers about how to offer natural burial in their rural, Pioneer, or non-profit cemeteries. If I don't know an answer I'll refer the questioner to someone who does. DISCLAIMER -- I am a certified pre-need sales person in the State of Oregon. I am not a licensed attorney, tax adviser, estate planner, funeral director, embalmer, accountant, public official, or any other professional that may be associated with issues the question brings up and any answers I provide should not be relied upon if such expertise is required by the asker (as per the All Expert suggestion). I provide my own personal opinions, based on my experience in business, Nature and its systems, and with human beings after 55 years of life on the planet.


Natural burial and sustainable cemetery management experience: I'm the founder of the Natural Burial Company and a member of the Cemetery Association of Oregon. Over 25 years in the natural products industry, and over a decade of running the Natural Burial Company, founded in 2004. I've done some consulting for existing and start-up natural cemetery operations. I'm currently an instructor at Oregon State University, facilitating the creation of a program in sustainable cemetery management and stimulating research in cemetery-oriented processes and functions, and I own two historic cemeteries the feature natural burial, based in Oregon.

ICCFA - International Cemetery, Crematory and Funeral Association Green Business Network Funeral Consumers Alliance

American Cemetery Magazine; Funeral Business Advisor; Real Goods Source Book; American Funeral Director Magazine, etc.

There is no degree in natural burials or funerals, and no accredited education provided for sustainable cemetery management. We're developing a program at Oregon State University but it hasn't fully launched yet.

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