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Funerals/Burial on private land


I own land in rural Valencia County, New Mexico, about 6 miles from the city of Belen.  Is it legal for me to be buried on my land when I die?  If so, what regulations do I need to comply with?

Prior to burial, you should draw a map of the
land showing where the family cemetery will
be and have it recorded with the county clerk’s
office. Burial must be 50 yards from a stream
or other body of water and five feet from a
property line.; minimum depth is six feet.

To bypass the funeral industry entirely, download the NM chapter from the Bookstore at for only $5. That will walk you thro' filing the death certificate and getting the burial transit permit. If you are likely to die in CA, download that chapter, too.


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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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