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Funerals/Home Burial in the state of Iowa


Can you tell me what you know about private (home) burials in the State of Iowa.

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

To bypass the funeral industry entirely, you can download the Iowa chapter from the Bookstore at for only $5. That will walk you thro' how to file the death certificate, etc.


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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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