Funerals/Fetal remains


I am assisting writing a new policy & procedure for disposition of fetal remains for our hospital. How can I find out about the laws regarding transporting across state lines, specifically, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, and Missouri, by the parents? We are located in Kentucky but see patients from our 4 State region. In Kentucky you can take your baby home for burial on a family farm. Are there laws similar to this in the other mentioned States? Any information you could give me would be appreciated. Or could you please tell me how to obtain this information?
 Thank you for your time and consideration,
Roxanne Ramsey-Ebert,RN

How wonderful of you. Check out the FEO newsletter where I did an article on post mortem policies for hospitals. Summer-Fall 2007. It turns out that our major hospital here in VT has one of the better ones I found.

All states recognize the properly acquired permits from other states so crossing state lines is not an issue. Initially all you need is a fetal death certificate if 20 weeks or 350 grams. Then a disposition permit from the local registrar. It's a provisional report of death with the top copy serving as the burial transit permit. With electronic death registration now active in most states you should walk thro' the process as it may have changed since my research.

While Illinois requires a funeral director to file the death certificate for deaths occurring in that state, that will already have been done in KY. Home burial is permitted there but should be reported to the Comptroller's office.

You can download any of the state chapters from "Final Rights:Reclaiming the American Way of Death" from the bookstore at for only $5 and would be helpful for anyone planning home burial.


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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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