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Funerals/lowest-cost exhumation


I want to exhume my mother's body, and have learned that I need a permit in order to do it.  Once I have the permit, is it possible for me to dig up the body myself, or must this be done through a funeral home?  If a funeral home (funeral director) is not required, how would I go about finding a grave digger to exhume the body?

I would like to keep costs from spiraling out of control.  I'm assuming that if I hire a grave digger, it would be a lot cheaper than contacting a funeral home.  Funeral homes are easy to find, but it seems a lot more difficult to find a grave digger.  How do I find one?

The body won't be relocated.  It will be dug up, for forensics purposes, and then reburied in the same grave.  Also, the body is in Louisville, Kentucky, in case laws vary, due to location.

Thanks for your time.

Talk to the cemetery where your mother is buried. They may be willing to do the disinterment and reinterment. The disinterment permit comes from the state registrar, but that may not be required if the body will be reburied in the same grave. The cemetery will know.


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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

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Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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