Not everybody wants to be buried in a cemetery. For some, the ideal final resting place is a familiar plot of family-owned land. If you've recently lost a loved one and want to honor their wish of an at-home burial, here's everything you need to know concerning the process.

Preparing The Body

If you wish to prepare your loved one for burial in the comfort of your own home, you can absolutely do so; it's legal in every state. The length of time you may keep the remains in your home varies by state. In any case, you'll need to take measures to create a climate-controlled environment during at-home care. Dry ice applied to various parts of the body and changed out every 24 hours is an effective means of body preservation.

Just because you're planning an at-home burial doesn't mean you have to handle every phase of the process. You can still phone your local funeral director after the passing of your loved one and request that they prepare the body for burial, even if you don't plan on hiring them to direct the funeral. The cost of minimal preparation (makeup, hair styling, and placing the body in a casket) usually runs between $200 and $400. If you wish to have the body embalmed, you can expect $400–$700 in additional charges. Visit a site like for more information on the funeral planning process.

Regulations Regarding At-Home Burials

While most states permit the burial of human remains on private property, your city may have its own rules governing the matter. In most cases, private burials are allowed as long as the burial site is in a rural or semi-rural location. 

Depending on your city regulations, the body will need to be buried a certain distance from the road, as well as a certain distance from any water supplies or underground power wires. In some states, a funeral director must be present during the burial at a private location. The grave will also need to be dug to a certain depth, which varies by city laws.

Transporting Your Loved One To A Private Burial Ground

If you need to transport your deceased loved one from their current location to their final private resting place you can make arrangements with a funeral home to transport the body using one of their hearses. Funeral homes usually charge a set fee for body delivery within a certain radius of their establishment and then charge by the mile for distances that exceed that radius.

In some states you can transport human remains yourself using your private vehicle, but be advised that you'll need a burial transport permit to do so. Contact your local funeral director or an attorney to find out how to obtain one of these permits.

Documenting The Death

In most states, the deceased must, at some point, be examined by a local medical examiner so that the death may be documented. If you hire a funeral director to prepare your loved one's body, they will contact the examiner and electronically file the death certificate.

If you don't hire a funeral director, you will be responsible for contacting your local medical examiner. The medical examiner will present you with a preliminary report of death, which you then must file with your local vital records office. Once the vital records office has reviewed and approved the document, they'll forward the death certificate to your local town clerk where you can then pick it up.

If your loved one's last wish was to be buried on private, family-owned land, there's a good chance you can accommodate that wish. Check with your local government to make sure at-home burials are permitted in your area, take the proper steps to preserve the body until burial and document the death, and phone a funeral service director if you need any help along the way.