Home burials are an option that families don’t always consider when choosing a final resting place for deceased loved ones.
State laws vary, but the majority allows home burials to take place as long as you follow certain rules and regulations.
Understanding the legal aspects of home burials helps you and your family manage the process while minimizing legal issues you can encounter along the way.
Home Burials Under Georgia State Laws
Georgia state laws allow families to transport the bodies of deceased loved ones from nursing homes, medical care facilities, or other locations to the home.
Cemetery burials are the most common way to place a person’s body to rest. But burying a loved one on private property can be a meaningful experience for surviving family members.
Burying a loved one at home makes it easier for family members to visit the gravesite more often.
Cemeteries may place limits on the type of burial or memorial markers used, making home burials more convenient and less restrictive.
Your local county may have requirements regarding home burials, such as the types of caskets and vaults that may be used in the process.
Processes related to the care of the body, such as bathing and dressing, can also be carried out at home under Georgia law.
Planning a Home Burial
Burying a deceased family member on private property will require a completed death certificate, which must be filed with the county clerk or registrar within 72 hours after the time of death.
If a loved one has died from a contagious disease, you may need to report the presence of contagious diseases to a medical examiner or physician.
Burials carried out within 24 hours after the time of death won’t require embalming or other preservation methods. But after 24 hours, or in cases that involve public viewing, preservation methods may be required by law.
Also, transporting the body will require families to obtain a “burial-transit” or “disposition” permit.
A home burial allows families to keep a deceased loved one close by, and it can be much less costly when compared to traditional cemetery burials.
The burial location must be carefully selected. Zoning laws may dictate how close a burial site can be to neighboring properties, water sources, and other landmarks.
Other Legal Considerations
When carrying out a home burial in Georgia, there are no laws requiring family members to hire funeral directors. But a funeral director may offer specialized knowledge of home burials as well as local laws.
The process of creating a grave and other aspects of home burials can be difficult for grief-stricken family members to manage.
Deciding on the ideal burial site may also be a challenge. Without much space, you may be choosing on a spot that infringes on laws that protect your neighbor’s property.
When buying a loved one on personal property, you need to make changes to the property’s deed to indicate the presence of the burial. If the property is eventually sold, future owners must be informed of the burial site.
Despite the obstacles family members can face, planning a home burial can be a decision that provides lasting comfort to a loved one’s survivors.
A family law attorney who understands local laws can protect you and your family as you lay a loved one to rest at home.