Can You Legally Bury a Body on Your Property in Indiana?
We will all die at some point. You will die. I will die. Everyone we know will die. I know that sounds crass, and you probably don't like thinking about it, but you know it's true. Time is undefeated in the game of life. It wins every time. If time were a sports team, its all-time (no pun intended) record would be something like three trillion and zero. Hopefully, you're still a long way away from that day coming, but when it does, you may like the idea of making your final resting place the place you call home. But, can you legally do that if you live in Indiana?
What Indiana Law Says About Burying a Body on Personal Property
Let's say you or a loved one really loves the property you live on. Maybe you're out in a rural area and there's a particular spot you like. It could be a certain hill or a tree where you like to sit and watch the sunset. It could be a spot where wildflowers grow. Whatever it is, you like it so much you want to spend all of eternity in that spot. Well, as if I haven't been enough of a downer already with all this talk about dying, I'm afraid I have to
kill spoil your dying wish too.
According to Rome Monument, Indiana is one of only three states that does NOT allow the burial of bodies on private or personal property. California and Washington are the other two.
Here's how Indiana Code 23-14-54-1 spells it out specifically:
Sec. 1. Subject to the rights of transportation and removal of dead
human bodies or other disposition of dead human bodies, as provided by
law, the remains of all individuals who die in Indiana or are shipped into
Indiana shall be deposited:
(1) in the earth in an established cemetery;
(2) in a mausoleum;
(3) in a garden crypt; or
(4) in a columbarium;
within a reasonable time after death, except as ordered by the state
department of health.
With that said, there are a couple of ways to get around the law.
Establish a Family Cemetery
If your family already has an established plot of land that is registered with the state to be used as a cemetery, like my dad's side of the family does, you can always be buried there, of course. But if you want to establish a piece of your own property, the online legal encyclopedia, NOLO suggests checking with your city or county clerk to find out what your local ordinances or zoning laws say.
You could skip the casket and burial altogether and choose to be cremated instead. Then, a friend or family member can scatter you anywhere on your property you'd like. However, there are some steps that must be taken first according to state code, including going through a licensed funeral director to have the cremation done and filing the date, a description of the property, and how the ashes were scattered with your county recorder.
Now, that we've cleared that up, I'm going to clear my browsing history. Searching for whether or not burying a body on personal property is legal may raise some suspicions.
[Sources: IN.gov / Rome Monuments / NOLO]