Perhaps one of the essential Alabama Burial Laws that you need to be aware of is Alabama Code 34-13-111. It reads, “Every funeral service, memorial service, or committal service, or part thereof, that is conducted in Alabama, for hire or for profit, shall be in the actual charge and shall be under the direct supervision of a funeral director who is licensed by the board.”
Besides the obvious benefits of hiring a professional to help you with the burial or cremation of a loved one, a funeral director can also help you navigate local burial laws in Alabama and cemetery regulations.
Here are state-level cremation burial laws in Alabama.
Family Burial Plot Laws in Alabama
Generally, home burials are permitted in Alabama. However, you must check local zoning rules before establishing a family cemetery because, at minimum, you may need to undergo an inspection by the local health department.
While burial on private property is usually permitted in rural areas, one famous case features a Stevenson, Alabama man who was forced to relocate the remains of his wife, who he buried in his front yard without local approval.
In some cases, the land which contains a private family cemetery may change ownership over time. According to “Alabama’s Historic Cemeteries: A Basic Guide to Preservation,” the owners of private land “on which a cemetery, graves, or burial sites are located” are required to allow access to the graves by interested parties.
Alabama Laws About Burial
Embalming is not required in Alabama unless you plan to transfer the body across the state line for burial. Even though embalming isn’t required, consider following the advice of your funeral director – especially if you prefer to have an open-casket visitation.
Natural burial in Alabama is permitted, and at least one cemetery in the state specializes in this form of disposition. “Natural burial” typically refers to the burial of a biodegradable casket without a vault or grave liner.
Even though burial vaults and grave liners aren’t required at the state level, most cemeteries require purchasing and using such a container. This is because grave liners and burial vaults keep the ground from sinking at the burial site.
Cremation in Alabama
Cremation laws allow families to keep cremated remains of their loved ones. You are also entitled to scatter cremated remains on private property, as long as you have permission from the landowner.
Families are encouraged to seek permission from local officials to scatter ashes on local public land, such as a city park.
The Federal Clean Water Act requires that cremated remains be scattered at least three nautical miles from land, and you must notify the EPA regarding the scattering. You must also obtain a permit from the state to scatter remains in rivers and lakes.
Seek Expert Advice for Questions About Alabama Burial and Cremation Laws and Regulations
The staff members of Alabama Funeral Homes and Cremation Centers are experts in all matters of end-of-life services in Alabama. We know how important it is for families to follow their loved one’s final wishes, and we will work with you to make sure that those wishes meet state and local regulations.
Reach out to our staff any time – day or night. Call Alabama Funeral Home and Cremation at (256) 896-4502.