Funeral Planning – Burials
For those who do not wish to be cremated, several burial options are available that should be thoughtfully considered.
There is the traditional funeral with burial in which the body is embalmed, viewed and then buried in a cemetery. As stated in previous blogs, embalming is not required unless the body will not be buried within 48 hours.
There is no Michigan law that requires a casket. Cemeteries do require a rigid burial container. You are under no legal requirement to purchase that from the funeral home.
Most cemeteries require a vault. This is required to maintain the level surface of the cemetery. Without vaults, the land over the casket would subside as the casket deteriorates.
Many individuals opt for embalming, a metal sealed casket and a vault as they believe that their loved one’s body will be protected and remain preserved. This is not the case. While the sealing of a casket will prevent oxygen from accelerating decomposition, there is anaerobic bacteria in the body that thrives when there is a lack of oxygen. While sealing the casket and placing it into a vault may impede the elements, eventually, water will invade the vault and the casket. These measures will not provide perpetual protection.
The measures that you select and the cost of employing these measures are an individual matter.
You may chose, if you live on acreage outside of the city, to bury a loved one on your own land. You must first obtain zoning approval, a survey of the land to be used, and a permit from the health department. It will be important to locate the burial area away from ground water. This was a practice that was very common a hundred years ago. Today, it is less common. This is not an option on a platted city lot and even with acreage, there will be a limitation as to the proximity of a neighbor’s property.
You must be mindful if this is the option that you select, that it may make your land difficult to sell in the future if it has a family burial ground upon it.