ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — When a loved one passes away, some people would rather keep the body of the deceased close by, on family property. But, is it legal to bury a body in my yard in Illinois?
The answer, according to Illinois Funeral Laws, is yes — depending on local zoning rules. There are no laws in the state to prohibit home burial.
Only California, Indiana, Washington, and the District of Columbia outlaw the practice.
Local zoning laws could determine the distance a burial plot needs to be from water, power lines, other buildings, and roads. Some of these requirements could make backyard burial impossible, depending on the space available.
By law, a licensed funeral director must oversee the burial, as a funeral director can issue a permit to move a body and also legally file a death certificate.
A death certificate must be filed within seven days of death. A “permit for disposition” must be obtained by a funeral director for the legal transport of a body.
Lee Webster, president of the National Home Funeral Alliance, recommends choosing a location far from streams or rivers, which could erode over time. Also, it may be best to choose a high point on the property for a burial site.