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Family Cemeteries On Your Property – What You Need To Know

I want to bury my family member on my property. Is this legal? 

In most cases, yes!

Here’s what you need to know before planning internment;

The idea to bury beloved family members on your property may seem like a bizarre notion to some, however, the ability to have a family burial plot right in your backyard is an appealing solution for many. 

Before the 1900s, families commonly buried their loved ones on privately owned land, especially in rural areas. Today, it’s far more common than you might think; in fact, the only states where home burial is not permitted are Indiana, California, and Washington.

One big draw to have a burial plot on your property is the cost-saving benefits it provides. According to Bankrate.com, the average cost for a funeral is between $7,000-$12,000, not to mention the annual fees for perpetual care (groundskeeping and maintenance) can add up over time. This cost-saving measure may be the most obvious reason people choose to make a family cemetery in their backyard. 

Privacy and convenience are two other motivators for a family plot. Having the ability to walk right out your back door to pay your respects can be a priceless experience. Also, avoiding crowded cemeteries gives you the opportunity to grieve in peace without the distractions of others. 

Do I need permission?

For a family cemetery, no license is needed from the State Of Maine. Your local town or city may require a permit or a license. 

Although it’s your private property, the state of Maine has specific guidelines to follow when it comes to interring family members on your land. Planning appropriately is key. Most importantly, you first need to have your land surveyed to ensure your new family plot is located on your actual property and abides by the setback laws! 

Maine requirements

The state of Maine has specific guidelines to follow when a private property family plot is established. Each state may have different requirements depending on town ordinances; here are a few rules to follow for the state of Maine;

  • Your family plot cannot exceed ¼ acre in size.
  • Must be enclosed by a fence or some form of boundary marker.  
  • Create an easement to a public way.
  • You must record your family cemetery with the county register of deeds and the town clerk. 

For a full list of the state of Maine family cemetery guidelines, go to the Maine Cemetery and Crematorium Regulations of the Maine Division of Environmental Health website. 

Being prepared

When the planning phase begins, contact Herrick & Salsbury, Inc. for property surveying and guidance with the permit process. We will ensure your family plot complies with city/town ordinances and is located in the most optimal location. 

For more information, check out our video!