Can You Be Buried Without a Casket? The Main Aspects to Consider
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Can You Be Buried Without a Casket? The Main Aspects to Consider

The times when only traditional burials were available are long gone. Nowadays, there are more options to choose from in terms of funeral services, and being buried without a casket or a coffin is one of them.

Can we even talk about “casketless burials”?

Should you only look for a straight answer, "yes" is the right answer. Even if it's going to take some time and effort, one can be buried without a casket. The most significant factor to consider, though, is that if a burial without a container is legal or not in the state and location.

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There are still several places where a burial without a traditional casket isn’t possible. However, there are alternatives. Something like “suitable container” can be used, so it’s up for the local enforcement agency or the cemetery to decide about the burial arrangements.

When you’re interested in burying a body without a casket, you must check it with the cemetery, as rules and regulations differ from one to another. Typically, funeral services and cemeteries will not let you proceed with a funeral without a casket. It's mostly because they lose a lot of money if so.

Truth be told, many people are thinking about a burial without a casket for financial reasons. Let's not forget that burial on a plot of land that isn't registered as a cemetery can be done. However, you always need to check it with the local regulations.

Should you live in a region with less strict regulations, a burial without a casket is definitely cheaper.

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Why would anyone go with a burial without a casket?

Not everyone knows which type of burial to choose. Even if the financial and environmental aspects are fundamental, the religious factor also plays a role when deciding on the kind of burial. Here's a detailed look:

Financial aspect

It matters a lot if you’re hiring a funeral home or not. It goes without saying that doing it on your own will be cheaper. Should you go with a funeral home, the most affordable choice is the direct burial.

When the body is buried right away, there is no visitation period and no embalming. When a ceremony and mourning time are also desired, a casket would be necessary, which obviously increases the spending.

Don't rule out the home funerals. They may include a memorial service or bury the body on a particular plot of land. However, all the details must be taken care of so that the process goes smoothly and stress-free.

Environmental aspect

The majority of people choosing to have a burial without a casket do it for ecological reasons. Most of the caskets aren't biodegradable and are costly to make. The chemicals used for embalming are risky for the environment too. It makes perfect sense for the environmental-aware customers to choose a burial without a casket.


Some religions also sustain burial without a casket. Judaism and Islam are the most important to name, but other religions see casketless funerals as a good thing. 

Is it the same as a green burial?

There are many ways to define a green burial. One refers to being buried without a casket and no embalming. Many companies only provide this kind of service.

No matter the final choice, customers need to do diligence about green burials or burials without a casket.

Even if green burials refer to a casketeless funeral, they don't necessarily mean only that. Burial without any embalming fluids and cremation can also be defined as green burials.

What’s the best way to plan a burial without a casket?

Planning a funeral service for a family member or a friend is never easy, and people are often challenged to make a decision when they're highly emotional.

What did the deceased want?

The first thing, to begin with, is to see if the deceased has left any documents about heir burial. It's easier when there's a paper stating that the choice is a burial without a casket. Sometimes, people go detailed instructions about the funeral service. Don't hesitate to ask a lawyer to help you with the process.

You don't always need to hire a funeral home. It's evident that they can make all the preparations instead of you, but you need the budget for hiring them.

What is the law saying?

Should you decide to make the funeral arrangements on your own, you have to check the rules on burial without a casket. Begin with the most significant regulatory forms and keep going from there.

The federal regulation is the first to check, but they don’t state many things on the funerals. Therefore, you have to take a look at the Individual States. Go to the state, county, city, and municipality to find out about the rules and regulations.

Funeral home of a DIY funeral?

When you’re choosing a funeral home, it’s wise to do your bits and bobs about it. After all, there are many options, and the fees may differ.

A reputed funeral home knows everything about laws and regulations in your region, sparing you the time and effort about the legal aspect of burial without a casket. 

Even if you don’t have the time to check all the market, it’s best to set to at least three funeral homes and see which one suits your needs and budget the best way.

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What kind of services should you expect in a casketless burial?

One choosing a burial without a coffin will wonder about the funeral ceremony. Typically, a casket is carried into the service, on the shoulders of pallbearers. They will place the casket so that everyone participating can see it.

However, it's complicated when a cheap (and fragile) container is used instead of a casket. It's the same when a shroud is utilized for the service.

Some choose to rent a casket for display so that the viewing is effortless. The body can be moved to the container after the service or after the mourners have left the graveside.

Don’t forget that not everyone accepts the idea of the casketless burial, so people also need to explain the reasons for which the deceased has opted. It’s better that you talk to the mourners before the funeral service so that they can accept the casketless burial easier.

One last thought

Even if not using a casket can cut down the spending for the funeral, it still doesn’t mean that you may not overspend. When you don’t know all the financial and legal aspects related to such a funeral service, it can all lead to spending even higher than anticipated. Make sure you stay informed.

  Blog Author: Tim