Talk about a million-dollar question.  Can you legally bury a body on your own property in Kentucky?  After a bit of digging (no pun intended) we found the answer-kind of.


So Elvis is buried on his own property right?!   Then why couldn't any old regular Joe decide they wanted to rest in peace in their own backyard?  Many people don't want to think about their loved ones being in a strange cemetery after they have passed on from this life and the idea of keeping them close seems to be the answer.

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This was a fun message to send to our County Clerk, Leslie McCarty.  It went something like, Hey is it legal to bury bodies on your own property in Owensboro or Daviess County?  I was left with silence for a bit, probably because she is a busy gal but I mean one has to wonder with a question like this.  She did some research and after she asked questions to the County Attorney and a few other officials in our town she found it is in fact legal to bury a body in your backyard or on your property if you follow procedure.  I think my favorite part of our phone conversation came when Leslie asked me if there was anything she needed to worry about LOL!

According to;

In most states, the only restrictions to home burial are found in local zoning laws that tell you how and where you can bury the body. For instance, they may outline how far from your neighbor’s property you can place a gravesite, how deep the grave must be, how close to a water source such as a stream or a lake you can bury the body, and various other restrictions. However, none of these laws should prevent you from carrying out your home burial plans in some form or another.

It also depends on the city in which you live.  Most cities are zoned meaning you would have to find out if zoning laws allow for it.  Most counties are not zoned which means there isn't a law for burial on your property.


In Owensboro where I'm from anything outside of the yellow half circle (by-pass) as we call it is considered county.

Home burial used to be quite common in earlier times.

There are three states that have outlawed it totally and that is Indiana, California, and Washington.  Bodies in these states must be buried in established cemeteries.


You do have to have a burial permit.  According to;

The funeral director, or person acting as such, shall procure a burial transit permit from the local registrar of vital statistics of the county where the death occurred, prior to removal or disposition of the body. The permit shall grant permission for the transportation and burial or other disposition of the body.


According to;

Most bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but burial on private property may be possible in Kentucky. Before conducting a home burial or establishing a family cemetery, check with the county or town clerk for any local zoning laws you must follow. If you bury a body on private land, you should draw a map of the property showing the burial ground and file it with the property deed so the location will be clear to others in the future.



There are a lot of things to consider when doing a home burial.  Here's a list of some of them.

  • Get a burial permit.
  • Finding the perfect spot.
  • Preparing the site.
  • The time it takes to dig a grave.
  • Make sure to prepare a map.

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