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Did You Know: NC Funeral Laws

Greenwood Cemetery
A Biographical Sketch of Citizens of New Bern Whose Remains Were Moved from Cedar Grove to Greenwood Cemetery

A lot of people are uncomfortable talking about death, so their loved ones are left blindsided when it happens.

Here are some misconceptions about what our rights are related to funeral services and products in North Carolina.

Before I was assigned to Naval Hospital Cherry Point as the Decedent Affairs Officer, I assumed that we only had two options when we died; embalming then burial or cremation. That’s not true.

According to the North Carolina Funeral Directors Association:

“NC does not require by law that a deceased human body be embalmed”.

Another surprise was, “NC Law does not require that caskets be placed in burial vaults or outer containers”. If you want to buy a casket online, you have that right too!

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, “The funeral provider cannot refuse to handle a casket or urn you bought online, at a local casket store, or somewhere else — or charge you a fee to do it. The funeral home cannot require you to be there when the casket or urn is delivered to them”.

Also, “NC law does not require a casket for cremation. However, it does require the use of an alternative container of some type”

If you’re thinking about a Natural or “Green Burial”, you can be laid to rest wrapped in your favorite cotton quilt or in a biodegradable container. I’m not sure why, but the closest Green Burial (Hybrid) Cemetery is in Raleigh.

We will be following up on the future of “Green Burials” in Eastern NC. Let us know if you’re interested by sending us an email. Please know that we will not disclose your private information.

Thank you!

Wendy Card