North Carolina regulates the practice of funeral service through its nine-member regulatory board called the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service.
Its definition of funeral service, however, is broader than the Federal Trade Commission’s term “funeral provider” as it also includes entities that only provide funeral-related goods or services.
According to the North Carolina Board of Funeral Service fact sheet updated in October 2013, there are about 758 funeral homes and 112 crematories in North Carolina. All the crematories are supposed to be licensed and they are overseen by the North Carolina Crematory Authority.
Laws Concerning Burial in North Carolina
Starting with burial, like most other states, North Carolina Law also does not require embalming. Embalming refers to the process of preserving the human remains with the use of chemicals to temporarily delay decomposition and make it suitable for public display.
Moreover, it does not require outer burial containers like vaults, though most cemeteries require them. Also, the state does not prohibit burying your own dead on a property that you own, as long as the topmost portion of the remains or the burial container is 18 inches or more below the ground.
The state also allows families to serve as their own funeral directors. While doing so, make sure to notify your county health department of the death within 24 hours. Plus, arrange for the death certificate to be filed with the county registrar within five days.
If you are not burying the deceased in an established graveyard, church graveyard, cemetery or memorial garden, then you will also need to check with your local health department to ensure that the burial location of your choice poses no health risks like possible contamination of a source of water.
In addition, if you are considering home burial then the local governments may have certain rules regarding this, so before going for a home burial it is suggested to check with your local town or county clerk.
Laws Concerning Cremation in North Carolina
Coming to laws regarding cremation, like most other states, North Carolina also requires an alternative container for cremation. However, you do not need to purchase a casket for cremation. Also remember that a cremation cannot take place until 24 hours after death.
Cremation basically refers to the process of incinerating the body of the deceased at high temperature in order to reduce it to cremated remains. In case you want to learn more about this procedure and its details then you can get extensive information at Cremation Resource.
Regarding the transportation of body, you can transport it to the crematory yourself or arrange for the transportation by the crematory or funeral home.
However, if the body is to be transported out of the state then you will need a permit signed by the medical examiner.
As for the scattering or storing of the cremated remains, there are certain restrictions in North Carolina.
The state allows scattering of ashes in scattering gardens, uninhabitated public lands, federal land (request permission beforehand), and one’s own private property (if you wish to scatter the ashes on someone else’s property then need to get the permission from the landowner. You can also scatter the ashes at sea (at least three nautical miles from land) or by air after removing the ashes from the container.
Until the ashes have been scattered, they can be kept in a plastic or cardboard container; purchasing an urn is not called for by the law. Those who do not wish to scatter the ashes may store them in a columbarium niche, crypt, grave, or even at home.
You can get all the information regarding the rules and laws governing funeral service in North Carolina on this page.