According to the Minnesota Department of Health Mortuary Science Section, you are required to be buried, entombed, or cremated within a reasonable amount of time following your death. There is a bit of an exception to this if you decide to donate your body.
If you do not want to be embalmed, Minnesotan Law requires that your body be buried or cremated within 72 hours, following the release of the body from the place of death or from the medical examiner/coroner.
This amount of time may be extended up to four days with the use of dry ice, or if your body is refrigerated extended up to six days.
Public viewing of the body may take place, but only if the body has been embalmed by a licensed mortician or refrigerated with dry ice. If using dry ice, the visitation must take place in a private residence.
Private viewing of the body may take place without embalming or refrigeration, but only for up to three days after the body is released.
You can buy a casket from a funeral home, casket store, buying club, or the internet. You can also construct a casket yourself.
A funeral home cannot charge a handling fee if you do not purchase a casket from them.
A disposition permit is required prior to a burial. You must be buried at a legally registered cemetery. If you wish to be buried on private property, you must establish a private cemetery. This usually requires that the land be surveyed, mapped or charted and registered with the county or the city with jurisdiction. Zoning officials must be consulted, as many counties do not permit this.
Some cemeteries may require an “outer burial container”, that surrounds the casket and prevents the grave from caving in. There are two types of outer burial containers. A “burial vault” is sealed with either metal or plastic, and a “grave box” is an unsealed outer burial container. Outer burial containers are not required by law, but some cemeteries may require it since it lowers cemetery maintenance costs. Also, if you decide that you want to be buried in a cemetery, besides paying for a grave space, you must also pay for the labor of opening and closing the grave. You can also buy a marker or monument.
You may also be entombed. Entombment is where your body is placed in a casket which is then placed somewhere above ground, often in a mausoleum. In this case, you do not need an outer burial container, or to purchase a monument or a marker.
You could also have a green burial, where steps are taken in order to lessen the impact of the burial on the environment.
Since cremation is the reduction of your body to essential elements through heat and flame. There is also biocremation, also known as resomation or alkaline hydrolysis, that also reduces your body to essential elements via chemicals.
Choosing a Funeral Home
According to the Minnesota Department of Health Mortuary Science Section, “People typically choose a funeral home or mortician based on past experience or location. It is recommended that survivors choose a professional with whom they feel comfortable in addition to visiting several funeral homes to discuss their wishes to determine the exact cost of those goods and services.”