Although Morbid - These are Things We Might Want to Know (At some point) OR Maybe I've been Watching too much "Yellowstone"  

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May I Bury a Body on Private Land in Montana?  Like, At My House?

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 no state laws in Montana prohibiting home burial, but local governments may have rules governing private burials. Before burying a body on private land or establishing a family cemetery, you should check with the county or town clerk for any zoning laws you must follow.
Private Land Burial Laws Minimal in MontanaMissoulian
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Do You Need a Funeral Director in Montana?

In all states, it is legal to have your loved one's body at home after they die. Montana does not require you to involve a licensed funeral director in making or carrying out final arrangements. (See, for example, Montana Code § 50-15-403 (2019), which requires "the person in charge of disposition of the dead body" to file the death certificate.)

Photo taken in Bangkok, Thailand
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Photo taken in Bangkok, Thailand

Must the Body Be Embalmed?

Embalming is almost never required. In Montana, a body must be embalmed or refrigerated only if:

  • The body is transported in a vehicle like an airplane or train AND or EITHER
    • (1) the body will be enroute for more than 8 hours, or
    • (2) the final destination will take longer than 36 hours after the death
    • The body will be transported in a private vehicle and cannot reach its destination within 48 hours after the death

And just in case you need a little more information;  Refrigeration or dry ice can usually preserve a body for a short time. There are resources available to help you learn to prepare a body at home for burial or cremation. The National Home Funeral Alliance is a good place to start.

*If the person died of a contagious disease, you should consult a doctor.

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Getting a Permit to Transport the Body

(Montana Code § 50-15-405)

You'll need a "dead body removal authorization" form from a Doctor, a Coroner, a Physician's Designee or an Advanced Practical Nurse within 24 hours.

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Who Has the Right to Make Funeral Arrangements in Montana?

Montana law determines who has the right to make final decisions about a person's body and funeral services.

This right and responsibility goes to the following people, in order:

  • a person you name in your disposition directions before your death
  • your surviving spouse
  • your adult child, or a majority of your children if you have more than one
  • your parents
  • your adult sibling, or a majority of your siblings if you have more than one
  • your grandparent, or a majority of your surviving grandparents
  • your guardian
  • the personal representative of your estate
  • your next of kin
  • a public official, if the disposition of your body is the responsibility of the state, or
  • Montana Code § 37-19-904*It's nice that this one was included, right?
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