Is It Legal in South Dakota to Bury a Dead Body in Your Backyard?
I know it's not something we want to think about, but it is something that can happen, you need to figure out what to do with a body.
Sure, if you're like most people you'd go through the regular channels of a funeral home then off to the local cemetery. But, what if you wanted to keep your loved ones closer? Like in the backyard closer?
Is it Legal to Buy a Body In Your Yard in Sioux Falls?
You know how Batman has the graves of his parents in the backyard of Wayne Manor? Oh! Spoiler Alert: Bruce Wayne is Batman. Or in some western movies, the main character goes out back to their parent's graves to talk to them. What if you wanted to do that?
Broadly speaking it isn't against the law in South Dakota to bury someone on your property. In fact, it's legal in most of the United States, except Indiana, California, and Washington.
But that's at the state level, what about in town?
Can You Bury a Body in Your Yard in Sioux Falls?
In the Sioux Falls city limits, and in most other towns in SD, it is against city ordnance to bury a body in your yard.
Chapter 92 of the Sioux Falls Code of Ordinances, section 92.002 says,
"No sexton, funeral director, or other person shall bury or cause to be buried the body of any deceased person except in the grounds as are now known and used as burial grounds, or such as may be by the law designated and authorized to be used as such." - § 92.002 BURIAL GROUNDS.
Basically, the only place one can bury a dead body in Sioux Falls is at a cemetery.
By the way, I'll save you the Google search. A 'sexton' "...is a person who looks after a church and churchyard, sometimes acting as bell-ringer and formerly as a gravedigger."
So, if you want to have your very own family burial grounds, you'll have to do it on land you own that is not in the city limits.
And it can't be a complete secret. South Dakota law requires that you keep a record of all the graves on your property and register their locations with your local office of the registrar of vital records.
If you wanted to go the full ol' west, Boot Hill-style of burial, you should know that in South Dakota there isn't a requirement to use a coffin. Yep, you can still buy them with their boots on.
One caveat, I am not a lawyer, a funeral director, or even a sexton, so remember this info is just a starting point to finding out the specific legalities for digging your own personal necropolis.
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