Is it mandatory to have a vault or crate for a burial?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 28, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Is it mandatory to have a vault or crate for a burial? I live in Michigan, and they charge $600 or more for a vault.

Expert Answers

Rebekah Peoples, CFSP, CPC, Is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is passionate about serving others and believes that giving clients honest, accurate information empowers them to create tributes and services that are meaningful and appropriate. Her tips about funerals and life can be found at

You ask a good question about something that probably many people have wondered. Although not a state law, the state allows cemeteries to create their own ordinances and burial requirements regarding a vault or burial container for the casket. Almost all cemeteries in Michigan require one, with the exceptions usually being some Jewish cemeteries and also some "green" cemeteries that use what they call "natural burial."

You're right about the price range starting around the $600 price range. If you're not Jewish or are not interested in a green cemetery burial, but price is an issue, talk to your funeral director. There are many other areas of service in which a funeral home can help you save money. A reputable funeral director will listen to your wishes and concerns and offer helpful alternatives. Unless you have a specific funeral director you want to use, it would be helpful to call more than one.

Community Answers

Baltinsky1 answered...

it probably ly depends on the yard u are burried in. there are still people who do not embalm, do not leave loved one's body w/a morgue. here is a web site u might enjoy--Why do it? One home funeral participant reflected. . .

"I feel so grateful that I was able to walk every step of this journey with my dear friend. Life-long and intimate bonds have been formed as a result of this home funeral experience. Our time together was a beneficial and meaningful celebration of life."

Why a Home or Family-Directed Funeral

A funeral is a ceremony commemorating the life and death passage of an individual. It is a necessary ritual acknowledging a life-changing event for surviving family and friends. A home or family-directed funeral is individually designed to honor each unique person and can be held in a gentle and intimate home environment. Following the death, a family member, an agent holding a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC), or designated agent can act in lieu of a funeral director. They orchestrate all of the arrangements and carry out all of the decisions. We encourage individuals to share their last wishes with others and plan for their own funeral rites. Info Donna stencils her own pine box, reflecting her love of nature. She created this beautiful legacy following the diagnosis of a brain tumor giving her 6-12 weeks to live. my 26 yr old daughter died and i found funerals/undertakers barbaric i wish i'd had a chance to gently wash and dress her, sit woth her before burrial--and i wish it had been a little country church graveyard where i could plant things on her grave--nancy baltinsky