Is it illegal to bury someone without a vault in West Virginia?

A fellow caregiver asked...

In West Virginia, is it illegal to bury someone that is not in a vault?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

West Virginia laws do not require a vault or liner, but many cemeteries require some type of outer burial container to prevent the grave from sinking in the future, so you’ll need to check with individual cemeteries.

There is an increasing consumer movement toward “green burials,” which emphasize the natural decomposition of bodies, without chemical preservation techniques and minimal goods such as vaults and caskets. In meeting the demand, a growing number of “green cemeteries” are opening throughout the nation.

To find such a cemetery closest to you, first try the West Virginia Cemetery and Funeral Association .

If you meet with a less than consumer-friendly help there, contact the Green Burial Council for more information.