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Can You Be Buried With Your Pet?
- January 12th, 2015
Pets are often regarded as a part of the family and increasingly their needs are accounted for in planning decisions. There is health insurance for pets, and most states allow for “pet trusts” to ensure that a cherished animal will be cared for after the owner’s demise. But can you and your pet spend eternity with each other as well? The answer depends on what state you are in and on the meaning of “with.”
Most states either have laws specifically prohibiting pets and humans to be buried together or are silent on the issue. But at least four states have laws allowing some form of combined burial, and the list will undoubtedly grow as demand increases.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Judith Mtinick is well known for acting as a guardian, conservator, trustee or agent on behalf of clients or by court appointment. This experience gives her a wide perspective and extensive practical knowledge that she uses when advising clients in drafting their planning documents. Her experience, as a court appointed...
Ron M. Landsman, P.A.
Ron M. Landsman has been practicing elder law since 1983, before it was known as elder law, originally with Landsman and Laster, Washington, D.C., then Landsman, Eakes and Laster, also in Arlington, VA, and since 1990 in his own practice in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has been among the most active members of the...
Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Loretta Morris Williams is a certified elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Ms. Williams was admitted to the Council of Advanced Practitioners, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) in 2012. She serves as President of the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Ms. Willia...
New York and New Jersey allow cremated human remains to be buried with a pet, but only in a pet cemetery. New York’s pet cemeteries cannot charge a fee for the service and are barred from advertising that they offer it.
In a law that has been on the books since about 2006, Pennsylvania allows cemeteries to have three sections – one for humans, one for pets and an area for both. The fourth state, Virginia, passed a law in 2014 permitting cemeteries to have clearly marked sections where pets and humans may be buried alongside one another. However, the pet must have been a companion animal under Virginia law and must have its own casket.
These laws are responding to growing interest. About 62 percent of U.S. households own pets, and although the laws of most states prohibit burying pets in human cemeteries, funeral directors exercise discretion when it comes to placing personal objects – such as the cremated remains of a much-loved pet -- in people's coffins.
"They will tell you 'not a day goes by when I don't put an urn of an animal into the casket of a human being secretly for a family,' " Coleen Ellis, co-chair of the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance (PLPA), told Philly.com. "So, while it's been going on for a very long time, the trend is becoming more recognized where people are getting permission to do it."
For more on pet-human burials, click here.
For more on providing for your pet with a trust, click here.
For more on estate planning and pets, click here.
Last Modified: 01/12/2015