Death Laws in Indiana

Do you know how to die here?

Do you know how you want to die? Or maybe a better question is how to you want people to care for you afterward?

Most people in the US state they want to die at home. However, staggeringly, Americans are dying inside of a hospital or a facility. There is much discrepancy in what we want and what we have access to here in the Midwest.

Dying at home requires a team of people like hospice, palliative care, and other caretakers that are not in the business of curative treatment, but in the ministry of person centered death transition support.

Here are some things you may not know about living and dying in Indiana:

  • You can keep a body at home for a “reasonable” amount of time for things like ceremonial cleansing, grief & processing, and even visitation from extended family | friends. There are types of ice baths and cooling pads that are designed to assist in slowing the after-death decomposition in order for people to keep bodies in the home longer
  • You have to have a special license in order to transport a dead body or even ashes- most places that you will work with can refer you to the right transport company for you depending on the way you want your body handled
  • You can in fact bury a beloved on your property- for the right price & if you have established a “family cemetery” with your county clerk’s office
  • You do NOT have to buy a casket or any service from a funeral home! In fact, you can make, create, decorate, and not use a casket at all. Some are made from sticks, cardboard, or other compostable materials. In the event that you want to be buried, the options are simply endless for what your vessel can be
  • You can scatter ashes nearly anywhere- and yes, there is an Indiana disposition form that you are encouraged to fill out 10 days after scattering ashes. Other ideas people have had for ashes are to use them in paint, store them in jewelry, and forge them in metals
  • Green Burials are a thing and they are HERE! Indianapolis and Bloomington Indiana have green burial woods that are intended to be used for the transition of a body back to the earth fully, quickly, and with little ecological implications
  • Portions or all of your body can be donated to science in Indiana and this requires a Bequeathal Form Request completed and sent to IU School of Medicine by anyone over 18 interested in donation

Dying has been co-opted by the medical industrial complex to make profit on our grief. There are ways to care for and have your body tended to that feel most aligned with your religion, culture, values, and predetermined goals. Planning and preparation for this ultimate experience assists those supporting and surviving you with the empowerment and confidence of what you want and how you want to be cared for.


Artist – Aaron Sprong

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