Burial and Cremation Laws in South Carolina (2023)

Everything you need to know about funerals, cremations, and other post-mortem matters in South Carolina.

Every state has laws that affect what happens to a body after death. For example, most states have unique rules for embalming, burial or cremation, scattering of ashes, and obtaining a death certificate. Here are some answers to common questions about afterlife issues in South Carolina.

  • How do I get a death certificate in South Carolina?
  • Who can apply for a death certificate in South Carolina?
  • Who issues the death certificate in South Carolina?
  • Is embalming required in South Carolina?
  • Is a casket required for burial or cremation in South Carolina?
  • Do I have to buy a casket from the funeral home in South Carolina?
  • Where can bodies be buried in South Carolina?
  • Where can we store or scatter ashes after cremation in South Carolina?
  • Learn more.

How do I get a death certificate in South Carolina?

You may need multiple copies of the death certificate. You may want one copy for your personal records, or if you are responsible for handling the deceased person's affairs, you may need several official copies to do your job. You must submit a certified copy of the death certificate each time you claim property or benefits that belonged to the decedent, including proceeds from life insurance, Social Security benefits,to pay in bills of death, Veterans Benefits and many others.

In South Carolina, most death certificates are filed electronically within five days of death. (South Carolina-Kodex § 44-63-84). The easiest way to obtain copies of a death certificate is to ask the person or organization filing the death certificate to order it for you at the time of death. This is usually a funeral home, morgue, or crematorium. If you areexecutor, you must request at least ten certified copies.

If you need to order copies of a death certificate after the time of death has passed, visit the website of theSouth Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. You can download one from the DHEC websiteMail Order Formor find information on how to request death certificates in person, online or by phone.

To request certified copies of a death certificate, you must provide a photocopy of a recent government, school, or employer photo ID. The first certified copy of a South Carolina death certificate costs $12; additional copies are $3 each.

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Who can apply for a death certificate in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, certified copies of a death certificate can only be issued to the following people:

  • an immediate family member of the deceased
  • the legal representative of an immediate family member or
  • anyone who can show that they need the record to determine a personal or property right.

Others may receive a "death certificate" confirming that the death occurred, including the date and place of death. After age 50, death certificates become public, and anyone can obtain a full, uncertified copy of a death certificate.

For more details seeSouth Carolina-Kodex § 44-63-84and the website ofSouth Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Who issues the death certificate in South Carolina?

The funeral home collects personal information about the deceased from the next of kin and also obtains the medical certificate. The physician responsible for treating the patient for the disease or condition that caused death must complete and return the medical certificate of cause of death within 48 hours. If the cause of death is not due to natural causes or is referred to the Medical Examiner or Medical Examiner for examination.

If the cause of death cannot be determined within 48 hours of death, the physician, medical examiner, or medical examiner must determine that the case is pending and then file a supplemental report once the cause of death is determined. death. (South Carolina-Kodex § 44-63-84).

Is embalming required in South Carolina?

Embalming, the process of draining blood from the body and replacing it with fluids that retard decay, is rarely necessary; Cooling serves the same purpose.


South Carolina has no laws or regulations that require embalming.

Is a casket required for burial or cremation in South Carolina?

A casket is often the biggest expense after a death. The cost can range from $500 to $20,000 or even more.

Burial.No law requires a casket for burial. However, it must be reported at the cemetery; There may be rules that require a specific type of container.

Cremation.No law requires a casket for cremation. Rather, federal law requires that the funeral home or crematory notify you that you can use an alternate container and provide you with alternate containers. An alternative container can be made of untreated wood, hardboard, fiberboard, or cardboard.

Do I have to buy a casket from the funeral home in South Carolina?

no Federal law requires funeral homes to accept caskets that consumers have purchased from another source, such as B. an online retailer. You can also build your own coffin.

Where can bodies be buried in South Carolina?

Most bodies are buried in established cemeteries, but there are no state laws in South Carolina that prohibit burial on private property. However, local governments may have rules for private burials. Before having a home burial, check with your city or county government and local health department for rules you must follow.

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If you bury a body on private property, you should draw a map of the property showing the burial site and submit it with the deed so the location will be clear to others in the future.

Where can we store or scatter ashes after cremation in South Carolina?

South Carolina has no state laws governing where you can keep or scatter ashes. Ashes can be kept at home in a crypt, niche, tomb, or container. If you want to spread ashes, you have many options. Cremation renders the ashes harmless, so scattering them poses no risk to public health. Use common sense and do not throw ash where it would be obvious to others.

In a garbage yard.Many cemeteries have gardens to spread the ashes. If you are interested, ask at the cemetery for more information.

On private property.You may scatter ashes on your private property. If you wish to spread ashes on someone else's private property, it is advisable to obtain permission from the property owner.

On public land.You may want to check your city and county ordinances and zoning rules before spreading ashes on local public land, such as: B. in a city park. However, many people just do as they wish and use their best judgment to guide themselves.

Ashes scattered on federal land.Officially, permission must be sought before spreading ashes on federal land. However, as with local or state lands, if you carry out your scattering ceremony calmly and keep ashes off roads, roads, amenities, and waterways, you are unlikely to encounter resistance. Some national park websites have guidelines for spreading ash. For more information, start your search on the website ofNational Park Service.

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At sea.The federal Clean Water Act requires that cremated remains be dispersed at least three nautical miles from the coast. The EPA does not allow scattering on beaches or in oceanfront wading pools. Finally, you must notify the EPA of the dispersal of ash at sea within 30 days.

The Clean Water Law also regulates garbage in inland waters such as rivers or lakes. For burial in inland waterways, you may need to obtain a permit from the state agency that manages the waterway.

For more information, including contact information for the South Carolina EPA representative, visitBurial of human remains at seaon the EPA website.

By plane.There are no state laws on this subject, but federal law prohibits dropping anything that could cause harm to persons or property. The US government does not consider ash to be a hazardous material; All should be fine as long as you remove the ashes from your container before scattering.

Learn more

For more information on the Federal Funeral Rule, which protects consumers in all states, visit theFederal Trade Commission.

For more information on South Carolina burial laws, visitFuneral arrangements in South Carolina.

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For more information on funerals and other final arrangements, see theput your affairs in orderNolo.com section.

get it, by Melanie Cullen (Nolo) helps you collect and organize the essential details of your life for you and your family.


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