Is embalming required by law?
In the state of Pennsylvania, in nearly all situations, it is not required by law. However, embalming is required if the family has selected a funeral service with a public viewing, when the death was caused by a reportable contagious disease or when the remains will be transported from one state to another by common carrier.
Do I have to use a vault?
There is no Pennsylvania State law that requires the use of a burial vault. However, most cemeteries require the casket to be placed in a protective outer container suitable to keep the ground above it from sinking on it. Years ago graves were dug by hand. Today heavy earth moving equipment is used. That equipment may travel on top of many graves to reach the specific location. Vaults and concrete grave liners provide adequate strength to keep the earth from sinking. Earth burial is often selected by those who choose the cremation process. As is the case with a casket, the urn or urn vault is buried on the family gravesite.
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