Home cemetery information

Home cemeteries in Maine are fairly straight forward. 


Although Maine has some requirements for backyard burials, the law is relatively lax. The property owner must first establish a family burial ground by writing up a description of the land designated for the cemetery and recording it with the town clerk or the county's register of deeds.


It's not necessary to hire a surveyor to determine the boundaries of the parcel. The description could be as simple as: "The 100-by-100-foot plot in the southwest corner of the property, marked by four stakes."


State law requires that the boundaries of the burial ground be marked, by a fence or otherwise.  It can be no bigger than a quarter-acre and must be set back at least 100 feet from a house or land used for recreation and at least 200 feet from a water well used for domestic purposes.  Construction or excavation cannot be done within 25 feet of a burial ground.


Anyone who establishes a family burial ground owns that land in perpetuity, once someone is buried there. Even if the land around it is sold, family members of those buried have an easement to walk from the nearest public road directly to the burial ground.


It is suggested that people who are interested in establishing a burial ground check with local officials to verify that there are no restrictions in zoning.