The Vermont Statutes Online
The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
Subchapter 001 : General Requirements(Cite as: 18 V.S.A. § 5201)
§ 5201. Permits; removal of bodies; waiting period; investigation into circumstances of death
(a) A dead body shall not be buried, entombed, or removed, or otherwise disposed of without a burial-transit permit issued and signed by a municipal clerk, a county clerk, or a deputy clerk for the municipality or unorganized town or gore in which the dead body is located; a funeral director licensed in Vermont; an owner or designated manager of a licensed disposition facility in Vermont who is registered to perform removals; or a law enforcement officer.
(1) The clerk of the municipality shall provide for issuing burial-transit permits when the clerks’ offices are closed. The municipal clerk shall appoint one or more deputies for this purpose and record the name of the deputy or deputies appointed in the municipal records and notify the Commissioner of Health of the names and residences of the deputy or deputies appointed.
(2) The county clerk of a county in which an unorganized town or gore is located shall perform the same duties and be subject to the same penalties as a municipal clerk in respect to issuing burial-transit permits and registering deaths that occur in an unorganized town or gore within the county.
(3) A funeral director licensed in Vermont or an owner or designated manager of a licensed disposition facility in Vermont who is registered to perform removals may issue a burial-transit permit for any municipality or unorganized town or gore at any time, including during the normal business hours of a municipal clerk.
(4) After a burial-transit permit is issued, the person who issued the permit shall forward the death certificate or preliminary report and the record of the burial-transit permit to the clerk of the municipality, or to the clerk of the county, in the case of an unorganized town or gore, where death occurred on the first official working day thereafter.
(5) In cases of death by certain communicable diseases as defined by the Commissioner, the municipal or county clerk, a deputy registrar, a funeral director, a crematory owner or manager, or a law enforcement officer shall not issue a burial-transit permit except in accordance with instructions issued by the Commissioner.
(6) A body for which a burial-transit permit has been secured, except one for the body of any person whose death occurred as a result of a communicable disease, as defined by the Commissioner, may be taken through or into another municipality or unorganized town or gore for funeral services without additional permits from the local health officer or the Commissioner.
(b) An operator of a disposition facility shall not cremate or process by means of natural organic reduction or allow the cremation or processing by means of natural organic reduction of a dead human body until the passage of at least 24 hours following the death of the decedent, as indicated on the death certificate, unless, if the decedent died from a virulent, communicable disease, a Department of Health rule or order requires the cremation or natural organic reduction to occur prior to the end of that period. If the Attorney General or a State’s Attorney requests the delay of a cremation or natural organic reduction based upon a reasonable belief that the cause of death might have been due to other than accidental or natural causes, the cremation or natural organic reduction of a dead human body shall be delayed, based upon such request, a sufficient time to permit a civil or criminal investigation into the circumstances that caused or contributed to the death.
(c) The person in charge of the body shall not release for cremation or natural organic reduction the body of a person who died in Vermont until the person in charge has received a certificate from the chief, regional, or assistant medical examiner that the medical examiner has made personal inquiry into the cause and manner of death and is satisfied that no further examination or judicial inquiry concerning it is necessary. Upon request of a funeral director, the person in charge of the body, or the operator of a disposition facility, the Chief Medical Examiner shall issue a disposition certificate after the medical examiner has completed an autopsy. The certificate shall be retained by the disposition facility for a period of three years. The person requesting cremation or natural organic reduction shall pay the Department a fee of $25.00.
(d)(1) For all cremations or natural organic reductions requested for the body of a person who died outside Vermont, the operator of a disposition facility shall do the following before conducting the cremation or natural organic reduction:
(A) obtain a permit for transit, cremation, or natural organic reduction; and
(B) comply with the laws of the state in which the person died, including obtaining a copy of a medical examiner’s permit if one is required.
(2) No additional approval from the Vermont medical examiner’s office is required if compliance with the laws of the state in which the person died is achieved. (Amended 1959, No. 329, § 27, eff. March 1, 1961; 1963, No. 102, § 1, eff. May 22, 1963; 1969, No. 265, § 9; 1979, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 16; 1997, No. 40, § 22a; 1999, No. 45, § 3; 2007, No. 56, § 5; 1999, No. 76, § 15; 2009, No. 151 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. June 1, 2010; 2021, No. 169 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. January 1, 2023.)