Kentucky's Cremation Laws*


 

 

Under Kentucky law, all cremations must be preformed individually.  In some states, a crematory is allowed to cremate members of the same family at the same time, but only with permission from the next-of-kin.  After death, we must wait to cremate the individual, until all authorizations have been signed by both the coroner and the required family member(s).  Before cremation, certain things must be done to prepare the individual.  First, if there is any jewelry, a watch or any personal item on or with the individual, these must be removed if the family wishes to keep them.  If they are not removed, most likely they will be totally destroyed during the cremation process.  Items such as pacemakers must also be removed.  The extreme heat used in cremation will cause these medical devices to explode and damage the equipment or even harm staff members.  Once all authorizations are signed and the individual prepared, the cremation may begin.  During a cremation, the casket or alternative container is placed in the cremation chamber, where the temperature is raised to approximately 1400 to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.  After about 2 to 3 1/2 hours, all organic matter is consumed by heat or evaporation.  The remaining bone fragments are known as cremated remains.  The cremated remains are then carefully removed from the cremation chamber.  If there is any metal left over from jewelry or other sources, it is removed with a magnet and disposed of.  The cremated remains are then processed into fine particles and are placed in a temporary container provided by the crematory or in an urn provided by the funeral home or family.  The entire process will take approximately 5 to 10 hours from the time the individual is placed in the cremation chamber until the cremated remains are processed and ready for delivery to the funeral home.  

 


                                      


 

 The information contained on this page has been taken directly from the state of Kentucky's website.  You can reference this material there by going to www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/367-00/CHAPTER.HTM and scrolling down to .97501 of chapter 367.  The headings of each section are listed below to speed your search for information. Simply click on the topic of interest to be directed to that particular section.  


Closed container for cremated remains -- Temporary container

 

Cremation authorization form required -- Disposal or delivery of cremated remains

 

Crematory authority license -- Fees -- Operations procedures -- Records -- Annual report

 

Crematory licensure and regulation fund

 

Definitions for KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537

 

Denial, suspension, or revocation of license -- Hearing -- Appeal -- Availability of Consumer Protection Act remedies -- 
             Authority of Attorney General under other laws and to promulgate administrative regulations

 

Disposition of cremated remains.

 

Facsimile-transmitted cremation authorization form

 

Holding restrictions

 

Identification requirements

 

Preneed cremation authorization form -- Procedure in event of conflict

 

Processing procedures and restrictions

 


 

 

367.97501 Definitions for KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537.

As used in KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537, unless the context requires otherwise:

(1) "Authorizing agent" means the person legally entitled to order the cremation of the human remains. The right to control the disposition of the remains of a deceased person, unless other directions have been given by the decedent, vests in, and the duty of disposition devolves upon the following in the order named:

  (a) The decedent through a preneed cremation authorization;

  (b) The surviving spouse of the decedent;

  (c) The surviving adult children of the decedent;

  (d) The surviving parents of the decedent;

  (e) The surviving adult grandchildren of the decedent;

  (f) The surviving adult siblings of the decedent;

  (g) A next closest adult relative of the decedent; or

  (h) In the absence of any of the above, by order of District Court.

(2) "Casket" means a rigid container which is designed for the encasement of human remains constructed of wood, metal, or other material.

(3) "Closed container" means a sealed container or urn in which cremated remains are placed and enclosed in a manner that prevents leakage or spillage of cremated remains or the entrance of foreign material.

(4) "Cremated remains" means the fragments remaining after the cremation process has been completed.

(5) "Cremation" means the heating process that reduces human remains to bone fragments through combustion and evaporation.

(6) "Cremation authorization form" means a form promulgated by administrative regulation of the Attorney General by which the next class of authorizing agent

from the decedent in the order set forth in subsection (1) of this section expresses consent to the decedent's cremation. The form shall include information concerning the parties' rights and responsibilities.

(7) "Cremation chamber" means an enclosed space designed and manufactured for the purpose of cremating human remains.

(8) "Cremation container" means a container in which human remains may be delivered to a crematory for cremation that is:

  (a) Rigid enough to support the weight of the corpse, closed, and leakproof;

  (b) Composed of a combustible material or other material approved by the crematory authority; and

  (c) A proper and dignified covering for the human remains.

(9) "Crematory authority" means the legal entity which is licensed by the Attorney General to operate a crematory and conduct cremations. Crematory authority does not include state university health science centers.

(10) "Crematory" means a fixed building or structure that contains one (1) or more cremation chambers for the reduction of bodies of deceased persons to cremated remains. "Crematory" includes crematorium.

(11) "Crematory operator" means the person in charge of a licensed crematory authority.

(12) "Holding facility" means an area designated for the retention of human remains prior to cremation.

(13) "Human remains" means the body of a deceased person or part of a body or limb that has been removed from a living person, in any state of decomposition, prior to cremation.

(14) "Pathological waste" means human tissues, organs, and blood or body fluids, in liquid or semiliquid form that are removed from a person for medical purposes. "Pathological waste" does not include amputations.

(15) "Preneed cremation authorization form" means a properly witnessed form promulgated by administrative regulation of the Attorney General by which a decedent, prior to his death, has authorized his cremation. The form shall include information concerning the parties' rights and responsibilities. 

(16) "Processed remains" means the end result of pulverization, by which the residual from the cremation process is reduced and cleaned leaving only fragments reduced to unidentified dimensions.

(17) "Retort operator" means a person operating a cremation chamber.

(18) "Scattering area or garden" means an area which may be designated by a cemetery and located on a dedicated cemetery property where cremated remains which have been removed from their container can be mixed with or placed on top of the soil or ground cover.

(19) "Temporary container" means a receptacle for cremated remains, usually made of plastic, cardboard, ceramics, plastic film, wood, or metal, designed to prevent the leakage of processed remains or the entrance of foreign materials which will hold the cremated remains until an urn or other permanent container is acquired.

Effective: July 15, 1994
History: Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 1, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97504 Crematory authority license -- Fees -- Operations procedures -- Records -- Annual report.

(1) Every crematory operator and every person, firm, partnership, association, and corporation desiring to operate a crematory authority shall obtain a crematory authority license from the Attorney General at least thirty (30) days prior to opening for the purpose of conducting cremations. Every crematory operator and every person, firm, partnership, association, and corporation in existence and unlicensed as of July 15, 1994, which conducts cremations shall apply for a crematory authority license from the Attorney General within one hundred eighty (180) days thereafter. The license shall be displayed in a conspicuous place in the crematory. Application for a license shall be made in writing on the form prescribed by the Attorney General by administrative regulation. The application shall be accompanied by a one (1) time fee of one hundred dollars ($100) and shall show that the applicant owns or is actively operating a crematory in this Commonwealth or that the applicant is in a position to commence operating a crematory. The fees from the application shall be placed in a trust and agency account to be used by the Attorney General for the administration of KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537.

  (a) In addition to any other information required by the Attorney General, an application for a license shall contain the full name and address of the applicant and, in the case of a business entity, of every member, officer, and director. Any license issued pursuant to the application shall be valid only at the address stated in the application.

  (b) Upon receipt of the application and the payment of the license fee the Attorney General shall issue a license unless he determines that the applicant:

    1. Has made false statements or representations in the application;

    2. Is insolvent, has conducted, is about to conduct business in a fraudulent manner; or

    3. Is not duly authorized to transact business in this Commonwealth.

(2) Changes in the persons, firm, partnership, ownership, association, or corporate structure as originally named on the application for a crematory authority license renders the license void. The crematory authority shall file a new application before the changes shall be official.

(3) No crematory authority shall require that human remains be placed in a casket before cremation or that human remains be cremated in a casket, nor shall a crematory authority refuse to accept human remains for cremation because they are not in a casket. A crematory may require the cremation container not show evidence of leakage.

(4) It is unlawful for any licensee under this section to cremate the remains of anything other than dead human bodies, including pathological waste, in the same cremation chambers licensed under this section. This prohibition does not apply to a dead human fetus, which may be cremated.

(5) Each crematory authority shall maintain a record of each cremation of human remains, disclosing the name of the person cremated, the name of the person a authorizing the cremation, the date the body was received, the date the cremation was performed, and any other information the Attorney General may require by administrative regulation. The records shall be kept at the crematory for a period of not less than ten (10) years for inspection by the Attorney General.

(6) Each crematory authority shall file annually with the Attorney General a report in the form prescribed by the Attorney General by administrative regulation. A ten dollar ($10) fee shall be paid to the Attorney General by each crematory authority filing an annual report. The fees from these reports shall be placed in a trust and agency account to be used by the Attorney General for the administration of KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537.

Effective: July 15, 1994
History: Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 2, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97507 Identification requirements.

(1) Materials identifying the human remains placed in the custody of a crematory authority shall contain the following information:

  (a) Name of decedent;

  (b) Date and time of death;

  (c) Place of death;

  (d) Name and relationship of authorizing agent;

  (e) Name of person engaging crematory services; and

  (f) Signature of the person making the identification.

(2) Appropriate identification shall be placed upon the exterior of the cremation container.

Effective: July 15, 1994
History: Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 3, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97511 Holding restrictions.

(1) A crematory authority shall not accept human remains for cremation unless the human remains are contained within a closed cremation container.

(2) A crematory authority shall not accept for holding a cremation container from which there is any evidence of leakage of the body fluids from the human remains therein.

(3) Human remains that are not embalmed may not be held at a crematory that does not have a refrigerated holding facility.

(4) The crematory authority shall ensure that holding facilities are secure from access by anyone other than crematory authority personnel.

Effective: July 15, 1994
History: Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 4, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97514 Processing procedures and restrictions.

(1) The simultaneous cremation of the remains of more than one (1) individual within the same cremation chamber is specifically declared unlawful. The fact that incidental and unavoidable residue remains in the cremation chamber or other equipment or any container used in a prior cremation is not a violation of this section.

(2) No human remains delivered to a crematory shall be removed from the cremation container, and the cremation container shall be cremated with the human remains. The identification from the outside of the cremation container shall be removed and placed near the cremation chamber control panel where it shall remain in place until the cremation process is complete.

(3) A body shall not be cremated with a pacemaker or other potentially hazardous implant, including any toxic or explosive-type sealed implants, in place. If the authorizing agent is the decedent, then the next class of authorizing agent in the order set forth in KRS 367.97501(1) shall be responsible for disclosing the existence of any pacemaker or other hazardous implants to the crematory authority.

(4) No crematory authority or any person employed by or acting on behalf of a crematory authority shall remove or possess dental gold or dental silver from any human remains. The fact that there is incidental and unavoidable dental gold or dental silver remains in the cremation chamber, in other equipment, or in any container used in a prior cremation is not a violation of this section.

(5) The crematory or crematorium shall be secure from access by unauthorized persons.

(6) The crematory retort operator shall have at least forty eight (48) hours of on the job training supervised by the crematory operator, with verification of this training having been filed with the Attorney General.

Effective: July 15, 1994
History: Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 5, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97517 Disposition of cremated remains.

(1) Upon completion of the cremation, all residual of the cremation process shall be removed insofar as is possible, from the cremation chamber. The residual shall be placed within a container or tray that will ensure against commingling with other cremated remains; and the identification removed from the control panel area and attached to the container or tray to await final processing.

(2) The residual shall be manually cleaned of identifiable foreign objects, other than those used for identification, or as may be requested by the authorizing agent. The residual of the cremation process may undergo pulverization as a part of final processing.

(3) All body prosthesis, bridgework, or similar items removed from the cremated remains shall be disposed of by the crematory authority unless authority to do otherwise is specifically granted in writing.

Effective: July 15, 1994
History: Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 6, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97521 Closed container for cremated remains -- Temporary container.

(1) Cremated remains shall be placed in a closed container. Except for objects used for identification, cremated remains shall not be contaminated with foreign material unless specific authorization has been received.

(2) If cremated remains within the closed container do not adequately fill the container's interior dimensions, the extra space may be filled with appropriate filling material which shall not come in direct contact with the cremated remains; and the lid or top shall then be securely closed.

(3) If the entire processed remains do not fit within the dimensions of the designated receptacle, the remainder shall be returned in a separate container.

(4) When a temporary container is used, the outside of the container shall be clearly identified with the name of the deceased person whose cremated remains are contained therein.

Effective: July 15, 1994
History: Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 7, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97524 Cremation authorization form required -- Disposal or delivery of cremated remains.

(1) A crematory authority shall not conduct any cremations, nor accept a body for cremation, unless it has a cremation authorization form signed by the authorizing agent clearly stating the disposition to be made of the cremated remains.

(2) Cremated remains shall be disposed of by placing them in a grave, crypt, or niche; by scattering them in a scattering area; or in any manner on the private property of a consenting owner. The crematory authority may deliver, either in person or by registered mail, the cremated remains to the designated individual specified on the cremation authorization form. Upon receipt of the cremated remains, the individual receiving them may keep or transport them in any manner in this Commonwealth without a permit. After delivery, the crematory authority shall be discharged from any legal obligation or liability concerning the cremated remains relative to disposition.

(3) A crematory authority or a licensed funeral director arranging a cremation shall not be held liable for good faith reliance on representations made by the authorizing agent regarding the authority to cremate.

Effective: July 14, 2000
History: Amended 2000 Ky. Acts ch. 171, sec. 1, effective July 14, 2000. -- Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 8, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97527 Preneed cremation authorization form -- Procedure in event of conflict.

(1) A person, or anyone who has legal authority to act on behalf of that person, may authorize his or her own cremation and the final disposition of his or her cremated remains, by executing, as the authorizing agent, a preneed cremation authorization form. The original preneed cremation authorization form shall be retained by the entity with which the arrangements are made. A copy of the preneed cremation authorization form shall be provided to the person signing the preneed arrangements. The person prearranging his own cremation shall have the right to transfer or cancel this authorization at any time prior to death, by notifying the entity with which the preneed cremation authorization form is filed by certified mail.

(2) In the event that no different or inconsistent instructions are provided to the crematory authority at the time of death, the crematory authority shall release or dispose of the cremated remains as indicated in the preneed agreement.

(3) In the event that there is a conflict between the decedent' s prearrangement and the demands of the next class of authorizing agent in the order set forth in KRS 367.97501(1) regarding cremation, the crematory shall not accept for cremation those human remains without an order deciding the issues entered by the District Court of the county of the decedent's residence or the county where the funeral home or the crematory authority is located. This order may be issued by the court after a petition for resolution has been initiated by any natural person listed in KRS 367.97501(1) or the crematory authority. Unless extraordinary circumstances exist, the court shall give due deference to the desires of the deceased as expressed in the prearrangement.

(4) Neither the crematory authority nor a licensed funeral director arranging a cremation shall be held liable for the crematory authority's or the funeral director's good faith reliance on representations made by the authorizing agent regarding the authority or decision to cremate.

Effective: July 14, 2000
History: Amended 2000 Ky. Acts ch. 171, sec. 2, effective July 14, 2000. -- Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 9, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97531 Facsimile-transmitted cremation authorization form.

If the authorizing agent or, in the event the authorizing agent is the decedent, the next class of authorizing agent in the order set forth in KRS 367.97501(1), is not available in person to execute the cremation authorization form, then the authorizing agent may send the crematory a notarized facsimile transmission stating that the person is legally entitled to authorize the cremation and stating the name, address, and relationship of the sender to the decedent. The crematory authority may rely upon the facsimile-transmitted cremation authorization form to perform the cremation without liability. The facsimile-transmitted cremation authorization form shall be followed by the original delivered by certified mail.

Effective: July 15, 1994
History: Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 10, effective July 15, 1994.

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367.97534 Denial, suspension, or revocation of license -- Hearing -- Appeal -- Availability of Consumer Protection Act remedies -- Authority of Attorney General under other laws and to promulgate administrative regulations.

(1) The Attorney General may deny, suspend, or revoke any license granted under KRS 367.97504 or levy civil penalties not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500), or both, or place the licensee on probation for up to twelve (12) months for any of the following causes:

  (a) Obtaining a license through false statement or misrepresentation;

  (b) Conducting or undertaking business in an unfair, false, misleading, or deceptive manner;

  (c) Entry of a final judgment or conviction for any crime involving moral turpitude; or

  (d) Violating any of the provisions of KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537 or any administrative regulation promulgated or order made pursuant to KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537.

(2) The Attorney General shall, before denying, suspending, or revoking a license or imposing civil penalties, issue a complaint alleging the grounds upon which the licensee may have its license denied, revoked, or suspended, or have civil penalties imposed. A copy of the complaint, together with any exhibits, shall be served upon the defendant licensee at the licensee's last know address. The licensee shall file an answer with the Attorney General's office within twenty (20) days of receipt of the complaint. Upon receipt of an answer to a complaint, an administrative hearing shall be conducted in accordance with KRS Chapter 13B.

(3) Any party aggrieved by the final order of the Attorney General in denying, suspending, or revoking a license, or imposing civil penalties may appeal the final order to Franklin Circuit Court in accordance with KRS Chapter 13B.

(4) All of the remedies, powers, and duties provided for the Attorney General by KRS 376.190 to 367.300 and KRS 367.990 pertaining to acts declared unlawful by KRS 367.170 shall apply with equal force and effect to violations of KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537.

(5) Nothing in KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537 shall be construed to limit or restrict the exercise of powers or the performance of the duties of the Attorney General, which he is authorized to exercise or perform under any other provision of law including direct court action to obtain injunctive relief and revocation of license. The Attorney General has the authority to promulgate any administrative regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537.

Effective: July 15, 1996
History: Amended 1996 Ky. Acts ch. 318, sec. 352, effective July 15, 1996. -- Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 11, effective July 15, 1994.

Legislative Research Commission Note (7/15/94, revised 7/15/96). The reference to "KRS 376.190 to 367.300" in subsection (4) of this statute is clearly erroneous. It would appear that "KRS 367.110 to 367.300," an established range of statutes, may have been intended. Subsection (4) was formerly subsection (7) of this statute. See 1996 Ky. Acts ch. 318, sec. 352.

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367.97537 Crematory licensure and regulation fund.

There is hereby created a trust and agency account in the State Treasury to be known as the "Crematory Licensure and Regulation Fund," which shall consist of all moneys received from fees under KRS 367.97504, from civil penalties assessed under this section, and from earnings on investments of these fees and civil penalties. The funds in this account shall not lapse and shall be continuously appropriated to the Attorney General for the administration of KRS 367.97501 to 367.97537.

Effective: July 15, 1994
History: Created 1994 Ky. Acts ch. 140, sec. 12, effective July 15, 1994.

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*This information was obtained from Kentucky Legislature website (www.lrc.ky.gov/KRS/367-00/CHAPTER.HTM). All information is current as of 2007.  For the most up-to-date information, please contact us directly.  We do revise this page as soon as we receive updates, but we do not guarantee complete accuracy.


Herman Meyer & Son, PO Box 4052, Louisville, Kentucky 40204 | 502.458.9569 | info@meyerfuneral.com