Are There Legal Considerations for Cremation?

Know The Laws on Cremation

Cremation has become a fully-accepted, popular choice in the past decade. In some states, more people are cremated than given traditional burials, and within a few years, it’s estimated that nearly one out of two people will choose cremation. With so many people considering the benefits of cremation, it’s important to point out the legal ramifications of cremation.

First, and most importantly, if you wish to be cremated, you should put your wishes in writing, in case family members are in conflict over your choice. Every state has a list of people who are authorized to request a cremation. Let your funeral home know of your choice now. (Many people record their wishes while they are discussing a pre-paid plan with their funeral home director).

Cremation Choices for You and Your Loved Ones
Families can choose to:

  • Dispose of the Cremains. The most common disposals are one where ashes are scattered on private property (with permission, of course) and at sea (though you have to be at least three miles from the shore). At some national parks, you can scatter cremains with the permission of the head park ranger.
  • Keep the Cremains. Some families wish to put the cremains in an urn and keep the urns in their home. This is another area, however, where you should be careful. Some states only allow cremains to be kept at the home of the person who is in charge of the cremains. While there is no law in the United States that requires cremation containers to be used, some states expect that a container is used that is not transparent. If you keep the cremains, you can have jewelry made from it—it’s another option to consider.
  • Bury the Cremains. Cremains can be buried, but only in places where you have written permissions from the land’s owner or governing agency. Many place their cremains in columbariums, a public storage area that is often in a cemetery and can be visited. It often gives family and friends great comfort to be able to reflect in a columbarium.

Be sure to follow federal, state, and local laws concerning cremation. If you have any questions about cremation laws, contact Beinhauer Family Funeral Homes today.