Attorney & Mediator
Attorney & Mediator

Funeral Planning – Cremation

Cremation urn

We have previously examined choices that are available for each of us concerning embalming and the use of a traditional wooden or metal casket.

Today, we will examine Cremation.

Cremation has become a lower cost option that has increased in popularity.  Considerations include whether you will desire a period when you are to be viewed by your loved ones, or whether you would prefer direct cremation with a memorial service.

Such a selection will influence whether embalming will be necessary.  If you prefer direct cremation, then embalming will not be necessary.  If, on the other hand, you desire a more traditional viewing by family and friends, the embalming may become a necessity due to the time element.

If you do select the more traditional viewing, you or your loved ones will select a wooden casket, as opposed to a metal one.  If you are choosing direct cremation, then you may decide that a simple unfinished wooden box or cardboard container is sufficient.

You will need to make a plan for your ashes or cremains.  Some elect to have them placed into an urn.  These can then be maintained at a family member’s home, or they can be buried.

If you prefer that your ashes be scattered, then there are some additional considerations.

You may scatter ashes upon your own property.  This is legal and acceptable.

Prior to scattering ashes upon public land, you should check with the city or county to see whether there is an ordinance concerning this issue.   The same caveat applies with federal properties.  You should request permission first.  If you want to scatter ashes in a National Park, you should consult the National Park Service website.

If you scatter ashes at sea, it must be greater than three (3) nautical miles off the shore pursuant to the Clean Water Act.  Additionally, you must notify the EPA within thirty (30) days that you have done so.  The Clean Water Act also governs inland waters.  As cremains are not considered a pollutant, there appears to be no prohibition against scattering them upon the waters.