Saying goodbye, scattering a loved one’s ashes is heartbreaking. Making final arrangements can be overwhelming. Knowing what you are allowed to do to fulfill your loved one’s wishes is important, but it can also be confusing.
If the person you lost wanted to be cremated and have their ashes spread, there are important considerations in fulfilling this final request. You should know where, how, and what rules need to be taken into account to make sure that putting your loved one to rest is done appropriately and you are not violating any laws.
Important Questions To Ask
Where Do You Want to Scatter the Ashes?
It’s always about location, location, location. The place you choose to spread your loved one’s ashes is very important. The rules for spreading someone’s ashes are different depending on the type of location.
Is the Area Private or Public Property?
The biggest question about location is whether the property is public or private.
- Public Property
You may be able to scatter your loved one’s ashes freely so long as you do not spread their remains in a place where others would use the space. Always be considerate of others in public places.
EXAMPLE: Do not scatter your family member’s ashes in the sandbox at the park.
- Private Property
If you get the property owner’s permission, you can scatter the ashes on their property. However, it is important to note that if you are allowed to spread ashes on private property, the specific location may have certain requirements you must follow. That said, it may be unlikely that you will get your favorite amusement park or stadium’s permission to spread your loved one’s ashes.
EXAMPLE: During the 2022 NHL Playoffs, a hockey fan who lost his best friend, another big fan of the sport, spread some of his friend’s ashes on the ice rink. He quickly learned that he could not pay tribute to his friend that way after being banned from attending games for the rest of the season.
Scattering Ashes at the Beach
You will need permission to spread your loved one’s ashes on the beach. Many states do not allow you to spread ashes along the shoreline, but in states like California, you can scatter ashes 500 yards or more from shore.
Scattering Ashes at Sea
If your dearly departed’s last wish was to have their ashes scattered at sea, the Environmental Protection Agency imposes regulations on how surviving loved ones can scatter the ashes of the person they lost.
Usually, the EPA requires that anything you put into the ocean decomposes easily. So, flowers are OK – or a biodegradable container – but you probably can’t place the urn into the sea.
Know What Local And Federal Laws Apply
As mentioned earlier, specific locations can have certain limitations or requirements when it comes to scattering a loved one’s ashes. Laws for each state may vary or may be preceded by federal laws.
According to Texas law, cremated remains may be scattered in the following:
- Uninhabited public land
- Public waterway or sea
- Private properties – with the owner’s permission
*NOTE: Containers must also be biodegradable, otherwise the ashes must be removed from the container prior to scattering.
Any way that you choose to honor your loved one is valuable and spreading their ashes in accordance with their final wishes can also help you heal and keep their memory alive. However, always make sure you have the appropriate permission and follow applicable state and/or federal laws on the matter. Knowing what’s allowed as you lay your loved one to rest will make a hard situation just a little easier.
Documenting your final wishes to guide your loved ones during incapacity or after you’re gone is conducive to helping them handle or heal from an otherwise heartbreaking situation. Let your Final Wishes Genie help you create an Estate Plan that’s right for you.
Schedule an appointment with the Law Office of Antoinette Bone today!
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