What are main legal issues when considering cremation?

   By Irina Jordan

Cremation is a popular option. Many people specify a special manner or location for their ashes to be kept, interred or scattered as a profound way to cap off their life. If you are thinking about cremation, here are five legal issues to keep in mind:

  1. Making the request. Make sure that you make a cremation request as cremation is usually not a default option. Do not put your cremation request in your will, since your will may not be read until weeks after your death. Make sure that your executor is aware of your funeral plans and cremation wishes.

  2. Restrictions on seaside scatterings. Many like the idea of their remains being scattered at sea. There are rules for this, however. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a burial at sea of cremated remains must take place at least 3 nautical miles from land.

  3. Flying with crematory remains. If your loved one will be traveling with your remains somewhere else, keep in mind that while the TSA generally allows transporting cremated remains, airline rules vary so they need to be verified.

  4. Special permits may be required. If you want your ashes to be scattered in a particular public location, it may require a permit. Many national parks including the Grand Canyon allow scattering; however, this requires a permit and permission from the chief park ranger.

  5. Your state's laws. Depending on which state you are in, the laws about cremation can vary greatly. For example, Illinois does not allow disposing of cremated remains in a location where the remains are commingled with another person.

While it is not easy to think about one's final days, it is always best to be prepared, especially if you have particular wishes about what happens to your body after your death.