Is Scattering Ashes Legal?

Ash scattering ceremonies are a sufficient way to release a loved one’s remains while ensuring that you can make peace with their passing as they rest in peace. While you may feel confident that ash scattering is the best way to go about letting go of your departed, you may also feel uncertain about the process and even wonder if scattering ashes is legal. In this article, we go over the essential legalities of scattering ashes so that you can carry on with your plans to establish peace of mind.

Land Legalities of Ash Scatterings

One of the reasons that there are so many different types of ash spreading ceremonies and ash scattering services is that most areas have been deemed legally accessible for scattering ashes. Though there are many public places where ash scattering ceremonies can take place without any legal interference, there are still certain areas that require permission to conduct ash scatterings legally. If you are interested in spreading a loved one’s ashes on private property, for instance, you must get direct permission from the landowners before pursuing your plans for the ceremony.

Water Legalities of Ash Scatterings

To release one’s remains into the ocean, you must hire ash scattering services or find another secure way to release the ashes while remaining at least three nautical miles from land. Last, but not least, make sure that you clearly understand that certain states will have different laws regarding legal ash scatterings.

Make sure that you take time out to carefully review all of the local, state, and federal water laws that pertain to ash spreading ceremonies before conducting your ash scattering ceremony. Please note that even with these local laws set into motion, you must be aware of the fact that some federal laws can (and do) override local and state laws, especially when it comes to all possible bodies of water such as:

  • Oceans
  • Rivers
  • Lakes
  • Streams
  • Ponds

The Bottom Line

Ash scattering ceremonies are a genuine possibility for those looking for a symbolic and yet, very simple way to release their loved one’s remains respectfully. Always remember to keep in mind the legalities that influence how one may go about scattering ashes. You should aim to complete this delicate and transitional process in ways that honor your loved one, yourself, and of course, the official laws that protect the properties you are considering for your ceremony.

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