top of page

Is It Legal to Scatter Cremains?

With cremation as the final mode of disposition on the rise across the United States, we often come across the question: what can I do with the cremated remains, or cremains, after the service. There are multiple options, such as burial or interment in a wall niche, keeping them with the family at home and scattering the cremains. While burial or interment will have clear rules and regulations, scattering does not always. Below we will touch on some things to keep in mind for scattering cremains.

What will the cremains look like?

First and foremost, it is important to understand that while cremation evokes the idea of fine ashes, this is not usually the case. Cremated remains vary in texture and will not always disperse the way a fine grain, such as sand would. This is important to know as some portions of the cremains will disperse more easily than others.

New York State Rules

Like many states, New York does not have a set of state-wide laws governing the storing or scattering of cremains. However, it is especially important to check with local guidelines to make sure that you are following any rules put in place for these purposes.

Where Can I Scatter Cremains?

There are quite a few options when it comes to scattering cremains, and if done safely it can be a beautiful tribute to the deceased. Below we will highlight some of the options for those who wish to scatter.

Public Land

New York is home to many parks, mountains, rivers, and ocean, making it a beautiful place to scatter cremains. When choosing to scatter on public land, it is important to verify with local counties and city laws to make sure there are no specific regulations. Often, a simple internet search can point you in the right direction and inform you if there are any permits are needed.

Federal Land

National Parks are a popular option for those who wish to scatter cremains, and with their often astounding beauty, it is easy to see why. Like most public places, there are no specific regulations against this action, however, federal land is more likely to require a permit to scatter. It is always important to reach out to the correct entity before scattering to make sure permits are acquired and rules are followed.

Water Scattering

Unlike scattering on land, burial at sea does have specific guidelines that must be followed. According to the United States Federal Clean Water Act, all scatterings must take place at least 3 nautical miles from shore and the U.S. EPA must be notified within 30 days of the scattering. If a vessel is involved, it must be biodegradable and easily decompose.

Private Land

If you choose to scatter on private land, be it your own or someone else’s, a permit is not required. However, you must obtain permission from the landowner prior to scattering to avoid any potential legal ramifications.

As cremation becomes a more popular option across the country, people begin to think of more significant options for the placement of their cremains. Scattering in a meaningful place is becoming more and more common as people look to honor their loved ones. From state to state, rules for scattering vary, but by following the suggestions above, and a little bit of research, you can plan a wonderful tribute to the deceased. Read more about our Scattering Services here and how we can assist you.



150 views0 comments


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page