Options for Your Loved One’s Cremated Remains

With more and more people choosing cremation over traditional burial, there are a lot more options when deciding how to memorialize your loved one’s cremated remains.

Cremated Remains

With more and more people choosing cremation over traditional burial, there are a lot more options when deciding how to memorialize your loved one’s cremated remains. Unlike casket burials in a cemetery, cremation gives families additional choices like scattering the cremated remains in your yard or family land, planting them with a memorial tree, or having them stored in an urn or keepsake jewelry. Often, families ask our funeral directors at Roper & Sons about what options they have for their loved one’s cremated remains when planning their celebration of life ceremony. We thought it would be helpful in this blog to cover some things about storing or scattering cremated remains.

State and Federal Laws

In Nebraska, there are no state laws controlling where you may keep or scatter cremated remains. They may be stored in a crypt, niche, grave, or container at home. If you wish to scatter the cremated remains, you have many options when it comes to your own property or private land. However, before you head to your favorite city park or federally-protected body of water, here are a few things to think about:

  • Public Property – check with city and county regulations and zoning laws.
  • Federal Land – you should request permission before scattering cremated remains on federal land. However, you will probably not encounter any resistance if the scattering is done quietly and cremated remains aren’t near trails, roads, developed areas, campsites, and waterways. Find guidelines for scattering at the National Park Service.
  • Ocean or Sea – the federal Clean Water Act requires that cremated remains be scattered at least three nautical miles from land. The container must break down easily or it can’t be tossed in the water. The EPA does not permit scattering at beaches or in wading pools by the sea. Notify the EPA within 30 days of scattering cremated remains at sea.
  • In the Air – While there are no state laws prohibiting the scattering of ashes in the air, federal aviation laws do restrict dropping any objects that might cause harm to people or property. The ashes can be dropped but must be removed from their container before scattering.

Cremation Urns

A cremation urn is uniquely designed to hold cremated remains. Constructed from various materials, such as wood, marble, or metal, cremation urns can vary from a basic design to very elaborate pieces for displaying in your home. You will find a wide selection of urns to choose from at Roper & Sons, including individual urns that hold the ashes of one person and companion urns that are designed to hold more than one person’s ashes.

Keepsake urns, child urns, and pet urns are designed to hold a significantly smaller amount of cremated remains. Choose an urn that honors your loved one.

Unique Storage of Cremated Remains

Roper & Sons also works with a Lincoln, Nebraska artist who designs one-of-a-kind glass ornaments made with your loved one’s ashes. From paperweights to pendants, these works of art incorporate the ashes into the glass-blowing process. It’s a perfect way to share ashes with many family members and give them a custom-designed piece they can wear or place on a mantel for viewing.

Glass ornaments may not be the choice for you, so personalize the storage container to your loved one’s hobby or passion. You may choose to plant a tree or bush in your yard or as a memorial in a park. Ashes can be placed in the ground when the tree is planted.

Is a Burial Vault Needed?

If you decide to have a ground burial for the urn, many cemeteries require you to have an urn vault for safekeeping. A cremation urn vault is a lined and sealed outer container where the urn will be placed. The vault protects the urn from the earth’s natural weight and from maintenance equipment passing over it, from subsoil components, and when the ground settles. Roper and Sons Funeral Directors will help make arrangements with the cemetery and clarify specific requirements.

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