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What to Do with Cremated Remains After A Loved One Has Passed

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When a loved one passes away, events move quickly. You have a lot of decisions to make and it can feel overwhelming. If you have a will to reference, that makes it easier. If not, you have several critical decisions to make about how to put your loved one to rest. 

One comfort of cremation is that you can wait to decide what to do with your loved one’s remains. Then, when you’re ready, you can choose how to say goodbye.

Table of Contents

Is it Bad to Keep Cremated Ashes at Home?
Tips for Transferring Ashes to an Urn
How to Put Human Ashes to Rest?
Tips for Scattering Cremated Remains

Many people have questions about how to properly care for ashes after receiving them from the crematorium. Thankfully, you can move on your own timeline as you process the grief and celebrate the life of your loved one. In this article, we explain how to transfer ashes, how to properly store ashes, and how to scatter them when you’re ready. 

Is it bad to keep cremated ashes at home?

Many people wonder, “Is it bad to keep cremated ashes at home?” At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice. There are no U.S. laws prohibiting storage of human ashes in your home. Some people worry about religious consequences, or even paranormal activity when they choose to keep an urn with ashes in their house. In essence, the decision is rooted in your own beliefs about the afterlife and the constraints of your spiritual practices. 

When you receive ashes from a crematorium, they usually give them to you in a plastic bag. This is often placed inside a temporary container made of card stock or a similar temporary material. If you want to keep the ashes at home for a period of time, an urn gives you a reliable vessel to store and transport the remains

Tips for Transferring Ashes to an Urn

  1. Ensure the container is big enough before you transfer. Most adult’s ashes weigh between 4 to 8 lbs.
  2. You may need someone to help you with the transfer. They can hold the container to keep it steady. 
  3. Place your container on a flat, stable surface. Choose a surface you can easily wipe clean. 
  4. When you’re ready, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. This will help you pour them softly into the new container. 
  5. If your container is narrow, you may need a funnel to facilitate the process.
  6. At the end, there may be larger elements to add. Carefully cut open the bag to make this easier to transfer. 

After you’re done, make sure the container is properly sealed. This helps prevent any spilling and creates a stable environment inside the container. 

Displays and Memorials

Once you have transferred the ashes, you can choose to display them or put them away. Common display areas include a fireplace mantle, a shelf or bookcase, or a prominent table in your living area. If you prefer to store them discreetly, a cupboard or wardrobe provides a safe area. Sometimes, people pick a spot in the home where the loved one used to spend time — such as a bedroom or office.

Many people choose to decorate the area with mementos, photographs and messages to the deceased. It can become a personal space for reflecting on the life of the person who has passed.

Of course, you should always consider the wishes of the deceased as expressed in their will. If they haven’t expressed their wishes, it can be harder to decide what to do. Many people keep ashes for a period of time after cremation — about one in five people choose to store ashes in their home

For those who choose to keep them, it’s often parents (about 54%). When asked why in a survey, many people (about 30%) explained they were not sure what their options would be to scatter or memorialize remains. 

Some people also find that they feel like their loved one is nearby during the mourning process when they keep the remains in their home. Then, when they’re ready, they look for an appropriate place to release the ashes and say a final goodbye. 

How to put human ashes to rest?

One key benefit of choosing to scatter cremated remains in a memorial? It creates a place for future generations to visit. In fact, that’s often the appeal of putting ashes to rest in a memorial or scattering garden. It takes the burden of keeping the ashes off of an individual and places them in a location where any loved one can visit.

Tips for Scattering Cremated Remains

If you choose to scatter your loved one’s remains, you follow the laws for scattering ashes. These are predominantly enforced and managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In general, you cannot scatter in public or private areas without permission. Unless it is your own property, you must check the location beforehand to ensure you’re complying with local laws. 

One of the benefits of choosing a private scattering garden is that it has been prepared and registered for that purpose. So, you know that your loved one’s memorial will be preserved through time (unlike a public park or a residential area). 

After you choose a scattering location and get the appropriate permission, you should plan for the following:

  1. Decide if the scattering will be attended or unattended. 
  2. If you choose to attend the scattering, find out if you can say something during the memorial. Often, people like to recite a prayer, poem or Bible verse.
  3. If you choose to send your ashes for scattering, find out what the process is for verifying the scattering. 
  4. Plan for the fees. Most memorial sites have some fees for the scattering services and reserving the space. 
  5. After the scattering, you’ll need to mark the location. Memorial stones and memorial trees are popular choices.
  6. Find out if you can visit at a later date. Many people find comfort in this ritual.

If you have more questions about how to plan an Ash Scattering Ceremony, download this guide:

Send Cremated Remains to Rest Ashured

At Rest Ashured, we’re here to help you say goodbye. Our process follows five simple steps. 

First, you start by picking a scattering service. We offer a scattering garden, memory tree dedication and burials at sea. You can see all your options on our Services Page.

Next, we’ll send you a package. This contains all you need to send us ashes for scattering including boxes, labels and tape. It also contains simple instructions for how to prepare and post your package.

Then, you can ship the package to us using your local post office or favorite mail service. 

Once we receive your package, we scatter your loved one’s ashes as you specified. After the scattering, we send you a certificate of release. This marks the date and exact location of your scattering.

Ask Us Your Questions

Finally, you can rest assured knowing your loved one has been memorialized with the utmost care and dignity. 
We can’t remove the sadness of your loss, but we can remove the complications of laying a loved one to rest. We’ve tried to think of everything to relieve you of worries, and strive to make our process as simple as possible. If this sounds like something you would like to do, please get in touch with us. Call 434-534-4007 or email us at

Loss & Grief - What to do with cremated remains?
Loss & Grieg – What to do with cremated remains?