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What To Do with Ashes after Cremation

Family Deciding What to Do with Ashes After Cremation

Everyone needs a personal way to say goodbye when their loved one passes. For some, it can be hard to decide what to do with ashes after cremation. To begin, you can arrange a memorial ceremony that reflects the last wishes of your loved one. You might hold it in a religious building, a local venue, or even in a location that your loved one adored. 

Upbeat celebration of life ceremonies and informal memorial services have become just as common as traditional funerals. These memorial services are intimate, and often less formal, than mourning rituals of the past.

After your special ceremony, there are several options to put your loved one’s ashes to rest. 

Table of Contents

Keep the Ashes in an Urn
Inter the Ashes
Scatter the Ashes in a Garden
Scatter the Ashes at Sea
Plant the Ashes with a Tree

With cremation you can wait to decide what to do with your loved one’s remains. There’s no imposed time frame for your grief. Then, when you’re ready, you can choose how to say goodbye.

Keep the Ashes in an Urn

About one in five people choose to store ashes in their homes after cremation. You can keep ashes in an urn permanently or you can keep them until you’re ready to find a permanent resting place.

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

Tips for Transferring Ashes to an Urn

  1. Check that your container is the right size before you transfer. Most adults’ ashes weigh between 4 to 8 lbs.
  2. Find someone to help you with the transfer. They can hold the container to keep it steady. 
  3. Choose a stable surface you can easily wipe clean.
  4. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag. This creates a funnel shape to softly pour the ashes into the new container. If your container is narrow, you may need a funnel to facilitate the process.
  5. There may be larger elements to add. After you’re done pouring, carefully cut open the bag to make this easier to transfer.

After you’re done, ensure the container is properly sealed. This creates a stable environment inside the container. It also prevents spilling if the container is bumped.

Once you have transferred the ashes, you either 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 safe storage. Sometimes, people pick a spot in the home where the loved one used to spend time like a bedroom or office.

Many people decorate the area with mementos, photographs, and messages to the deceased. It creates a personal space to remember the life of the person who has passed.

Inter the Ashes 

If you don’t want to keep your ashes at home, you can find a burial plot or a niche in a columbarium. Many religious locations or traditional graveyards have spaces available. 

People who have a history with a religious institution or people who also prefer traditional settings tend to choose these venues. It’s also a way to keep family members together if you have a history of putting remains to rest in a specific area. 

If you’re interested in this arrangement, get in touch with your local church or burial ground. You can inquire about open plots or niches. Then, you can arrange a time to inter ashes at that location. 

Circle of Rocks for memorial

Scatter the Ashes in a Garden

Scattering ashes in a garden appeals to people who prefer an organic setting. You still have a place to visit but these locations are more vibrant and natural.

If you choose to scatter your loved one’s remains in a garden, you must follow the laws for scattering ashes. These are predominantly enforced and managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You cannot scatter in public or private areas without permission. Unless it is your 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 over time, unlike a public park or a residential area. 

After you choose a scattering location and get the appropriate permission, you can contact the memorial garden owners to facilitate the scattering. After the scattering, you’ll need to mark the location with something, like a memorial stone. 

Image of beach

Scatter the Ashes at Sea

A burial, or scattering at sea, takes place on the open water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and federal law, these services must take place at least 3 nautical miles from land. 

You can charter a boat to take your loved one’s ashes to an approved spot on the ocean and scatter them on the water. Often, your family and friends accompany you on the boat to be present during the ceremony to scatter the cremated remains.

This option is perfect if your loved one enjoyed the beach, spent time fishing, or was a Navy or Coast Guard veteran.

Memorial garden with planted trees

Plant the Ashes with a Tree

Planting a memory tree creates a beautiful remembrance. Year after year, the tree grows to create a verdant, spreading memorial.

Your loved one’s ashes can be spread during the planting process, making them part of the tree as it takes root. The tree can also be marked with their name.

Similar to other scattering options, you must follow the laws for scattering ashes. In general, you cannot scatter in public or private areas without permission. It’s ideal to choose a location registered for this purpose. This ensures the tree will remain undisturbed.

Scatter Garden at Rest Ashured

Send Cremated Remains to Rest Ashured

At Rest Ashured, we provide several ways to scatter your loved one’s ashes. Our process follows five simple steps. 

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

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

Then, you ship the package 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.

Get in Touch with Us

If you’re not sure what to do with ashes after cremation, please get in touch with us to discuss your options. We are honored by each scattering, and we strive to help people say goodbye with dignity and respect. If you have any questions about our services, please get in touch with us. Call 434-534-4007 or email us at

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