If you’ve considered cremation for yourself or a loved one, you’re among a growing population seeking something other than traditional final arrangements.
There is much to know about this method of disposition, and some facts may surprise you.
1. Cremation Is America’s Most Common End-of-Life Wish
The Washington Post reported that cremation is twice as common as it was just two decades ago, and is now more popular than a traditional casket burial:
“In 2020, 56 percent of Americans who died were cremated, more than double the figure of 27 percent two decades earlier, according to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA). By 2040, 4 out of 5 Americans are projected to choose cremation over casket burial, according to both CANA and the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA).”
To explain the shift, experts point to factors including generational preferences, environmental concerns, cost and even changing religious standards.
2. You Can Prepay for Cremation
Just like preplanning a memorial for a traditional burial, families also have the option to prepay for a cremation memorial. This is a fantastic option for anyone who wants to lessen the burden of planning on their loved ones, and it can also allow you to secure today’s rate for memorials.
Better yet, many memorial providers offer installment plans to make payments over time rather than in one lump sum.
3. You Can Still Have a Memorial in a Cemetery After Cremation
Cemeteries offer plenty of options for final resting places, whether your loved one is cremated or buried in a casket:
- Burial plot. This is an excellent option for someone who wants a memorial next to a loved one or in a family plot, but still wishes to be cremated. The cremation urn is buried in a smaller burial plot and can be accompanied by a headstone.
- Recessed urn. The urn is recessed and sealed within a monument, bench, or personalized boulder.
- Columbarium. Columbariums are often found in larger cemeteries and contain niches for each urn.
- Lawn crypt. This large vault or chamber can hold cremated remains just like it holds caskets.
4. There Are Rules for Scattering Ashes
It’s a common misconception that scattering ashes outdoors is illegal. In many states, there aren’t laws prohibiting the scattering of ashes, but there are rules to keep in mind:
- If scattering by air, you should remove the ashes from their container to avoid dropping the urn—federal law prohibits dropping any objects that could harm people or property.
- If scattering in private property, such as a golf course, you must obtain permission from the property owner.
- If scattering in a public area, like a national park, seek permission from the governing agency first.
- If scattering over the ocean, you must do so at least three nautical miles from land. The EPA also requires registration of the disposition within 30 days.
5. Cremated Remains Can be Made Into Jewelry
If you want to keep your lost loved one close even after cremation, memorial jewelry is an excellent option. Through a trusted memorial provider, you can purchase memorial jewelry that holds cremated remains—necklaces, charms, bracelets, earrings, rings, and more. The personalization options are nearly endless.
Some companies also allow you to turn cremated remains into certified diamonds.
6. Your Cremation Memorialization Options Are Endless
If you or your loved ones can dream it up, odds are there is a vendor that will offer it as an option for memorializing cremated remains. On the market today, there are services that incorporate cremated remains into a fireworks show, a biodegradable helium balloon, a vinyl record, and even a launch into outer space.
While there is no shortage of imagination in cremation memorial options, be advised that you should only choose a well-vetted, experienced company to handle such a sensitive and important task. Consider combining a more alternative memorial with something tangible your family can appreciate long after your passing, such as a cremation monument.
7. Veterans May Have Special Cremation Options
Veterans who were honorably discharged are entitled to a number of funeral benefits, including having their ashes interred for free in any national cemetery with available space. In addition, their final resting place will include perpetual care, a burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate, and more.
Speak with a specialist well-versed in caring for veterans’ final wishes to learn more.
Learn Even More About Cremation
If you or your loved one are considering cremation, be sure you understand all there is to know about this popular memorialization choice. For more helpful information, download our Cremation Memorialization Guide.