The number of Americans opting for cremation over burial is steadily increasing. Back in 1960, just over 3% of deaths resulted in cremation. By 2018, this figure had increased to over 53%, and this figure is projected to climb even higher. Just what happens to someone's ashes after cremation can be a matter of some dispute unless the deceased had left specific instructions about this. What can you do when a loved one passes away and was cremated, but now there are disputes about just who gets to keep the ashes?
The Potential for Disagreement
The legality of who receives and ultimately decides the fate of cremated remains can vary. It's generally the legal next of kin, but the deceased might have nominated a person to take responsibility for their ashes (who might also be the executor of their estate). When the deceased didn't leave instructions beyond their desire to be cremated, there could be disagreement when it comes to what happens to their ashes. It's less about taking legal action to determine what happens to the ashes, and more about discussing the situation and reaching an agreement that's acceptable to all parties. There are a number of different options that can help everyone to reach a resolution.
Sharing the Ashes
You, along with other family members could come up with a custody schedule, allowing the urn containing the ashes to be rotated amongst everyone. The urn could spend a certain amount of time with a family member, before being delivered to another family member, allowing for a rotating possession of the ashes. The best amount of time for the ashes to remain with a particular person depends on how many other people are included in the sharing schedule. This way, all parties can take part in holding onto the memory of their loved one.
Dividing the Ashes
Crematories can in fact divide the ashes for you. Instead of being placed in a single urn, they're divided into a predetermined number of urns, with everyone receiving an equal share of their loved one's cremated remains.
Burying the Ashes
When it's difficult to reach an agreement about sharing the ashes and some family members don't like the idea of their loved one's remains being divided, you can simply bury the ashes in a cemetery. This creates a final resting place, which everyone can visit as often as they like. They might not be able to keep the ashes on their mantel, but at least they can still pay their respects on a regular basis.
The loss of a loved one is difficult enough, without there being any disputes over what happens to their ashes. If this becomes an issue, it's something that needs to be resolved as soon as possible, so that your family can focus on celebrating the life of their loved one.
For more information about cremation, contact a local funeral home, like Fletcher Funeral Home PA.
Hi everyone, my name is Peter Holly. I am interested in teach others about the various urn and casket options on the market today. I would also like to explore the history of the creation and display of urns and caskets. When my father died, I took a long time to select the best urn for display on my mantle. I wanted to hold the ashes in a creation that encapsulated the personality of my father. I eventually selected a small wooden box with a cherry finish and bronze accents. If my father had wanted a burial instead, it probably would have taken even longer to select the best casket. There are just so many interior finishes available in addition to all of the exterior designs. Please come by often for assistance in finding your best urn or casket options.