California has always been a forward thinking state. We attract visitors from across the country and around the world with our great weather, world-class attractions, and thriving industry. Another area where Californians have led the way is the acceptance of cremation as a viable end-of-life plan. The affordability and ecologically responsible option cremation provides has driven that acceptance, making California one of the states with the highest percentage of cremations over traditional burial.
Cremation also provides a wealth of options that a traditional burial just can’t match. Memorializing a loved one at home in a decorative urn is very popular. Others opt for a beautiful and meaningful scattering service. As scattering ashes, either on land or at sea, becomes a more chosen option, it is important to understand the laws that govern this form of final disposition.
As noted at the NOLO legal blog, California has the strictest laws in the country governing the storage or scattering of ashes. While the word “strict” may sound off-putting, whichever disposition you choose is very easily able to be kept in compliance with the law.
If scattering on land is preferred, you must first check that there is no local prohibition. Certain cities and municipalities may not allow for a scattering service within their jurisdiction. If, however, scattering is allowed, you must first obtain written permission from the property owner if on private land. If a favorite municipal park is the chosen location for the scattering service, you must seek written permission from the governing agency responsible for the area. In either case, the cremated remains must be removed from the container and scattered in a manner that they are not visible to the public after the ceremony.
As beautiful as a scattering at sea, on a lake, or into a river is, it is important to note that the service must be conducted no less than 500 yards from the shoreline. For lakes and small streams, this prohibition is removed as many are not large enough to allow for a ceremony from that distance.
As mentioned above, a clear majority of Californians opt for a home memorial of their loved one. California law stipulates that a permit must be signed that states the ashes will not be removed from their container. The individual who maintains possession of the cremated remains must also make arrangements for their disposal upon their own death.
There is also Federal law that governs the final disposition of cremated remains. Understanding the laws surrounding cremation and final disposition is very important. If you have any questions or are uncertain about a particular area, speak with your local municipality or seek the counsel of your attorney.
The expert staff at Accu-Care Cremation & Funerals have been providing immediate need cremations in California for over 20 years. We are another invaluable resource in helping you to understand California and Federal law surrounding the final disposition of your loved one. Contact Accu-Care Cremation & Funerals today!