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What are the laws pertaining to cremation?

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Laws pertaining to cremation dictate whether a cremation must be arrangedby a licensed funeral director and where people can scatter ashes. States, cities and counties can place laws on scattering ashes.

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Cremation is an increasingly popular choice in the United States. In the mid-1990s, just 15 percent of people chose to cremate deceased relatives. By 2014, that figure had risen to nearly 50 percent.

A casket is not required by law for cremation in the U.S. However,many crematoriums still require them. Federal regulations ensure that funeral homes mustoffer affordable options. An urn is also not required by law.People may store ashes in any container or box.

Some states have laws pertaining to who can arrange a cremation. Although most states allow families to send a body directly to the crematorium provided they have the correct permits, some states require licensed funeral directors to arrange cremations and overseethe body's transport from the funeral home to the crematorium.

People may legally transport cremated ashes in airplanesor mail them, as long as theyhave filled out the right forms. The CDC also allows people to import fully cremated ashes into the United States from other countries.

The laws on scattering ashes can be very complex. All states allow people to bury ashes in cemeteries, place them in columbarium or bury or store them on private property. However, states, cities,counties and public agencies all have different laws on scattering ashes at land or sea. The Environmental Protection Agency requires ashes scattered at sea to be scattered 3 nautical miles from shore and requires people to report scatterings within 30 days. California bans scatterings on the beach. Many national parks require people to have permits before scattering ashes.

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