Your Guide to Scattering Ashes Meaningfully

Where should you choose to scatter ashes if the deceased did not specify a place? Use this guide to scattering ashes meaningfully to help.

When someone you care about passes away and you find yourself in charge of scattering their ashes, you want to do it the right way.

Although many people who pass away specify the place where they would like their ashes spread, not everyone does. Perhaps your loved one died without warning, or he or she just trusted you to do the right thing when the time came.

Sending your friend or family member into the great beyond in a respectful and meaningful way is a huge and important task, and you might even find this responsibility to be rather stressful and overwhelming.

Don’t feel that way. If you find yourself responsible for scattering ashes, read on to learn about some wonderful, beautiful, and memorable ways to do it that will honor your loved one the way that he or she deserves.

Laws About Scattering Ashes

Once the ashes are in your possession, don’t feel that you have to scatter them right away. Take your time to work through your loss and your grief and to think about your options. Whenever you are ready is the right time—no sooner.

Although people scatter ashes in movies and on television all the time with little planning or permission, that isn’t always how it works. Laws differ from place to place when it comes to scattering ashes, and to do it legally, you may need to do a little research. You don’t want to be stopped by the police while you are in the middle of a very emotional moment.

For example, Texas cremation laws state very specific information about who is allowed to scatter the ashes. If the deceased made a written statement about who he or she would like to complete this task before his or her death, then those directions must be followed. Otherwise, only immediate family members can scatter the ashes.

Across the country, these laws differ. In some cases, state laws even contradict national laws, and if what you are able to find about these laws on the internet seems confusing, you may want to contact a lawyer before moving forward.

Some people choose to spread ashes at sea, and this is legal, but there are certain laws that must be followed when doing so. For example, a boat must be at least three nautical miles from shore before anyone can scatter cremains into the water. Ceremonially scattering ashes from a boat can be a beautiful send-off; just remember to follow the laws and do it right.

Ideas for Scattering Ashes

When trying to determine when and where to spread your friend or relative’s ashes, you will want to consider the places that he or she loved best. Taking time to contemplate the individual’s personality and life will help you in this area.

The Ocean

As mentioned above, many people spread their loved one’s ashes at sea. Many people have a very personal connection with the ocean, and it may be fitting for them to become one with it in this way. Further, the fact that the ocean is always changing, and that water is a part of each and every one of us, spreading ashes at sea is very symbolic, too.

A Forest

Forests are always a place of change and renewal, as well. The cycles of the leaves changing, falling, and then growing again is eternal. At the same time, it also symbolizes death and rebirth. If your loved one was fond of nature, hiking, the mountains, or the natural world in general, he or she would be happy to know that his or her ashes will spend the rest of eternity in the woods.


There are some companies out there that you can find online that will launch your loved one’s ashes into outer space. If your friend or relative enjoyed looking at the stars or wondered what was out there beyond the earth’s atmosphere, this may be a fitting tribute to him or her after death.

Sports Arena

If your loved one was an avid sports fan, then you might want to look into scattering his or her ashes on the field of his or her favorite team. You will need permission to do this, but many stadiums around the country do allow this for their most dedicated fans.

Vacation Spot

Everyone has a vacation spot that means a lot to them during their lives. Spreading your loved one’s ashes in that spot would mean a lot to him or her.

Scattering ashes in a special place will symbolize that the deceased is now there forever, and others can also feel comfort in knowing that when they visit. If you plan to fly on a plane with the cremains, there are certain rules you will need to follow, so make sure you are informed before you go.

Private Property

If you want to keep your loved one close to you for the rest of your years on this earth, you might want to scatter his or her ashes on private property near you. If the deceased is a parent, child, or spouse, take time to think about a space that you shared that meant a lot to you both. Doing so will help you to remember your bond now and for years to come.

A Perfect Ceremony

Once you have determined where you plan to scatter your loved one’s remains, you need to think about how you will go about doing it. Will you do it alone or will you invite other guests and witnesses to participate? Will you offer a few words about your friend or relative’s life before you scatter the ashes, and if so, what will you say?

Scattering ashes does not have to be a huge event. Do what feels right for you and you can’t go wrong. When you do spread them, it will be a meaningful, emotional moment, but there is really no incorrect way to do it.

Follow your heart, think of your loved one, and may he or she rest in peace.

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One thought on “Your Guide to Scattering Ashes Meaningfully

  • Thanks for this information, I always wondered about this.


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