They can be placed in a niche in a columbarium, buried, scattered, or kept by the family. Cremated remains are sterile and pose no health hazard. Their disposition is, for the most part, not controlled, provided the landowner grants permission.
A columbarium is an assembly of niches de-signed to hold containers of cremated remains. It is most often located in a mausoleum with a cemetery and at some churches.
Earth burial can be done in a cemetery or on private property. Most cemeteries will permit two or three containers in one adult-size plot. Some (unnecessarily) require that you pur-chase an urn vault. For home burial, keep in mind that unless you have a family cemetery on your property, eventually the land is likely to be sold and the land used for other purposes.
Scattering cremains over an area that had significance to the deceased is legal in most jurisdictions. Although there are commercial firms which will handle the cremated remains for a fee, most families prefer to do this themselves. Remains that are being scattered should be processed by the crematory to reduce all frag-ments to fine particles.
Scattering at sea is available to all veterans and dependents and is provided by the Navy or Coast Guard. Because sea burials are done at the convenience of the military, the family may not witness sea burial.
While federal regulations technically require cremated remains to be scattered three miles out from shore, the Environmental Protection Agency says they are not concerned about families scattering ashes at the beach and never enforce this regulation with private families.
Keep the cremated remains in an urn or nice box. You can buy an urn from a funeral home or on line, or you can use something else. When cremains are being saved to provide memories, it's nice to put them in a container related to the de-ceased's life, such as a favorite vase, a special wine bottle, a terrarium, etc.
Some funeral homes will suggest that you need to purchase a “temporary container”, but you have a legal right to refuse and use the con-tainer that comes from the crematory.
Cremains can also be divided among family members to keep or to be sprinkled or buried in several different places (i.e. with a first and second spouse).