Transporting and Spreading of Cremated Remains

August 23, 2013  |  Joan M. Quade

Cremation has become a common and popular method of putting our loved ones to rest. More and more of us are requesting that our remains be spread in a place with meaning for us or our family, or in exotic places. In practicing law for over 25 years, I have been asked many times by clients, friends and relatives about the law related to the spreading of ashes.
It is important to understand the law governing the transportation of and spreading of cremated remains in order to avoid the pitfalls. While Minnesota has some specific laws in this regard, there are not many. Minn. Stat. § 149A.96, subd. 9, entitled “Cremated Remains” provides:
Subject to section 149A.95, subdivision 16, inurnment of the cremated remains and release to an appropriate party is considered final disposition and no further permits or authorizations are required for disinterment, transportation, or placement of the cremated remains.”
Minn. Stat. § 149A.95, Subd. 16. Disposition procedures; commingling of cremated remains prohibited:
“No cremated remains shall be disposed of or scattered in a manner or in a location where the cremated remains are commingled with those of another person without the express written permission of the person with the legal right to control disposition or as otherwise provided by law. This subdivision does not apply to the burial of cremated remains at sea from individual containers, to the scattering or burial of cremated remains in a dedicated cemetery, to the disposal in a dedicated cemetery of accumulated residue removed from a cremation chamber or other cremation equipment, to the inurnment of members of the same family in a common container designed for the cremated remains of more than one body, or to the inurnment in a container or interment in a space that has been previously designated, at the time of sale or purchase, as being intended for the inurnment or interment of the cremated remains of more than one person.”