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Funerals/scattering cremation remains


QUESTION: My family wants to scatter cremation remains on a public beach on the east coast of Florida.  One family member wants to leave the ashes on rose petals at sunset and let high tide wash them away. I'm concerned with this, as I don't think it is right to leave the ashes on the beach.  I also wonder what the fine is if someone were to find us and have an issue with what is taking place.  I'm advocating for a private beach. Can you address my concerns?  Thank you for your time.

ANSWER: There is no law to limit the scattering of ashes there. I would not leave the whole box, however, as someone might come and pick up the box wondering what it is. Emptying the box onto the rose petals would be fine.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The research I have done indicates that in Florida ashes must be scattered several miles out at sea.  This is one reason why I have been concerned with the legality.  Can you please address this for me?

The EPA--a federal agency--says they must be scattered three miles out. BUT that's because the STATE--not the feds--control three miles in. California is the only one with laws within the three mile distance--not from a bridge and at least 500 feet out.

So you can go right ahead.

BTW, there are no "cremains police" in any state including CA. LOL


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Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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