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Funerals/Exhuming cremains in PA to take to England


We moved from England in 1967. My Mom passed away in 1980 and was cremated and buried outside Philadelphia PA. My Dad later moved back to England, and all of us kids moved from the area also. Before my Dad passed away, I asked him if he would mind if I took Mom's ashes back to England where she actually wanted to be. He was good with it. My brother and I want to take Mom's ashes from where they are buried back to England.

What is the PA law regarding my ability to have my Mom's ashes exhumed?

What are the regulations for me taking her ashes to England?

It shouldn't be a problem at all. Simply talk to the cemetery and explain the situation. When flying with cremated remains, make sure they're not in a metal urn. It needs to go thro' the scanner. Offering to open the urn doesn't help. You might avoid ceramic, too, as some ceramics have metal in the glaze. Cardboard or wood would be fine.

Laws are non-existant for cremated remains in most states including PA which is why my earlier answer might not have seemed specific to PA.


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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

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