Options for Cremated Remains

Freeman Brothers has been carrying out funerals in Sussex and Surrey since 1855. As we have been so long established as Funeral Directors, we have a good sense of some of the most common questions people have around funerals. Taking feedback from colleagues in Horsham, Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint as to what we are asked […]

Estimated Reading Time:

Freeman Brothers has been carrying out funerals in Sussex and Surrey since 1855. As we have been so long established as Funeral Directors, we have a good sense of some of the most common questions people have around funerals. Taking feedback from colleagues in Horsham, Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint as to what we are asked frequently, we have produced a series of blog posts addressing some of these issues.

Today, we will be looking at options for the cremated remains, often referred to as ‘ashes’ – what they come back from the Crematorium in, what else they can be placed in, and some of the possible options for them.

How many ashes do we receive?

More than you might think. One of the many misconceptions which has arisen from film and TV is regarding the quantity of cremated remains. A container of up to four litres’ capacity may be required for a full quantity of an adult’s remains. This should be taken into account when choosing a container not specifically designed for ashes storage.

What will the ashes come back in?

Most crematoria include provision of a standard container within their charge. This will typically be one of two things:

-a polyurn- a plastic container with a lid which unscrews, sometimes described as resembling a traditional sweet jar; or

-a cardboard box designed for the purpose- similar in dimensions to a shoebox and typically with an inner layer so it is secure.

These aren’t necessarily the most appealing in terms of appearance- and it’s worth mentioning that some people particularly dislike the idea of cardboard box. However, they are perfectly serviceable and ideal for the remains to be transported and stored in, short term. Some burial places ask for a biodegradable container and cardboard is useful for this.

If the crematorium is one where a client has to provide their own container, or the standard option doesn’t appeal, a choice has to be made. It’s not essential to choose something intended for this purpose. We have known clients to place some – or all – of the ashes in a variety of containers, including hollow statues, plant pots and even a favourite storage tin of the person who has died. What is important is it can be securely sealed, at least semi-permanently and, as mentioned above, the capacity is sufficient to the need.

How do we scatter the ashes?

Scattering ashes is a wish for lots of people but there are understandable concerns. To make the process easy, we recommend a scatter tube, such as this one. They are specially designed to ensure the remains can be scattered in a respectful manner and are relatively inexpensive. We will always help to transfer the ashes into one of these for you and ensure it is correctly prepared so that those involved can concentrate on the scattering itself and not be concerned with the practicalities. There are many design options available.

The scattering of ashes is very normal but the legal position over it is more complex than might be imagined. Many people tell us that their wish is to carry out a scattering discreetly and privately, often in a secluded place in the countryside. It is difficult to imagine legal procedures being undertaken against anyone acting in this manner- the spirit of the law is very different to the letter of the law here.

If there is a wish to scatter cremated remains on public land- or private land belonging to anyone other than yourself- permission should be sought of the landowning authority and whatever procedures they require be followed. This may involve recordkeeping and/or fees being paid. A lot of this depends on the destination of the ashes, and some locations may allow scatterings in principle but only in certain areas or a certain quantity of remains in a given period.

How do we choose a casket or urn?

This can be hard, as they come in a huge range. It’s difficult to even begin to describe the selection, other than to say most things seem to be available. Our offices have a small range on display, mostly to give indications as to size, but we would always direct you to the website of our main supplier so that you can see a wider selection.

Is there a range of sizes?

Yes. There are many containers are designed to hold a complete set of remains, but designs are often available in several sizes, which can go down to smaller ‘keepsake’ dimensions to hold a token portion. These can be used to keep a portion back when most of the ashes have been interred or scattered. Smaller ones can be useful if more than one person would like to keep some of the remains – splitting them so that each family member can choose what to do with their respective portion is not unusual- although not everyone likes this idea.

What happens next?

Once a choice has been made, Freeman Brothers will order and receive them on your behalf.  This is just one of the many ways that our aftercare continues – sometimes long after the funeral service has taken place – as is our willingness to transfer the ashes into your chosen receptacle, regardless of where it has been obtained.

Where can the ashes go?

There are many possibilities for a permanent resting place. The first of these is a Crematorium – the venue where the cremation took place is a straightforward option. Most crematoria have options for ashes to be both scattered and buried, and they may have smaller private gardens which can be purchased for a family’s sole use. There may be a cost-free standard option included with the crematorium’s fee- this is often for the ashes to be scattered in a communal Garden of Rest.

Many people’s choice of Crematorium is dictated by wanting the ashes to go there, perhaps to be placed with other family members’ remains, but this is often not necessary. It’s relatively straightforward to arrange for ashes cremated elsewhere to be placed in the grounds of another Crematorium. There will be a form to fill out and a small fee to pay- but this amount might be less than the amount of money saved by using a cheaper facility for the service itself.

Many cemeteries and burial grounds have areas for cremated remains to be buried- and perhaps also scattered. There is a cost to purchase a plot or have a scattering. Churchyards often have Gardens of Remembrance where ashes can be placed, but may not allow scatterings.

What if one partner wants to be buried, and one cremated?

The main way to reunite people who do not share the same preference as to burial and cremation is to bury ashes in a grave containing the body of someone who has previously died- or which has been purchased with that future intention. If the cremation funeral takes place first, the ashes can also be retained until the time of the burial of the second person.

We can’t decide- what should we do?

Ashes can be kept at home indefinitely if a decision cannot be made as to their final destination. There are no rules to prohibit this and it is very common. However, our experience is that it becomes harder to make this decision over time. Someone will eventually have to make a choice. Leaving it to a relative or friend to decide might be preferred, but then you need to ensure they know it is their decision. Otherwise, they may worry that you had a specific plan to which they were not made party and, therefore, that they will not do the right thing.

If there are any questions about ashes, or if we can help you with an interment, please do let us know – and please do also feel free to contact us about any other aspect of our services.

0 Comments

Written by Abi Pattenden

Manager

February 14, 2024

You may also like…

Music for Funerals: what’s appropriate?

Music for Funerals: what’s appropriate?

Freeman Brothers was first established as a funeral director in Horsham, West Sussex, in 1855. The company now has a further three offices across the county – in Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint – and continues to provide funeral services to residents of...

read more
Funeral Officiants: your questions answered

Funeral Officiants: your questions answered

Freeman Brothers has been carrying out funerals in Sussex and Surrey since 1855. As we have been so long established as Funeral Directors, we have a good sense of some of the most common questions people have around funerals. Taking feedback from colleagues in...

read more
Eco Friendly Funerals: what are the options?

Eco Friendly Funerals: what are the options?

Freeman Brothers has been a funeral director in West Sussex for almost 170 years, and in that time has seen many changes in bereaved people’s requirements. Our colleagues in Horsham, Billingshurst, Crawley and Hurstpierpoint have told us some of their Frequently Asked...

read more

Archives

Call us at any time on 01403 254590 or email mail@freemanbrothers.co.uk