Is it Legal to Scatter Cremated Human Remains in the State of Washington?

Per E. Oscarsson, Edmonds Lawyer

The short answer is yes, but there are requirements. A person who is legally entitled to control the disposition of human remains by scattering may do so without a permit. That person could be the person whose ashes are involved if they signed a document, properly witnessed, that expressed their wishes. If that person did not sign such a document or prearrange disposition of their remains, Washington law provides the order in which other people have the right to control the disposition of the deceased’s remains. However, if another person is designated to dispose of the remains and that person regularly or occasionally disposes of human ashes for others, that designated person must register with the state for a disposition permit if the disposition is to occur outside a dedicated cemetery property.

The location for scattering of human ashes is also subject to certain requirements. The scattering can happen on private property with the consent of the property owner. It can happen on public or government lands or water with the approval of the government agency that has jurisdiction or control, or both, of the lands or waters.

Disposing of human remains, except as otherwise provided by law, in any place except a cemetery or building dedicated exclusively for religious purposes, is a misdemeanor.

To learn more about Is it Legal to Scatter Cremated Human Remains in the State of Washington?, please contact Beresford Booth at or by phone at (425) 776-4100.

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