Creative New Alternatives to Cremation or Burial – Estate Planning for Your Final Resting Place

The universe of options for alternatives to traditional cremation or burial for ways to create final resting place for your Earthly remains is constantly expanding.  Some of the newer options for disposition of human remains focus on finding more environmentally-friendly ways to go, besides traditional cremation or burial

Washington State has recently legalized a new method of body preparation called recomposition. Unlike burial or cremation, with recomposition the full body of the deceased is allowed to naturally deteriorate to become fertile soil. The new law also allows for the choice of alkaline hydrolysis, also known as water cremation. Both methods are touted as being more environmentally friendly than their traditional counterparts. In addition to these newly legal methods there already exist a few ‘alternative burial’ options that a number of our clients have selected instead of the traditional expensive casket burial or cremation in the concerns that their ashes may simply end up in someone’s storage container.

For a burial alternative, if you are opposed to cremation you may consider one of the following:

  • Green Burial. Green burial generally means your body will not be embalmed and can be buried in a biodegradable casket or container.
  • Direct Burial. A direct burial is something you can work out with a funeral home, this service usually involves refrigeration of a body rather than embalming prior to burial, after which a body is interred in a simple container instead of an expensive casket.
  • Recomposition (sometimes also called ‘human composting) is not a burial in the traditional sense, in that the process allows for the transformation of human remains into a material somewhat like garden mulch. At the end of the recomposition process, your loved ones are left with fertile earth they can scatter anywhere to nourish a garden or a tree.

If cremation is something that you are considering you may also be interested in one of the following:

  • Alkaline Hydrolysis. Water cremation is more eco friendly that its fire based alternative and that has an end result of both a liquid and a bone dust ash. The ashes can be kept the same as currently created ashes and depending on the funeral home you could also request some of the liquid to add to a garden or plant.
  • Tree Bio-Urn. There are a number of companies that offer to turn your loved ones ashes into a planter or ‘bio urn’ to feed a seedling of a tree or plant.
  • Cremains Diamond. There are a couple of companies out there where you can mail in your loved ones ashes and they use machines to heat and pressurize the ashes into a diamond. This process can be expensive but leaves a lasting valuable keepsake for your loved ones.
  • Cremains Spun Glass. There are a number of companies that will mix your ashes with the chemicals to create spun glass and can create ornaments, vases, and even fine china for you to leave with your loved ones.
  • Cremation Vacation. A cremation vacation is where you direct a loved one to scatter your ashes in a certain place such as Hawaii, the ocean, or at a favorite family retreat. You can also hire specialized services to spread the ashes if your loved ones cannot make the journey themselves.https://www.cremationsolutions.com/information/scattering-ashes/cremation-scattering-ashes-services-and-providers
  • Send Your Ashes to Space. For just a few thousand dollars ($6,000 as of Summer 2020) you can pay to have your ashes scattered in to the uppermost atmosphere of the planet with a video of your ashes being launched provided to your family. http://www.mesoloft.com/faq has more information about this interesting new option.

If all this information about options for your final resting place has you thinking about your end of life plans and wishes, please call Limitless Law PLLC at 360-685-0145 and we would be happy to help put your wishes down in a legally-binding will and estate plan so that your loved ones know exactly what you want.