Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Indiana Cremation Laws

Cremation has become a common choice for those looking to memorialize their loved ones. But many still wonder what is allowed in terms of cremation.  

Each state has different cremation laws, and Indiana is no exception. Read on to learn what you need to know about cremating a loved one in Indiana. 

An Overview of Cremation Laws in Indiana

Unlike in some states, cremation laws in Indiana are fairly clear. To start, the law says that cremated remains can be kept by anyone who is legally entitled to own them, such as the next of kin. There are no legal restrictions when it comes to memorializing them within the many options of an Indiana cemetery, such as a cremation niche, crypt, or burial plot. The one slight exception to that is if you wish to scatter ashes in an Indiana cemetery, it must be within a designated space for such an action, such as a scattering garden. This is an increasingly popular choice, as the typical serene scenery of a cemetery scattering gardens makes for a peaceful place for reflection.

There are also no Indiana cremation laws prohibiting residents from scattering cremated remains on their own private property. Remains can also be scattered on someone else's private property, as long as the owner consents. Any uninhabited public land or waterway is also permissible, though you do need to file a form with your county recorder in order to document the final disposition of the deceased.

Besides these clear and permissive rules, there are no state laws regulating what you can do with cremated remains. There are, however, several federal laws, which we will get into next. Furthermore, some religious faiths have specific rules regarding cremation, such as how the Catholic faith prefers cremated remains be interred within a casket in a burial plot. Check with your local religious leader to clarify if any regulations are required based on faith.

a road with grass on the side

1 Scattering Over Land

Indiana Cremation Laws for Scattering on Land

As stated above, Indiana law offers standard guidance on how and where land-based scattering can take place. These include stating that there are no limitations on choosing to scatter on your own private property, as you are the property owner and therefore consent to the act. When it comes to the private property of others, though, this is another matter - if you don't seek consent from the property owner you are technically trespassing, not to mention violating one of the few concrete Indiana cremation law.

When it comes to land-based scattering on public property, there are few limitations as long as the land is considered "uninhabited." That said, a local state or county does have the right to place additional restrictions on their own parks and public spaces, so you should check with a local authority if interested in such an option.

On a federal level, it's up to the U.S. government, not the state of Indiana, and many national parks do allow scattering remains if you seek permission beforehand.

2 Scattering Over Water

Indiana Cremation Laws for Scattering over Water

Indiana is mostly landlocked, though it is bordered partially by Lake Michigan to the north and the Ohio and Wabash Rivers to the south and southwest. There are, of course, countless inland lakes within the state, such as Patoka Lake, Lake Monroe, and Brookville Lake. These are all popular vacation and camping locations, and we mention them to identify that an Indiana native who enjoyed these activities may very well have wished for a final resting place on one of these bodies of water. Besides the "uninhabited waters" requirement by the state, the rest of these waterways are regulated by federal authorities and laws like the Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Clean Water Act.

You can legally scatter ashes in Lake Michigan as long as you are at least three nautical miles from shore. However, you can't dispose of a non-biodegradable container in the lake - that has to be disposed of elsewhere. You also need to notify the EPA within 30 days of scattering in Lake Michigan. Additionally, you can't scatter ashes at any nearby beaches under the EPA. For smaller lakes, streams, or rivers in Indiana, you should check with whatever state agency that manages that body of water to see if you need a permit.

3 Other Ways to Scatter

Other Scattering Methods in Indiana

If land or sea does not seem appropriate, another option for scattering is to do so above it all — at the altitude afforded by an aircraft or hot air balloon.

There are no Indiana state laws prohibiting the scattering from such a height, as long as aviation regulates are following. However, where the law is quite clear is that no object may fall from that height. That means while it's okay to scatter cremated remains, it is not okay to drop the container. Please do be careful.

Indiana Cremation Laws for Scattering on Land

As stated above, Indiana law offers standard guidance on how and where land-based scattering can take place. These include stating that there are no limitations on choosing to scatter on your own private property, as you are the property owner and therefore consent to the act. When it comes to the private property of others, though, this is another matter - if you don't seek consent from the property owner you are technically trespassing, not to mention violating one of the few concrete Indiana cremation law.

When it comes to land-based scattering on public property, there are few limitations as long as the land is considered "uninhabited." That said, a local state or county does have the right to place additional restrictions on their own parks and public spaces, so you should check with a local authority if interested in such an option.

On a federal level, it's up to the U.S. government, not the state of Indiana, and many national parks do allow scattering remains if you seek permission beforehand.

Indiana Cremation Laws for Scattering over Water

Indiana is mostly landlocked, though it is bordered partially by Lake Michigan to the north and the Ohio and Wabash Rivers to the south and southwest. There are, of course, countless inland lakes within the state, such as Patoka Lake, Lake Monroe, and Brookville Lake. These are all popular vacation and camping locations, and we mention them to identify that an Indiana native who enjoyed these activities may very well have wished for a final resting place on one of these bodies of water. Besides the "uninhabited waters" requirement by the state, the rest of these waterways are regulated by federal authorities and laws like the Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Clean Water Act.

You can legally scatter ashes in Lake Michigan as long as you are at least three nautical miles from shore. However, you can't dispose of a non-biodegradable container in the lake - that has to be disposed of elsewhere. You also need to notify the EPA within 30 days of scattering in Lake Michigan. Additionally, you can't scatter ashes at any nearby beaches under the EPA. For smaller lakes, streams, or rivers in Indiana, you should check with whatever state agency that manages that body of water to see if you need a permit.

Other Scattering Methods in Indiana

If land or sea does not seem appropriate, another option for scattering is to do so above it all — at the altitude afforded by an aircraft or hot air balloon.

There are no Indiana state laws prohibiting the scattering from such a height, as long as aviation regulates are following. However, where the law is quite clear is that no object may fall from that height. That means while it's okay to scatter cremated remains, it is not okay to drop the container. Please do be careful.

Other Indiana Cremation Laws

As demonstrated above, Indiana cremation laws do not place many limitations on how you choose to scatter the remains of loved ones. Instead, federal laws end up being most applicable, as long as restrictions put in place by local entities or private land owners. If you do not have permission for a public location, first make sure the area is considered "uninhabited."

If you would like more information, you can speak to a memorial planning expert at a local Indiana cemetery. This list of Indiana-based cemeteries is a great place to get started.


References:


Keene, V. A. (2019, May 10). Burial & Cremation Laws in Indiana. Www.Nolo.Com.
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/burial-cremation-laws-indiana.html

We had a wonderful experience with Missy, Scott and the staff at Covington Memorial Gardens & Funeral home. They were compassionate, sensitive, and went above and beyond to help us through difficult decisions during a tragic time. Communication was excellent, and the team ensured everything ran smoothly. Would highly recommend their services.
Caitrin - February '22 Covington Memorial Funeral Home & Cemetery
Staff at this cemetery have been so kind and patient as we work through the tough experience of burying my parents.The physical setting is peaceful and close to the places we often go.
Kate - December '21 St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park
I had the best experience with Doug Hyatt at Forest Lawn in Greenwood. Doug was very professional and knowledgeable. He and Josh took time with me and made sure I got the best deal possible. I could tell they had my best interest in mind. I purchased arrangements for my son to secure he will be close to my family when his time comes. I have 2 family members buried there. I purchased my space a few years ago. This was the 4th space I've bought at Forest Lawn. I left there feeling like I saved a lot of money by buying now. It's difficult to think of the end of life but it helps knowing you've relieved some worry of your loved ones. I find comfort knowing this is done.
JoAnn - November '21 Forest Lawn Memory Gardens & Funeral Home
Excellent services provided when times are difficult. Elliot is always ready with solutions. Its never easy, but Elliot and staff guide families thru difficult times. Professional and compassionate.
Lu - October '21 Calvary Cemetery
close