10 Intriguing Things to Do with Your Cremains When You Die

Pictured: Forevurn Kaleidoscope Urn

Steve Munt is a cat lover with a keen interest in outer space. While most grieving pet owners keep their furry friends’ remains at home in an urn or buried in the yard, Munt wanted to do something special for his cat, Pikachu, who passed away after a long battle with feline diabetes. According to Munt, “Pikachu is a hero, and I am honoring him as such.”

Munt launched a fundraising campaign about two months ago and has raised $1,535 of his $5,000 goal. That’s how much Celestis charges for its memorial spaceflight for a pet. Even if he doesn’t raise any more money, Munt is intent on sending his cat’s remains to space and is hoping to join him one day when his time shall come.

When You Want Your Last Wishes to be as Unique as You Are

When most people think about a final resting place, options such as a casket or an urn likely come to mind. However, there may be people out there who are concerned about the environmental effects of burial or cremation, or who simply want to do something different. And, for those people, there are more intriguing and unusual ways than ever to settle your remains. Here are ten ways that are certainly worth mentioning:

  1. Kaleidoscopes: Kaleidoscopes are often beautiful to look through, but they can have meaning too. A Forevurn is a handmade, keepsake kaleidoscope that is a stylish work of art. It allows a family to collect their most cherished items of a loved one, place them in an easy to open object chamber, and enjoy the magic of exquisite, ever changing kaleidoscope images for generations to come! The Forevurn kaleidoscope sits on a cradle which sits atop a vault for cremations ashes. The Forevurn can be personalized with anything from engraving of names and dates, to photographic laser images. And it just so happens that the Forevurn is the brainchild of one of my cousins!
  2. Compost: The Washington state legislature recently passed a bill that, if signed by the governor, will allow human bodies to be composted — and used for mulch. If legalized, a Seattle-based company called Recompose plans to offer a service called “natural organic reduction” that uses microbes to transform the departed — skin, bones and all.
  3. A diamond ring: You can now use carbon from your ashes to create a diamond ring. Heart in Diamond, or Life Gem, are two companies that create memorial diamonds, a sparkling reminder of those they love and have lost.
  4. A tattoo: Certain personal tattoo artists will fuse your deceased loved one with your skin by mixing the ashes into the ink. If you feel that a cremation ash tattoo would be right for you, you should interview a few reputable tattoo artists who have experience with cremains and learn about how they would approach designing and tattooing you.
  5. A helium balloon: Eternal ascent will put remains in a helium balloon and allow it to float into the air before exploding in the atmosphere. During the balloon’s ascent it expands and at a height of approximately 6 miles (where it is 40 degrees below zero) it freezes and fractures, scattering the ashes to the four winds.
  6. Fireworks: Angel Flights will shoot your cremains and shower them upon the earth in a blaze of glory. Often the firework display is accompanied by some of the favorite songs of the deceased. For a small and private firework ceremony at home, the ashes are stuffed into small, self-fired rockets that can be easily shot off at home.
  7. A painting: Art in Ashes and will mix a portion of the cremation ashes into oil colors and then use it to create beautiful oil painting. The painting can be of the deceased or anything else depending upon your preference.
  8. Music: Andvinyly offers a truly unique way for audiophiles to honor their dearly departed. The company will expertly insert your loved one’s cremated ashes within a vinyl record that plays the music of your choosing, or even a personalized recording.
  9. Stained-Glass Window: Sunflower Glassworks will turn your loved ones’ ashes into beautiful windows and other stained-glass pieces.
  10. Rifle and Shotgun Shells: If hunting is your thing, Holy Smoke will turn a portion of your ashes into ammunition, placing a measured portion of ash into each shotshell or cartridge, for one last hunting trip.

Make Your Burial Desires Known While You Still Can

What if you want a kaleidoscope or a painting or a stained-glass window made with your cremains or if you want to be sent into space with your cat? How would your loved ones know if you haven’t indicated your wishes in your Advance Medical Directive?

Our proprietary 4-Needs Advance Medical Directive® enables you to set forth your preferences with regard to organ donation, funeral arrangements, and disposition of remains. The document also accomplishes several essential things. In your 4-Needs Advance Medical Directive®, you can appoint an agent and give that person the power to consent to medical and health care decisions on your behalf. This person can decide whether to withhold or withdraw a specific medical treatment or course of treatment when you are incapable of making or communicating an informed decision yourself. Our 4-Needs Advance Medical Directive® also contains a proprietary and newly-expanded Long-Term Care Directive® that allows you to address dozens of important issues that arise if and when long-term care is needed and you’re unable to communicate your wishes. If you’re an existing member of our Lifetime Protection Plan™, you’re encouraged to contact us to create a new Advance Medical Directive with our newly-expanded Long-Term Care Directive®.

If you have not done Incapacity Planning (including our 4-Needs Advance Medical Directive® and Financial Power of Attorney), Estate Planning, or Long-Term Care Planning, or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, please contact us to schedule your appointment for our initial consultation:

Estate Planning Fairfax: 703-691-1888
Estate Planning Fredericksburg: 540-479-1435
Estate Planning Rockville: 301-519-8041
Estate Planning DC: 202-587-2797

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.