Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Estate Planning > What Are The Most Environmentally Sustainable Methods Of Disposition Of Remains?

What Are The Most Environmentally Sustainable Methods Of Disposition Of Remains?


The beginning of a new year can provide the incentive to write or update your will, and so can your marriage, the birth of a child or grandchild, or the acquisition of a valuable asset through purchase or inheritance.  Even if you are single and broke, if you need a reason to write a will, you need only look in the mirror or pinch yourself.  What do you see?  What do you feel?  It is your body, and if you do not write a will, then what to do with it after you die will be someone else’s difficult decision.  Imagine if one of your sisters is sure that you would have wanted to be cremated, while the other is sure that you would have wanted to be buried; any possible resolution will leave at least one of them with a lifetime of regrets.  Even if you have no descendants and own no property to speak of, it is important to write a will if only to express your wishes about the final disposition of your remains.  A Tampa estate planning attorney can help you ensure that your will complies with legal requirements.

Beyond Burial and Cremation

If you are concerned about planet Earth being inhabitable for future generations, perhaps you are not enthusiastic about either of the most common options for disposition of remains, namely burial and cremation.  Eventually, bodies and wooden coffins disintegrate and become part of the earth, but modern embalming methods and burial materials make the process take a very long time.  Ashes are also a wholesome substance, but the process of cremation as it is usually practiced uses more fuel and causes more pollution than you might expect.  There are other, more environmentally sustainable means of disposition of remains, some of which are available in Florida.

Alkaline Hydrolysis Is Available in Florida, but Human Composting Is Not

Several years ago, Florida law expanded the definition of cremation to include alkaline hydrolysis, also known as flameless cremation or aqua cremation.  Alkaline hydrolysis involves placing the body in a vat of alkaline chemicals at high temperatures.  Within several hours, the chemicals dissolve the soft tissues of the body into a sterile solution which can be disposed of like any wastewater.  Only the bones remain, and these can be ground into a powder for the same kinds of final disposition as cremated ashes, such as scattering or storage in an urn.

Six states allow human composting, but Florida is not one of them.  In human composting, microbes reduce the body to soil over the course of a month and the resulting soil is given to the decedent’s relatives for burial or planting in the garden of the decedent’s family home.  New York and Vermont offer human composting, as do several states out west.

Contact David Toback With Questions About Expressing Your Wishes in Your Will

A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you write a new version of your will in which you clearly express your wishes for final disposition of remains.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.




Facebook Twitter LinkedIn