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Disposition of Remains Attorney in Salem, Oregon

According to an annual Consumer Awareness and Preferences Study by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), only 21.4 percent of Americans have planned their actual funeral arrangements or communicated their funeral plans and wishes to their loved ones. Providing clear funeral instructions and your wishes for the disposition of your remains helps surviving family members plan a meaningful tribute to their deceased loved ones.

If you're starting to think about end-of-life planning or if you need assistance drafting a disposition of remains or estate plan, consulting with a knowledgeable Oregon estate planning attorney is crucial for detailed guidance. Attorney David Bearman is dedicated to guiding clients through the estate planning process. As your attorney, he can help you understand the benefits of having the disposition of remains instructions and explore available final disposition options that fit your unique needs. He will offer you the detailed legal guidance and advocacy you need to navigate the complexities of end-of-life and estate planning.

Bearman Law proudly serves clients throughout Oregon including the communities in and around Salem and Lake Oswego.

What is the Disposition of Remains?

Disposition of remains is a legal concept used to describe the manner in which a person's remains are finally handled upon their death. The disposition of remains document is one of the key elements that constitute an estate plan. In the document, a person can provide specific instructions regarding how they want their body to be treated after passing away, coupled with other ceremonial details.

Don’t Let Someone Decide

What are the Options?

Pursuant to Oregon Revised Statutes section 432.133, a death certificate must be filed with the county registrar within five days after the death and before the final disposition of the body. The most common disposition options are as follows:


Burial is a method of final disposition that involves placing a dead person's body into the ground (interring). A burial can be in-ground or above-ground.

  • In-Ground: In-ground or earth burial involves placing a deceased loved one's body in the ground, usually with a casket.

  • Above Ground: Also known as entombment, this involves placing the deceased loved one's body inside a niche within a burial structure such as a tomb, mausoleum, or crypt.


Cremation involves applying intense heat to the deceased body in order to reduce the body to bone fragments. The procedure is done in a special furnace referred to as a cremation chamber and takes up to three hours. The various types of cremation include:

  • Direct cremation

  • Cremation using Alkaline Hydrolysis (Liquid)

  • Cremation using Natural Gas (Green/environmentally friendly)

Whole-Body Donation

Whole-body donation involves giving up the deceased body for medical research, law enforcement training, or anatomical study. Through medical research, training, and education opportunities, whole-body donations can possibly improve the lives of countless individuals. The organization receiving the body donation usually covers the cost of transportation, embalming, and final disposition.

Organ Donation

Organ donation involves giving up healthy organs and tissues of the deceased body for transplantation into another living person. This method of final disposition can provide a great way to contribute something positive to the world or give another person a chance at life. Organs that can be donated include the heart, eyes, lung, liver, kidney, intestines, and tissues.

Where Can Ashes Be Spread After Cremation?

In Oregon, no state laws control where ashes can be kept or scattered following cremation. You can store the ashes in a niche, crypt, grave, or container at home. Various places to scatter ashes include:

  • Established scattering gardens provided by the cemetery.

  • Your own private land.

  • Public property. Before scattering ashes on local public land, endeavor to check both county and city regulations and rules.

  • Federal land. Request official permission before scattering ashes on federal land.

Before ashes are spread on private property, permission should be obtained. Some establishments have strict policies prohibiting it. For example, Disney parks strictly forbid the release of ashes on their property and will ban violators.

Burials at sea must follow the guidelines of the federal Clean Water Act which requires cremated remains to be scattered at least three nautical miles from land. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prohibits scattering at beaches or in wading pools near the ocean.

Work With an Experienced
Estate Planning Attorney

Specifying funeral arrangements prior to your death can save your surviving family members, the headache and ambiguity surrounding your final remains. In the event that you're no longer available to tell them your wishes, your loved ones can benefit from knowing how you want your body to be treated upon your death. A knowledgeable Oregon disposition of remains attorney can help you decide the right funeral, burial, or cremation option that best fits your unique preference.

Bearman Law is highly experienced and knowledgeable in handling estate planning matters, including wills, trusts, probate, trust administration, and disposition of remains. Attorney David Bearman will help you understand your possible final disposition options. As your legal counsel, he will provide the detailed guidance you need to draft your estate plan and disposition of remains document. David will work diligently with you to address your needs and concerns and those of your surviving family members.

Experienced Disposition of Remains Attorney Serving Salem, Oregon

If you need proper guidance drawing up your disposition of remains or estate planning document, contact Bearman Law today to schedule a free one-on-one consultation. David can offer you the experienced legal counsel, advocacy, and assistance you need to navigate key decisions in your end-of-life planning. Located in Salem, Attorney David Bearman is proud to serve clients throughout Oregon.