Dividing Ashes After Cremation

How to Divide Ashes After Cremation

I always recommend that the dividing of ashes is done by a funeral director. From experience, it can be a very emotional experience and one which, if something small does go wrong, it can be very upsetting. 

How do you handle cremation ashes?

If there hasn’t been an interment of ashes, then the ashes typically arrive from a crematorium, the ashes will typically be inside either a plastic tub with a screw lid or a cardboard box, inside a bag. If you would like to divide the ashes yourself, then please do take great care and make sure you have everything you need to hand:

  • Containers to divide the ashes into
  • A floor covering to catch any potential spillages
  • A funnel to help make things as easy as possible
  • Gloves just in case

How much ash is left after cremation?

In terms of volume, the rule of thumb used by funeral directors is 1 cubic inch per lb the deceased weighed before death. This equals around 1 litre in volume per 4 stone of weight. (eg a 12 stone male would have about 3 litres of ash)
In terms of weight, the rule of thumb used by funeral directors is approx 3.5% of the deceased body weight. (eg a 12 stone males ashes would weigh approximately 0.42 stone (or 5.9 lbs / 2.7kg)

Is it safe to touch cremated ashes?

Yes. All that is left of a body after the cremation are natural minerals that a human body is made from, all of which are safe to touch. For clarification, sand is probably the most like-for-like material to practice with if you wanted to do so beforehand.

Important Note: Please never attempt to do this outside or with a window open as the wind can have terrible consequences.

Is it OK to split up ashes?

Why Divide ashes?

Diving ashes can be done for a number of reasons. Multiple family members might want to keep some of the ashes close to them and choose to do with them as they wish. There might be multiple places that the deceased wanted to be placed (water, burial, abroad) so dividing the ashes could be an obvious choice.

The most common reason to divide ashes is that family members all want some of the ashes to remember the deceased and they feel comfort in knowing that they will be held close to them.

When to divide ashes?

Cremated remains are usually collected by either the funeral director or the person who arranged for the ceremony the day after the cremation. After receiving the ashes, you can decide when and how to divide them up.

What to do with ashes

Once divided you have a number of options for things to do with the ashes. 

Within our guide on what to do with ashes, we have outlined a number of options, but in reality, there are endless options that range from simple small keepsake urns and jewellery to more outside-the-box things like sending the ashes into space, incorporating them into a tattoo or being made into a diamond.