Every state will have certain laws about what can happen to a body after death. For instance, many states will regulate cremation, burial, embalming, how to get a death certificate, and scattering ashes.
If you want a death certificate, then it will need go to the local registar to be filed no later than 8 days after death and it must be filed before cremating or burring process can happen. easiest way to get a copy would be to ask the organization that files the certificates to order one for you at the time of death. This is often a crematory, funeral home or mortuary. It is best to get 10 copies because you will need to submit a certified copy every time there is a claim for benefits or property that belonged to the deceased.
In order to get a certified copy, you have to be the sibling, child, grandparent, legal guardian, partner, parent, or spouse of the deceased.
In California, a body must be embalmed or refrigerated if the burial or cremation will not be done in 24 hours. There is an exception for those who are having a home funeral. If the body is being shipped, then it must be embalmed and if it is not possible to embalm the body, then it must be sealed in an approved container.
You do not have to have a casket for a burial or cremation. However, you should check with the cemetery or crematorium on the rules about containers.
In California, all bodies will need to be buried in an established cemetery. If you want to bury a body on private land, then check with the county zoning or municipal zoning to see if you can establish a family cemetery. It may be very possible if you live in a rural area.
There are federal and state laws about scattering and storing ashes. California will allow you to dispose of cremated remains by burying them in a cemetery, placing them in a mausoleum or columbarium. You are able to store them within a religious structure, only if zoning laws allow it. You can keep them in your home, but California law states you have to have a permit and sign an agreement that states you will not remove the remains from the container and before your death you have to have a plan for disposal. You are also able to scatter the ashes within a scattering garden in a cemetery or you can scatter the ashes in a place where it is not prohibited at as long as you have written permission from the agency or property owner. You can scatter them in inland waters or at sea, but they must be 500 yards from shore, except for in a lake or stream and you have to notify the EPA that you have scattered the ashes in the water within 30 days of doing so. You can also scatter them by air as long as you don’t drop any objects that harm people. Cremated remains are not seen to be a hazardous material, so as long as you remove the ashes from a container and scatter them you should be fine.