Dividing a Loved One's Ashes Into Multiple Memorials

The passing of a loved one is a time filled with strong emotions. In addition to this, there is also a lot to do, including notifying family and friends, getting their affairs in order, choosing burial or cremation (assuming this was not decided in advance), planning a funeral or memorial service, and deciding on a memorial, among many other things.

While choosing to bury a loved one in a cemetery can be relatively straightforward, families who decide on cremation now have many more options. With the increased popularity of cremation (mainly due to a much lower cremation cost), many new and uplifting memorial options are now available. Also, dividing ashes of a loved one is something that many are now choosing to do - with this, you can honor, celebrate, and memorialize a loved one in more than one way.

Why Separate Ashes of a Loved One?

divide cremation ashes

Many families choose to separate the ashes of a loved one and have multiple memorials. Below we’ve highlighted some of the more common reasons why:

  • Multiple People or Family Members Each Want to Have Their Own Memorial: It is quite common that each member of the family may have different ideas about a memorial and it can sometimes be easier to simply split up a loved one's ashes and give each person the ability to honor them in their own special way. Also, many, families are living in different parts of the country (or world) and each person wants to have some of their loved one's ashes with them.
  • A Challenge to Choose a Single Memorial: With the growing amount of new and unique cremation memorial options available (as outlined below), many families cannot simply decide on a single memorial, and there is no reason there can't be multiple memorials for a loved one! Many families elect to do this and most memorials can be used with a small amount of ashes and up to a full set.
  • More Than One Tree Memorial: Many people feel a special connection to The Living Urn’s patented tree urn system that grows a living tree memorial and some families will choose to have multiple beautiful tree memorials planted. This commonly includes one for each family member, or planting one at a loved one's hometown and the other one at their church, one at a Memory Forest and another at home, among many other options.

Memorials for Cremated Ashes

Below we highlight some of the most common memorials families choose when they divide ashes of a loved one:

Traditional Urn

Some families choose to keep some or all of the cremated ashes at a permanent location such as a columbarium or in the home. With this, families often purchase a traditional wood or metal urn for their loved one. There are many traditional urns available that are meant to be kept indoors or in a columbarium. With a quick online search, you can find a number of traditional urn options to choose from. Alternatively, your local funeral director can show you many types of traditional urns in different shapes, sizes, colors, and at varying price points.

Have One or Multiple Tree Memorials

A tree memorial is growing in popularity and makes for a beautiful way to honor and memorialize a loved one. Such a living memorial can be at home in the yard, at a cemetery or memorial park that allows this (a Memory Forest), on the property of a local church, in a park, at a golf course,  or another special place of your choosing (please note, some places may require permission ahead of time, so it is always recommended to check first before planting).

The patented Living Urn is the leading bio urn and planting system and is offered online and by thousands of funeral homes all over the U.S. and worldwide. This proprietary system lets families easily grow an enduring tree memorial from the special bio urn containing a loved one's ashes. The Living Urn is uniquely designed so it can be used with as little of the ashes as desired and up to a full set. Therefore, families have the option to grow a memorial tree with Living Urn in addition to having other plans or uses for some of the ashes. Alternatively, many families will divide up a loved one's ashes and each family member will grow a tree memorial with The Living Urn. For these families, The Living Urn offers a Family Tree Program which provides families with a discount when they order more than one urn.

Scatter Ashes

A memorial option that continues to grow in popularity is to scatter a loved one's ashes at a meaningful location (or locations). Families may choose to scatter all of the ashes at a special place or only a portion. Many families will also hold ceremonies that includes scattering ashes at one or more special places that have meaning to the family or the loved one who passed. This can include a favorite hiking trail, place they liked to visit, park, beach, river, lake, vacation spot, childhood home, or even at home in the yard.

Scattering a loved one's ashes can be performed with a simple container found around the house, or with an urn designed to scatter ashes. One of the most common choices for scattering urns is the patented Eco Scattering - this patented all natural urn is designed to give families the ability to easily scatter ashes with ease and grace. It has an elegant look and is one of the most eco-friendly options as it is made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable resource. This proprietary urn also has a unique open and close mechanism on top to provide families with ability to scatter with control and allows you to easily scatter at more than one location and secure the ashes in the urn during transport. The Eco Scattering Urn is an affordable urn option that is available in multiple sizes.

Bury Ashes

Many families decide to bury some or all of their loved one’s cremated ashes at a special place (or places). This can be done at a cemetery, memorial park, or even at home in the yard or at another place special to your lost loved one (permission may be required on property you don't own, so be sure to check first). If you choose to bury a loved one's ashes at a cemetery, you may need to use an urn and vault for the burial, however, for people who choose other special places, many elect to use biodegradable burial urns. A popular biodegradable burial urn option is Eco Burial, which is all-natural and made entirely from bamboo, a sustainable resource. This proprietary urn is an affordable and dignified option for families. Also, because it won't begin to biodegrade until it is placed in the ground, many families will use the Eco Burial Urn as a permanent urn in the home, and others will choose to keep this unique urn inside for months or even years before burying it at a special place.

Water Burial

Another memorial that continues to grow in popularity is a water burial, or burial at sea. This includes spreading your loved one’s ashes in a body of water that may have special meaning to the loved one who passed or family. Some families elect to have memorial ceremonies on a boat or from shore prior to or during a water burial. The water burial can be performed with a scattering urn, or an urn specifically designed to be used in a water burial, such as the Eco Water Urn. This patent pending water urn is becoming more and more popular. It is designed to float upright like a buoy for a short amount of time and then free the ashes and spread them in the water. In addition to its proven functionality, it is also popular due its sleek appearance. Many families like that it comes packaged in an attractive bamboo cylinder container - this helps to safeguard he Eco Water Urn holding a loved one's ashes while taking it to a special place on the water for the scattering. It also serves as beautiful piece for ceremonies. The Eco Water Urn can be used with any amount of ashes, a full set or only a portion, and the instructions provided explain simple adjustments to make when including varying amounts.  

Another urn designed to scatter ashes of a loved one in water in a graceful way is the Flow ice urn. This patented urn is made entirely of ice and provides for a stunning way to memorialize a loved one in the water.


Many families choose to keep some or all of their loved one's ashes in one or more pieces of jewelry, such as a necklace, ring, or pendant. Your local funeral director can provide you with many different cremation jewelry options and there are also many beautiful options available online.


Keepsakes are a good choice if someone wants to keep a small portion of the ashes or divide them up into multiple memorials. There are many options for keepsake urns including small wood, metal or plastic containers. Also, families may choose to have an art piece made that includes some of the ashes, such as a glass decorative piece. There are many types of glass decorations available that can include ashes – check with your local funeral home or search online for some artists making beautiful glass art. The smaller sized Eco Scattering Urn is also a popular choice for a keepsake as it is attractive, simple, and inexpensive. It will not biodegrade unless it is kept outdoors and can serve as a permanent keepsake indoors.

What is the 'Right' Memorial Choice for You or Your Loved One?

Deciding how to memorialize yourself or a loved one is an important decision that may take some time to figure out. If you cannot decide on a memorial now, give yourself or your family time to think about it and make the decision at a later date.

Also, separating ashes into multiple memorials is becoming more and more common and can make it so family and friends can each remember and pay tribute to a loved one who passed in their own special way.