Direct Cremate

What You Need to Know About Mailing Cremated Remains

Do you need to have cremated remains mailed? Here’s what you need to know about securely mailing cremains with the US Postal Service.
USPS Mailing Cremated Remains
USPS Mail Truck in a residential neighborhood.

Direct cremation is more common today for a number of reasons. For some families, it’s a matter of physical location. As families spread out across the U.S., distance can be an issue. Disposition must occur within a certain period of time whether or not family is nearby. When the next of kin simply can’t be there in-person and there’s no plans for immediate funeral services, direct cremation is the simple solution.

Arranging cremation services remotely from anywhere in the world isn’t a problem, so long as you have all of the required documentation. But what about receiving the cremains? It turns out that cremains can be mailed to a location whether it’s across town or across the country.

USPS Cremated Remains sticker

Who Mails Cremated Remains?

The United States Post Service (USPS) is the only carrier who is allowed to mail cremated remains. They can handle domestic shipments with Priority Mail Express and international shipping with Priority Mail Express International. 

USPS mailing cremated remains supplies

How Secure is Mailing Cremated Remains?

The good thing about USPS being the sole mail carrier for cremated remains is the measures that are put in place to secure everything is very clear. Publication 139 outlines how to package and ship cremated remains. All of the steps must be followed in order for the cremains to be transported via mail.

To securely ship cremated remains through the mail you must:

  • Put the cremains in an inner, sift-proof container. 
  • Put the inner container in an outer shipping container.
  • Add cushioning material around the inner container.
  • Seal the outer container.
  • Add Label 139 labels to all sides of the outer container. The bright label clearly states the package contains cremated remains.
  • Address the outer container with the delivery address and return address.

For added security, you can put the inner container in a large plastic bag. On the bag write ‘CREMATED REMAINS’ and include the return address information. This will help ensure the cremains aren’t misplaced if the outer container or label is damaged. It’s also a good idea to include a slip of paper inside the outer box with both the sender and recipient’s information.

USPS mailing cremated remains box dimensions

You can also opt to use a Priority Mail Express Cremated Remains box, which is designed to be sturdy enough for safe transport. It also comes with ‘CREMATED REMAINS’ printed on the sides so there’s no need for the 139 labels.

How Much Does It Cost to Mail Cremains?

Transporting cremains is going to come with additional expenses compared to picking them up from the funeral home. Fortunately, the shipping materials aren’t one of them. The USPS will give you a cremated remains shipping kit for free. 

However, there’s still a cost for mailing the cremated remains. The cost is going to be based on weight, which usually puts domestic mailing around $30. Mailing the cremains may be included in the fees paid to the funeral home or it could be a separate expense. If you may need the cremated remains mailed ask the funeral home to specify the related costs up front.

Want to know more about receiving cremated remains through the mail? Give us a call or text anytime and we’ll fill you in on all the details.