Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

is it legal in pa. to flush a persons ashes down a toilet?

Asked on 7/22/13, 3:28 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

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Its not illegal unless there is some other regulation about putting things down the toilet which should not be there. However, I have not made an exhaustive review of the crimes code and there could be something that an imaginative prosecutor could come up with if he/she had to do so. Its not abuse of a corpse though because there is no corpse. Maybe a prosecutor could extend this to ashes of a corpse. - certainly dumping somebody's ashes down the toilet is something that should be recognized as outraging the sensibilities of the family. (see 18 Pa CSA 8 Pa.C.S.A. 5510 - Abuse of corpse. Except as authorized by law, a person who treats a corpse in a way that he knows would outrage ordinary family sensibilities commits a misdemeanor of the second degree."

There are a lot more facts than you relate. Who is the person who had possession of the ashes? Were they lawfully entitled to possess the ashes? Why would they dispose of them in this manner? Was there some other next of kin who would want them?

And if someone got mad, then just dispose of them and don't tell anyone. Who is to know? But there is a moral component here and even if you hated the person who died then it might be inviting bad karma to do something which you know is objectionable like this especially if the person had other family members who wanted the ashes. If the surviving family finds out and if they know the right people, they will find a way to make life very interesting for you.

Please - do yourself a favor and stop posting about this on public bulletin boards.

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7/22/13, 11:58 pm

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