What are my choices?

For final disposition of the body, the following choices are available in Washington State:

  • Cremation
  • Burial (traditional or green)
  • Full Body Donation

To ensure your choices are honored, we advise Designating an Agent, filling out a Disposition Authorization separate from your will, and sharing your wishes with your next-of-kin. Do not store your wishes only in a safe deposit box, as it often takes several weeks or longer for next-of-kin to gain access.

For more information on these and other necessary end-of-life arrangements, consider attending a Ducks in a Row workshop, or visiting our Forms page.


  • 78% of all Washingtonians choose cremation
  • Only one person is cremated at a time, no animals are cremated with humans
  • Items may placed in with body and cremated at the same time
  • Cremation takes about 2-4 hours
  • What is your remains’ final resting place? shelf, closet, buried or scattered


  • Embalming is not required by law
  • Can only be buried in a licensed cemetery (not on your own land)
  • Two kinds of burial: traditional and green
  • Cemeteries can dictate size/type of monument
  • Washington currently has 5 green cemeteries

Full Body Donation (always have a plan B, such as cremation or burial)

  • Mortuary Schools
  • Medical Schools - for body donation to medical schools, you must register ahead of time and you must always know that your donation may be rejected for any reason.  Please have a Plan B.