We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Disposition Permit?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Historical Index is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Historical Index, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A disposition permit is a document which outlines how human remains will be disposed of. For example, if Mary Jones is to be cremated and scattered in a cemetery, the disposition permit for her remains would read “cremation and scattering at Generic Cemetery in State.” A disposition permit is required in most areas before people can proceed with the disposition of human remains, and the document must remain on file with a health department or registrar of vital records.

Typically, in order to receive a disposition permit, people must go to the office of public health with the death certificate for the deceased. If the death certificate is accepted, the disposition permit can be filled out. Many disposition permits are designed with a checklist of disposition options such as cremation, burial at sea, burial, donation for scientific research, and so forth, with the relevant boxes being checked by the person who fills out the disposition permit. Once the disposition permit is filled out, it also authorizes the transport of the remains to their end destination, which must be indicated on the disposition permit.

In some parts of the world, mourners prefer to leave the details of handling the body to a funeral director. In these cases, the funeral director takes care of securing the death certificate and filing for a disposition permit. Because funeral directors have a great deal of experience in this field, they can typically accomplish the task quickly and with a minimum of fuss, ensuring that the body can be buried promptly.

However, in many areas, people who wish to care for their own dead may do so, as long as they fill out the appropriate paperwork. In areas where people want to care for deceased family members, it can be a good idea to research the administrative details ahead of time to ensure that there will be no snags at the time of death, and it can help to establish contact at the health department, because officials may be unfamiliar with handling death certificates and disposition permits on behalf on individuals.

A typical disposition permit is signed either by the funeral director handling the disposition, or the family member who has taken charge of the situation. It includes the full name of the decedent along with his or her dates of birth and death and location of death. The relevant box regarding the manner of disposition is checked, and the person who fills out the permit also fills out the location where the disposition is to take place. If the body is to be shipped out of the state or province, this will also be indicated, with officials at the end destination honoring the disposition permit when the decedent arrives.

Historical Index is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Historical Index researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.