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U.S. Postal Service Changes Policies on Shipping Cremated Remains

Posted: January 5, 2014

Updated: January 9, 2014, January 24, 2014

Effective December 26, 2013, the United States Postal Service (USPS) revised its policy pertaining to the shipment of cremated remains. Cremated remains may no longer be sent domestically or internationally via Registered Mail Service. Priority Mail Express is the only option for sending cremated remains via the USPS. NFDA is working with the USPS to obtain additional details about this change in policy. NFDA will share those details with you as soon as they are available. 

Update – January 9, 2013

The notice from the USPS for the Domestic Mail Manual is listed below.

From the United States Postal Service announcement:

Effective December 26, 2013, the Postal Service is revising Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 601.12 to require mailers to use only Priority Mail Express service when shipping cremated remains. The Postal Service will no longer authorize cremated remains to be sent using Registered Mail service. Although these revisions will not be published in the DMM until January 26, 2014, these standards are effective immediately.

12.9.3 Cremated Remains [revision as follows:]

***Mailpieces sent to domestic addresses must be sent using Priority Mail Express service.

In some states, the law requires that cremated remains be sent via Registered Mail. It is unclear how the new USPS policy will be applied in those states.

As you know, Registered Mail includes additional tracking; this enables you to track the package and helps ensure that cremated remains arrive safely.

Given the new policy requiring the use of Priority Mail Express service, NFDA recommends that you specifically request and pay for tracking and require a signature on delivery to help ensure that cremated remains are delivered to the correct individual in a timely manner.

NFDA continues its attempts to obtain additional details from the USPS on this policy change. That information will be shared with you as soon as it is available.

To learn more about shipping requirements, visit the NFDA website or contact International Project Manager Corey Eggers at 800-228-6332.

UpdateJanuary 24, 2014

NFDA makes more than 125 free legal forms and documents available to members. The forms were developed by NFDA General Counsel Scott Gilligan and can easily be downloaded from the NFDA website as a free benefit of membership.

Several cremation-related forms have been updated to reflect the new USPS policy regarding mailing cremated remains. Those forms are:

  • Pet cremation authorization
  • Generic cremation authorization
  • Generic cremation authorization of body parts
  • Authorization to mail cremated remains

If you use these forms, NFDA highly encourages you to visit to download the updated forms.

While you're there, explore all of the sample legal forms and documents available to you. You'll find forms covering situations, such as:

  • Right of disposition
  • Authorization forms (embalming, disinterment, etc.)
  • Custody and transport of remains
  • Personal property instructions
  • Preneed
  • Funeral Rule
  • Employment forms
  • And more