When Uncle Leo was alive, he'd come to the house, park himself in a chair with a drink and hang around until you told him it was time to go.
Uncle Leo is now long deceased, but he's still sitting in your living room, his cremated remains in an urn collecting dust on a shelf.
People end up with unwanted remains for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they inherited them from other relatives, or accepted them out of a sense of family duty.
But then one day you decide that Uncle Leo has to go. Maybe you're gearing up for spring cleaning. But unlike Christmas 1992, you can't just call a cab and hustle him out the door. You need to figure out what to do with the old boy's ashes.
"Our members get these kinds of questions all the time," says Barbara Kemmis, executive director of the Cremation Association of North America (cremationassociation.org), a trade group with more than 1,500 members. "People have the cremated remains of three or four relatives and aren't sure what they should do or what they can do."
The obvious solution would be to spread the ashes somewhere. There are restrictions on that -- you need permission to scatter on private property, and some locations, such as state parks, are reluctant to approve scatterings. Plus, that kind of unilateral action may open other cans of worms.
What if Uncle Leo has been dispersed, then a distant cousin steps forward, asking his whereabouts. You don't really want to have to direct them to Scruffy's dog park, or take them to your backyard compost heap, do you?
"Even if you didn't know the relative well, but want to do something meaningful, you want to do right by them, you should memorialize them in a dignified way," Kemmis says.
The best way to do that is through some sort of service. And one way to do that is through a cemetery -- burial or dispersing the ashes on the property.
But that may be too pedestrian for some people. If Uncle Leo lived large, maybe you hire a scattering service that can fly over a particular location and do the job, or will take his ashes out to sea for disposal.