What happens when a funeral home cremates a body, but the ashes go unclaimed?

The problem of unclaimed cremated remains continues to increase along with the rise in cremation rates across the country. When cremated remains are not picked up by the family, the funeral home usually keeps them in storage, sometimes indefinitely. At least one state (Massachusetts) has passed laws that allow the funeral home to scatter or bury cremated remains that go unclaimed for more than a year.