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How to Bury an Urn

Ideas for urn burial

Final arrangements FAQWhen a loved one is cremated, there are many options available for honoring the life of the individual in the storage or disposition of the remains. These options can generally be distilled down to three basic choices, each of which will be discussed in its own post:

  1. Burial
  2. Scattering
  3. Storage

Click the link to view each option. Let’s begin with the first choice listed here, burial of a cremation urn.

How to Bury an Urn: Choose an Appropriate Urn

Cherry Wood Urn and Memory ChestWhen you receive the cremains (“cremated remains”) from the crematorium, they will usually be in a plastic bag which is inside a plastic or cardboard box, known as a temporary urn.

This cardboard or plastic temporary urn is perfectly suitable for ground burial, but you will want to be sure to honor your loved one in a fitting way, depending on the individual’s the the family’s wishes. Many people prefer the simplicity and affordability of simply burying the temporary urn, while others prefer to honor the life of a loved one with a beautiful cremation urn preserved in a burial vault, or with an eco-friendly biodegradable urn for an organic burial.

If you are planning on burying the urn in a funeral home plot, contact the curator before selecting an urn as they may have restrictions on which types of urns they allow, or if a burial vault is required.

How to Bury an Urn: Choose Location for Burial

How to Bury an UrnYour decision on where to bury your loved one will take into consideration the individual’s or the family’s wishes, cost and availability, and not least of all the departed one’s personality and individual style.

If you have decided to bury your loved one in a formal setting such as a funeral home cemetery, the funeral home director or curator will provide you with all information needed for burial and will most likely make all the arrangements for you, leaving you with a few simple options and minimal stress.

Other options include burying an urn at your own residence, for example in your backyard or on a relative’s ranch, or out  in the wilderness somewhere. Laws vary from state to state, and even from one county to the next, so contact the local authorities before proceeding. Many areas allow for scattering of remains but not burial, so please be sure to confirm with the city or county authorities.

How to Bury an Urn: Perform the Burial

Performing the Burial Service

Be sure to dig at least three feet deep for burying the urn. If you are burying the urn in a place where you are confident it will never be disturbed, a wood cremation urn is appropriate.

If you are burying an urn out in the wilderness somewhere, we would recommend a biodegradable urn.

Conduct a service appropriate for the memory of your loved one, then deposit the urn and cover it by re-filling the hole.

A closing suggestion: You would well-serve yourself and your family to make a record of the burial, as with the passage of time many details may become blurred in your memory. Be sure to include these details:

  • Where the urn was buried
  • When (day and time – either exact time or “sunset”)
  • Why you chose the location and/or time
  • Who was there
  • Any other pertinent details, such as Bible verses or poems read, who spoke or prayed, etc.

 

11 thoughts on “How to Bury an Urn

  1. Thanks for such a wonderful article and information. You are correct, Losing loved one is very sad news to every body. But keep their memories to store with cremation urns. It is a good idea also and our responsibility to keep the memories of our love one who expired.

  2. If your relative is already buried in a plot can ashes be buried with that relative.?

  3. Hi Kay,

    Yes, you can sometimes bury ashes in a plot along with a relative. It’s entirely up to the funeral home or cemetery where the relative is buried, so you will have to check with them.

  4. We want to move an oak urn that was buried 8 years ago, do you think any wood remains? Maybe the plastic box? Its in Iowa near the Minnesota border. Thanks.

  5. If the oak urn was directly buried with no burial vault, it may not be intact. The only way to know for sure, is to find it. If it was in a vault, most likely it will be able to be moved with no issue.

  6. I am in the procces of arranging to take my brothers ashes to Ireland to be buried with my mum, as that was his wish so that is where he will rest, Ireland was home to him, and I find this page so helpful as it is not an easy task to do so all the extra details and information has helped me a great deal. Thank you

  7. […] At a cemetery when the remains are buried […]

  8. Is it against the law to move the cremains to a different place, yourself?

  9. Hi Mia,

    Great question! It depends on several factors, mainly:
    (1) Where the body is buried (i.e., a cemetery or your private property?) and
    (2) Your state / county laws

    Here are a few links to help guide you:
    Relocating a Body – http://agraveinterest.blogspot.com/2013/02/remains-of-day-relocating-body.html
    Changing Cemeteries After the Deceased Has Already Been Buried – http://www.imortuary.com/blog/changing-cemeteries-after-the-deceased-has-already-been-buried/
    Exhumation of the remains of a deceased person – http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/death/sudden_or_unexplained_death/exhumation_of_the_remains_of_a_deceased_person.html

    I hope this helps!

    Daniel

  10. Can we (my brother and sister) bury my brothers ashes in our parents grave? My sister holds the deeds to the grave.

  11. Jackie,
    You will have to check with the cemetery. It should be allowed by law depending on depth, etc… but you may want to check your local and state laws before talking with the cemetery.

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