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How to Legally Bury Cremated Remains of a Loved One

Anita Chauhan
Anita Chauhan
March 13th 2024 - 3 minute read
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If you or a loved one have chosen to be cremated as your final wish, you have options. From scattering ashes to burying cremated remains in a cemetery, you have several options, affordable and accessible, for how and where to bury the remains.

Antia Chauhan

If a loved one is cremated after they die, you have several choices to make about what to do with their ashes. You can scatter them. Keep them in an urn. Or you can bury their remains.

In most cases, when not scattered, ashes are buried in a plot, buried in an urn garden or most commonly: Entombed in a columbarium.

Entombing Ashes In A Columbarium Niche

A columbarium is a unique above-ground building that holds cremated remains.

These buildings are composed of small wall spaces, known as niches about the size of an average-sized urn. Each of these niches has enough space to hold a single urn, but it is possible to purchase a set or grouping of niches to house multiple urns.

Interested in learning more about urns? Our handy guide on choosing an urn can help.

Generally, following the ashes' interment, the columbarium is sealed with a plaque that is placed on the outside, identifying the information of the person who is interred inside.

Prices for Columbarium niche prices may differ based on the niche, the columbarium and the city it is in. To learn more about columbariums you can read our blog titled What is a Columbarium?

Burying Ashes In An Urn Garden

Some cemeteries have an option to bury your loved one's remains in an urn garden. Depending on the cemetery, an urn garden's size and presence can vary. It is a separate, landscaped plot in one section of the grounds; for others could be more elaborate.

You may also have the option of interring the ashes into the landscape feature itself, from a large rock, a fountain or even a bench.

Burying Cremated Remains In a Plot

Another common option is burying the urn in a plot or a grave. To do this, you have to purchase the plot and space from the cemetery.

Since cremated remains require less space than a casket, some cemeteries may allow a family to bury multiple urns in one plot.

If you plan on burying the cremated remains in the ground, it is worth checking to see if the cemetery you have chosen requires that the urn to be contained in what is known as an urn vault. Urn vaults are similar to a burial vault and are essential for supporting the earth around the urn.  Urn vaults ensure that the soil around the urn will not collapse, providing your loved one's remains with a safe and secure resting spot. Urn vaults also ultimately serve to minimize cemetery maintenance. That said, many cemeteries do not have this requirement when burying urns in a plot.

Seek Transparency From Your Funeral Provider

When purchasing any end-of-life arrangements, plots or merchandise (funeral services, urns, gravestones, etc.), make sure that you ask your provider for a full price list of all future and immediate charges.

While cemeteries in Canada are not legally required to provide you with an itemized price list, you still should ask, so you know what is expected. An above-board, a fully transparent funeral home or crematory will provide you with a price list.

The Eirene price list is available online: Click here. What you see is what you get, and there are no upsells.

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