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Can I Be Cremated and Buried?

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It’s common for those considering cremation as a final disposition method to believe a traditional burial in a cemetery—alongside their loved ones—isn’t possible.

The truth? Families have a number of cremation burial options to choose from.

Scattering cremated remains or displaying them on a mantle are not the only final resting places after cremation. Families have the option to plan a cemetery burial where the cremains of their loved one are buried in a special container or burial urn near other family members.

So, can you be cremated and buried? The simple answer—yes. Continue reading to learn the different ways it can be done.

What Does “Interment of Ashes” Mean?

Cremated remains that are buried in the ground or placed in an above-ground columbarium are also referred to as the interment of ashes. 

While interment is often chosen as an alternative to scattering or displaying remains, some families prefer interment for religious reasons. Catholicism, for example, states that cremains should not be scattered, kept at home or altered in any way. Thus, interment is the preferred option.

Additionally, interment provides families the opportunity to distribute their loved one’s cremains to a different location. We’ve even witnessed some families choose to keep half on display and bury the other half.  

At the end of the day, the interment (or burial) of ashes offers a wide array of final resting place options for cremated remains. We list the most common four options below.

1. Traditional Burial

A traditional burial involves a casket within a burial plot. On the other hand, the in-ground burial of cremated remains involves a ceremonial casket often provided by the chosen funeral home. 

There is a special lining inserted into the ceremonial casket that is removed and used as a proper container for the cremated remains to be buried.  Similar to a burial vault, some cemeteries require an urn vault for the burial of cremains.

The planning process is almost identical to that of a traditional burial with the exception of the first step:

  • Purchase a container for the cremains.
  • Locate an available burial plot at your cemetery of choice.
  • Plan a memorial service.
  • Design a headstone that represents your loved one’s legacy.

Many cemeteries allow more than one urn to be buried in a burial plot making it an easy way for more family members to share a space together. 

2. Columbarium

If you or your loved one prefers an above-ground burial, consider a columbarium for your cremains. Columbariums are also ideal for families who wish to lay at rest together in a place where surviving loved ones can visit.

 A columbarium is intended specifically for those who have been cremated—it is composed of small niches that hold a single urn.

Many cemeteries offer columbarium niches in the wall of a mausoleum or feature a public, standalone garden columbarium. You can also have a columbarium created for just your family which can be built in any size to hold as many urns as necessary.

3. Urn Garden

Another increasingly popular option for the final resting place of cremains is an urn garden. Many cemeteries have beautifully landscaped spaces specifically designated for the scattering of cremains.  

An urn garden provides families the opportunity to scatter their loved one’s cremated remains not only in a regulation-free location, but also a place in which they can continue visiting to honor their lost loved one.

4. Public or Private Property

It is possible to bury cremated remains on public property (e.g. a national park). However, it’s likely you’ll need written permission from those responsible for the public space as well as a permit at the time of the burial.

The rules for interment on public property are similar to those for scattering cremated remains. You’ll need to review city and county regulations, as well as zoning rules for the property.

  • Areas like national parks, forests and reserves require a special permit.
  • Other places may require a fee, so contact the local park manager before scattering remains.
  • Some parks may prohibit the burial of cremated remains entirely.

If you own property, there is no law that forbids you from burying an urn on it. Keep in mind though, if you decide to sell the property, you will need to dig up the urn and bring it with you or disclose the presence of human remains to buyers.

What to Know When Choosing Cremation

If you or a loved one is considering cremation, it’s imperative to understand your options and associated costs. To find out how to get the best value cremation without sacrificing service, download our Cremation Costs Explained guide.

Download our cremation costs explained guide

Meghan Burmeister
Meghan Burmeister
Skillfully and compassionately manages our Avon and Avon Lake locations. Meghan and her husband, Bill, enjoy vacations with their son Otto, while also supporting community, church and school events. Graciously serving Busch families since 1998.

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