Options for Burying Ashes

You've already made the tough decision of having your loved one cremated, but have you decided what to do with the ashes? Many families are unsure – so know you aren't alone. 

Bury or Scatter the Ashes - if by Land or Sea

Most families choose to rest their loved one's ashes in a cremation urn that they keep at home or in a niche, but others decide to honor their loved one with a burying or scattering of ash ceremony.

There are a 3 different burying options for cremation ashes. You can:
  1. Bury the ashes directly into the ground,

  2. Scatter the ashes over the ground or in the sea, or

  3. Place the remains in a cremation urn that is suitable for ground or sea burial.

Consider these questions to help you make your decision:

  • How accessible is the location? Are there visiting hours? Is the spot difficult to get to?
  • Are there costs associated with it? Plot expense?

  • Are there specific religious guidelines for burying ashes? Some religions require cremations while others require cemetery burials.

  • If burying an urn, does it need to be made of a specific material (i.e. Biodegradable or hold up to the elements)?

Burial Urn Options

You can bury any cremation urn, but you may want to consider urns that will hold its shape and stand up to the elements. Cultured Marble urns are specifically designed for ground burial. Handcrafted of crushed stone, resin, and color pigments, this urn has the look and feel of natural marble but can be personalized with direct engraving a loved one's name.

If you prefer an eco-friendly urn, consider biodegradable urns for earth or sea burials. These urns come in a variety of unique designs and are created specifically to break down over a period of time. For water burials: simply insert the remains, seal the urn and release it into the water. The urn will float briefly before gently sinking into the water. 

Where should we go?

The best place to scatter or bury ashes is the place that reminds you the most of your loved one: a place that holds many memories and a place that brings you comfort. 
Here are a few popular burial locations: 

A cemetery is a common choice for burial since loved ones are laid down to rest together on a family plot. In addition, the location is typically well cared for and maintained and it provides a permanent place that the family can visit at any time. Be sure to check with your local cemetery as each may have different rules. If burying ashes, some facilities may require you to purchase an urn vault or a cremation urn designed to hold up to the elements like cultured marble urns.

Favorite Park or Woods
If you want to bury or scatter ashes at a park, consider if it is public or private land. Generally, it is legal to scatter ashes inside national parks in the U.S., but the burial of urns and the use of grave markers at the site is prohibited. Check the laws specific to the park you may be interested in as each park may have different rules regarding permits and fees. For instance, some parks require you to carry a letter of permission while others request a mailed-in application before the event. For more information, begin your search at the website of the National Park Service.

At Sea
If you plan on scattering ashes at sea, there are only a handful of requirements to follow. To scatter the ash, you will need to be at least three nautical miles off shore. You can scatter ashes directly into the water or by using approved containers like a biodegradable urn. Most states require a permit to scatter ashes over inland waters, but we recommend to check your local laws as they can vary state to state. Many people simply proceed as they wish, letting their best judgment be their guide.

Take a few seconds and think about your loved one. Think about the things he/she liked: places they favored or the hobbies they enjoyed. What memorialization might they have liked and how might it bring you and your family comfort?

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