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Can You Bury an Urn With a Casket?

Can You Bury an Urn With a Casket?

Wanting to be buried or interred alongside a loved one is a common practice many people choose. However, you may have wondered what happens when one person wants to be buried, and the other wants to be cremated. Is it possible to bury an urn with a casket? This article will answer this question and provide insight into urn and casket burials to help you navigate making mixed final disposition arrangements. 

Burying a casket

Caskets and coffins are typically more restricted in the space in which they can be buried. This is because there needs to be adequate space to fit the casket and ensure it complies with cemetery bylaws or municipal regulations.

For these reasons, most people will choose to bury someone in a cemetery or inter them in a mausoleum. However, no law explicitly forbids caskets from being buried on private property in many provinces, but consent to do so must be received from local authorities. And this may be a lengthy and challenging process. Similarly, doing this raises non-legal concerns such as current and future land ownership, future renovations, health concerns, etc. Nonetheless, it may be possible under the right circumstances. 

Burying an urn

Burying an urn offers more flexibility than caskets since it is smaller and will fit in a smaller space. However, there are a few things to consider.

First, it is advised to choose a biodegradable urn (some cemeteries may require it). These materials such as paper, clay, plant material, bark, and other substances will naturally decompose over time. These styles are an environmentally friendly option if the ashes will be buried or committed to a sea, lake, or river. 

Many cemeteries have designated areas for urn burials, such as urn gardens and burial plots. These plots can hold one or several urns depending on cemetery bylaws. Nonetheless, since urns are significantly smaller than caskets, these plots are often smaller and, therefore, less expensive when compared to casket burials.

You can also choose to have an urn interred in a niche or columbarium or scatter ashes on or around the property in a cemetery. Some cemeteries have designated areas for scattering, and rights for this must be purchased. However, people can scatter cremation ashes virtually anywhere else in Canada on unoccupied public land or private land (with permission) if they do not want to pay an additional fee. 

Like burials, burying an urn on private property may be permissible. Still, it is vital to check the laws in your area (start with your municipality) before doing so and obtain permission from local authorities as required. It is essential to consider future changes to land ownership and redevelopment that may occur at a later date; this would also apply to scattering.

Burying an urn with a casket

Since the requirements for burying a casket or an urn in a cemetery are relatively similar, it is usually possible to do this. Still, there are considerations you'll need to factor. 

If a casket is buried first, the plot must have enough space for an urn to be buried on top and must comply with cemetery by-laws. In most cases, caskets must be buried at a depth of six or more feet. In contrast, urns are usually buried around 3 feet deep. Therefore, there is likely more than enough space to bury an urn over an existing grave.

If an urn is buried first, burying a casket alongside it may be trickier since urn burial plots are usually smaller and less deep. In this case, burying the casket may not be possible without disrupting the urn burial. Similarly, the plot may not have enough space to account for both.  

If a person was cremated first, you could keep the urn in your home until the other individual they want to be buried with has passed away. You can also keep an urn in a niche or columbarium (at a cost), especially if you plan to move it down the line. It may also be possible to place the urn or cremated remains within the casket before burial, but this is subject to space availability and local laws and regulations.   

The best way to ensure an urn can be buried with a casket is to plan beforehand. Most cemeteries will be able to accommodate these types of burials, but adequate space must be allotted and purchased.

Note that  some cemeteries may also not allow this, so it is crucial to find this out before someone has been buried since moving plots or gravesites (if allowed) is often difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Funeral providers are usually well-versed with cemetery capabilities and regulations, so they can be a great resource when making these arrangements.

Questions?

Our team at Eirene is available to answer your questions about urns, ashes and cremation or aquamation. Contact us by email at support@eirene.ca. To make funeral arrangements for a loved one or to plan for yourself click here

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