How to Legally Bury Cremated Remains of a Loved One

How to Legally Bury Cremated Remains of a Loved One
From scattering ashes to burying them in a cemetery, you have several affordable and accessible options for how and where to bury ashes.
3 minute read

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. In order to do this, you have to purchase the plot and space from the cemetery.

Since cremated remains are significantly smaller than a human body, some cemeteries may allow you to bury multiple urns in one plot.

If you plan on burying the cremated remains in the ground, your cemetery will require 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.

If you plan to forego the urn vault, you may want to purchase a green burial ground. Green burial grounds do not require burial vaults or grave liners. Biodegradable urns are the best option when burying ashes on a green burial ground.

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.