Question about Burying Ashes

Maura63September 13, 2012

A cousin has the remains of her adult child, who passed away a year ago. She would now like them interred in a local cemetery. (She does not want them scattered.) I said I would help find out about how to go about doing this...

My questions are -- Is this something that can be arranged directly with a cemetery? Or, is it something that need to be arranged through a funeral director? Any idea of associated costs? Would we (she) have a ceremony at the "grave site"?

There was a wake, followed by a service at the funeral home.

As always, the input of the KTers is valued and appreciated.


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You have to buy a lot and pay to have it opened. My husband and I chose his home town and the lots were only $90 for 2. We bought them years ago but I think small towns are cheaper than a big city. I wanted to be buried in a small town. I called the funeral home in the town. It cost us $125 to open and place his ashes in the ground. We didn't have a ceremony. I had my best friend with me.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 10:08PM
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Here are some ideas I got from a Cremation Education website: You can bury the ashes in a cemetery just like you would a casket in a space purchased. You will run up opening and closing charges. And many corporate cemeteries require you to purchase an urn vault and an urn before they will bury the ashes. Then you may have the expense of a marker. But after the ashes are in the ground, it looks just like a regular ground burial. You can also bury the ashes in an urn garden which is basically a small space less than two feet in diameter. They can be less expensive. You can also place the ashes in a mausoleum in a regular space or in a cremation niche (a small mausoleum space designed for urns). I have also seen cremation urns put inside of the casket of a family member that dies later.

Sending good thoughts for your cousin.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 10:25PM
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My husband, Gary, was not cremated, but buried in a double-deep grave - I will be cremated and buried, in an urn, in the top grave. We bought our plot when he was diagnosed with cancer 6 years ago, but they are much higher in price now. When the time comes, it will be $250 to open the grave and inter my ashes. My burial has been pre-paid.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 10:38PM
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Our son, Andrew was cremated and buried in a small
family owned cemetary. His ashes were placed in a
very nice wooden box that my Father had specially
made. We were allowed to open and then close the
grave our selves. Years after my Father's ashes were
also buried in the same grave. My Mother's ashes
will also be buried there.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:05AM
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Cemetaries, from what I understand, have different practices for this.

In our case, we have a family plot of 16 graves (actually 8 that are double deep), purchased back in the 1800's. At the cemetary we use, you can bury ashes IN WITH an already filled grave. They are buried on top of the current occupants. My aunt opted for cremation, and to have her ashes buried on top of her father's grave (due to a mixup, he was buried in the top space, but no one is under him, so it's the same as a filled grave, if you're following this?). Anyway, I can't tell you the exact break-down of the charges, but we spent just slightly over $5000 for: the cremation, the opening of the grave, the concrete vault that was required, and the limos to take the family to the grave site for the burial. Headstone--well, I bought 2 of them, for her plus 5 other graves that were filled but not marked--and the cost was about $2200. So I'm estimating my aunt's would have been about $1000 for her alone if I'd gone that route.

Just out of curiosity, I did ask what plots in our 'section' were going for today--about $2200 each. That $100 my great grandfather spent on all 16 seems like a pretty good deal, now!

May I make a suggestion? If she wants to save a few $$$? She could hang onto the ashes, and let her next of kin know that she wants them buried with her, when the time comes. My plans are that when either my husband or I die, the other will hold the ashes until their demise and our ashes will be interred in one vault (assuming the cemetary will cooperate on this) in the grave that holds my parents. DH is on board with this--his family doesn't have a single place, they're scattered among several cemetaries. That solution will mean only one grave opening, and hopefully one vault, then our stone will be for both of us, made at one time--much cheaper than buying one, and later adding another name.

Unfortunately, it really seems a shame to buy a cemetary plot (they're SO expensive) just to bury ashes. However, if the cemetary is willing and will continue to bury others' ashes in the same plot down the road, it might not be too bad in the longrun.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:13AM
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My dh and I have one plot. Our ashes will be in urns for the wake and funeral, then a small vault for burial. We will share the same plot. We are only in our 50s, but I didn't want my adult children to have to worry about this if something happened to one or both of us. Plus it's cheaper and I am very practical.

We are Catholic. They allow cremation, but the ashes have to be buried.

If there has already been a funeral, I would just quietly have the ashes interred and say a prayer.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:24AM
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It all depends on your state and local regulations as to what is allowed. Whether to have a memorial ceremony celebration of life is up to the individual family.

My great aunt and uncle died two years apart a few years back. They were both cremated. A single grave was purchased in the cemetary through the entity controlling the cemetary. My relatives dug the hole and placed a cardboard box containing personal effects and the ashes. I'm not sure what was holding the ashes inside of the box. This was a rural cemetary and not one that would probably be subject to strict regulations. We had a family memorial while the grave was open. It was conducted by a member of the family. No clergy were present. The grave was closed by the family at the end of the ceremony. I'm not sure what (if any) plans will be made for a permanent marker. A temporary marker was made of an engraved metal sheet attached to a concrete stepping type stone.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 10:48AM
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Evidently our state doesn't require a vault for an urn. Our funeral homes have a lot of competition. It cost $800. for my husband's services and $600 for mine and the original $90. for the lots. There are several funeral homes here that cremate for as low as $300 or less than a thousand dollars. Our marker was expensive. Since I saved so much on the services I bought a $5,000. stone to honor my husband. I had a Cushman Scooter engraved on the back of the stone. His brother has his barn and silo on his.

I told the funeral home director I felt guilty for not having a funeral, but we had lost touch with his friends and mine during the 5 years he had AZ. All his siblings had died except a sister and I asked her how she felt about no funeral. Her reply was "what ever is best for you". Anyway the director said, "more and more people are doing just what you have chosen". He said the trend towards pricy funerals are changing. He was originally train to rush you and pressure you and take advantage of your grief. He said he would be fired if he used those tactics at this home.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 11:42AM
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Dad's cremains, in a small wooden box, were buried in '88 over Mom's casket (buried in '42) in our family plots in a local cemetery in the city, near a river. They say that two urns of cremains can be buried over a casket in a regular casket-sized plot.

I don't know how much it cost the estate to open and close - think that was linked with the funeral home's service.

My ex- had said that she'd like her cremains to be scattered on the Detroit River, near a park which she used to like to visit. At present, they inhabit a part of a hobby which she was involved in, stored in my home.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 2:35PM
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My husband passed away in August, and he was cremated. I went through the funeral home in Minnesota (live in Ky), and they found a lot in the same area as his parents, and made all the arrangements for me. Lots are more expensive up there. The digging was 250.00, and lot was around 700.00. We did have a graveside service, but, it is up to the family.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 5:17PM
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