Can You Bury Cremated Remains?
A 2022 survey by Choice Mutual Insurance Agency found that most Americans choose cremation over traditional and natural burials primarily due to personal and financial reasons (generally, cremation is much less expensive than a traditional burial).
However, even if an individual requests cremation, some families may still want to permanently memorialize their loved one with a burial. In this situation, the individual and family’s requests can be granted by performing an ash burial.
An ash burial is exactly what it sounds like; in an ash burial, cremated remains (cremains) housed in an urn are interred. Although certain states have laws surrounding cremains, most states will allow the burying of cremated remains, as long as they are stored in an urn before interment. In Michigan, there are currently no laws surrounding how cremains are handled and stored.
Whether you’re creating a burial plan for yourself or a late loved one, know that there are two primary cremains burial options you can choose from.
Burying Cremains in a Plot or Columbarium
When you bury ashes in a cemetery, you can typically choose to bury them in a plot or a columbarium. A columbarium will usually be more expensive than a plot, as it’s an entire above-ground structure. Families with an ash burial tradition may choose a columbarium because it can hold multiple urns.
Individuals who choose to have cremains buried in a plot can choose to inter them in an existing grave or a new plot. Plots can also house more than one urn, although columbarium’s typically house more than standard plots.
Typical costs associated with burying cremated remains include:
- Urn: Urns can cost anywhere from $150 to $2,000. The price varies based on the size of the urn, the materials it’s made from, and any unique engravings on the urn. If the urn needs to be shipped, you will also need to consider shipping costs.
- Urn Vault or Grave Liner: If burying an urn in a plot, you will also need to purchase an urn vault or grave liner. You can omit this cost if you can find a “green” cemetery that doesn’t require these vaults. Urn vaults can cost anywhere between $100 and $400. Just like urns, the price of the vault varies based on size and materials.
- Plot: The plot that you choose is also a price factor. Please read our blog to learn more about what to do before buying a plot.
- Headstone: If burying in a plot, you will also need to factor in the cost of a headstone.
- Columbarium: This is only a price factor if you display an urn in a columbarium. The price of a columbarium varies based on location, size, and materials. You should typically expect to pay a few thousand dollars.
- Maintenance Fees: The cemetery does not maintain graves—families are responsible for any upkeep, which means you will either have to handle maintenance or pay a third party to handle it for you.
Ash Scattering Gardens
If you are trying to avoid the costs of a traditional burial but still want to honor your loved one, another option you can consider is an ash scattering garden.
These gardens tend to have fewer rules than cemeteries. You don’t have to purchase a plot, urn vault, headstone, or columbarium. Instead, you scatter your loved one’s ashes in the garden, and their name is added to a memorial wall or headstone in the garden. This can be a wonderful option for individuals who want their ashes to be scattered in a meaningful location, and their families can still visit the garden to pay their respects.
There are also other locations where you can scatter ashes, including public parks; Michigan does not have any laws surrounding where ashes may be scattered, so this decision is entirely up to you and your family.
The cost of an ash scattering garden is significantly less expensive than a traditional burial. Associated costs include the garden itself, which can range from the low hundreds up to $1,000 depending on the garden’s location. There may also be extra costs if you purchase a memorial bench for your loved one or have their name added to a marker.
Learn More From Wujek-Calcaterra
If you have questions about burying cremated remains, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Wujek-Calcaterra & Sons. We’ve been helping families in Michigan for over four generations with affordable burial, cremation, and memorial services. Fill out our online form today to speak with our licensed funeral director and support staff—we’re available to help 24/7.