Cremation Burial Urns and Urn Vaults

by Linda Banks


 Image: Urn Grave in the Forest by Alexander Boden*

“If I want to be cremated, can I still be buried in our family burial plot?”

Yes. You don’t have to choose between burial and cremation. Cremation burial urns are specifically made to serve the purpose of ground burial.

Many people who choose cremation also want the familiar ritual of a funeral with a graveside burial service attended by family and friends. A cemetery burial allows for a headstone. It also provides a permanent location for families to gather and pay respects.

According to the Cremation Association of America (CANA), by the year 2018 over half of the people who die in the United States will choose cremation. CANA reports that the growing interest can be partially attributed to the many options available to care for the cremated remains.

Cremains can be preserved in a cremation urn that can be displayed in a home, or placed in a columbarium niche. Scattering the cremated remains at a location that holds special meaning for the deceased and their family is another popular choice.  

Burying ashes and cremation burial urns

Several reasons people choose to have their ashes buried include:

  • having a final resting place in a family plot near a loved one marked with a gravestone
  • a wish to have a traditional cemetery burial with gravesite religious rites
  • a wish to be buried in a private plot, on private land
  • the desire for a green burial with a biodegradable urn that decomposes in soil, or simply buried in a shroud

Many cemeteries accept cremation burial urns for interment. Local funeral directors can provide details and will assist with arrangements.

Burial urn vaults

Most cemeteries require that the cremation urn be housed inside a burial urn vault before it is put permanently in the ground. The vault protects and preserves the burial urn from shifting soil and cemetery maintenance vehicles. Burial urns are available in a wide range of designs and materials. Metal, stone, and some well made hard wood cremation urns are particularly suitable for burial. Be sure to coordinate the sizes of the burial vault with the cremation urn.

Green burials and biodegradable urns

There are also green burial and memorial grounds that accept the cremated remains for burial in biodegradable urns. These urns made of paper, wood, sand, leaves or other natural materials decompose over time when buried in the earth. Green sites do not require a burial vault. A popular item for a green burial is the acorn biodegradable cremation urn.

If you plan to bury the cremated remains on private property, a cremation urn or burial vault is not required. The ashes can be buried in the temporary urn holding the urns that you receive from the crematorium. However, the use of an urn and an urn burial vault will protect the cremated remains. Trending natural burials include “urns that create homes for new life.”

*Image found at

Linda Banks provided extended end-of-life care for her beloved Aunt who was like her mother. When her brother suddenly died, she was instrumental in orchestrating all of the details of his final wishes to be cremated. Linda has been an active blogger for ten years, including blogging about Willie Nelson and his family. Willie told her recently that he reads her blog every day. 

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