There is something very final about a burial, so depending on the wishes of the deceased, many people prefer to receive their loved one’s ashes. This then brings the question of where to keep them. The deceased may have stated their wishes, perhaps to be scattered in a meaningful area. Some mourners want to hold onto the ashes for comfort and keep them in their home, while others organise ‘the interment of ashes’ to create a permanent place outside the home, where all those who knew the deceased can pay their respects.
Usually this means placing the ashes in a columbarium or burial plot. This is particularly comforting for:
This guide will take you through what happens at the interment of ashes, some of the choices you have and some things you might not have known.
After the cremation, the ashes will be collected, stored and given to the family. A separate interment of ashes service can then take place with family and friends gathering at the burial plot. The service can be religious or humanist and can include readings, poems and prayers.
The ashes are usually lowered into the ground inside an urn or poured into the plot through a funnel.
You can choose to mark the plot with a cremation memorial so that mourners have a place to visit. Your can personalise your chosen design and space by incorporating a photograph, beautiful headstone inscriptions or motif that best represents their life.
If the interment of ashes is at a natural burial site, the urn needs to be biodegradable.
The procedure for the interment of the ashes starts with finding a permanent location.
Possible locations include:
The process for private land requires you to have permission from the land owner. If you are holding the interment of ashes in a natural burial ground, you will not be allowed a headstone, but trees can be planted on the area instead. You will also need to use a biodegradable urn.
After you have chosen where to place the ashes you need to make sure that everything is budgeted for and that you have all the required paperwork. You need to be ready to provide a cremation certificate, the Deed of Exclusive Right of Burial (grave deeds) or a notification of interment of ashes form.
Firstly, you need to call the local authority in charge of the plot. If you don’t already have a plot, you can purchase the rights to one. You will receive a discount on the cost of the plot if you or your loved one is local to the area. Rather than buying the plot you are often leasing the plot for a fixed amount of time, rather than owning.
If you have space within a family plot you can choose to bury the ashes there. If lots of people hold the Deed of Exclusive Right of Burial you may need permission from the other owners first, especially if there is limited space.
Churches will have their own procedures and rules about what type of headstones and urns can be used.
The interment of ashes ceremony takes place after the cremation ceremony. The interment of ashes usually lasts around an hour. During a typical ceremony:
Whereas a local authority burial plot will leave you to organise your own interment of ashes ceremony, a church will have a minister who will hold a religious ceremony.
As churchyards are consecrated ground, disturbing other ashes can be an issue that can arise. Churches will also have rules and guidelines about what type of urn you can use.
You might not think there is much to consider if burying the ashes in your own garden, but by law, cremation ashes are treated the same as a human body.
Many people are not aware of any restrictions. These only apply if you are burying the ashes in an urn or box, not for scattering the ashes. There are a number of things that you may need to consider:
To find out the exact cost of the plot for burying cremated ashes, contact your chosen location.
The average cost is around £600, but prices can be as much as £2,000 or as little as £100 depending on the location.
As well as the burial fee, you might also pay for:
The costs vary greatly depending on which area of the country the burial is taking place in and whether you or the deceased live locally.
Reading a poem can be comforting for all those attending when scattering ashes or at an interment of ashes service. A quick search on the internet will bring up a large choice. Some well-loved favourites include:
Good evening. I found Harvey’s headstone on Friday morning. I cried so many tears. But the headstone is absolutely amazing. I’m blown away by the details of the stars. It’s an absolutely outstanding tribute to my beautiful boy.
Well done to those who made it.
Louise T. Sent by email: 17/05/2019
I have been sent a photo of my son/husbands headstone that has been put on earlier today. I would just like to say thank you so much. It is more beautiful than I expected and we are so pleased with it. Everyone has been so helpful and professional. Thank you so much.
Kim W. Sent by email: 09/10/2019
Thank you for your email. I have been down to the Cemetery this afternoon to see the Memorial. It is always difficult to imagine what something will look like from a picture, but I have to say it looks beautiful and I know my Mum and Dad would have approved of my choice.
Once again I wish to thank you and all your staff for your help, assistance and advice.
Lynne C. Sent by email: 07/06/2017
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