Cremation Urn FAQ 2: Do I need to buy an urn from the funeral home?
How to Buy an Urn
The process of purchasing an urn, along with the planning of the funeral service, can be a heavy strain. There are many costs and options to consider, which can lead to both confusion and stress. However, having a clear idea of what you plan to do with the urn, the material you'd like, and knowing your price range will help simplify the experience.
Choosing the Design
Choose the material for your urn.If you plan to keep the urn of ashes for display, then it would be best to purchase an attractive, yet durable vase. Consider the area and the room in which you plan to display the piece, as this may influence the material you choose. For example, urns can be made of many different substances like wood, stone, ceramic, metal, or glass.
- If you are burying the urn or placing it in a mausoleum, keep in mind that you may be limited in the material you choose.
Go with something biodegradable.If the deceased was a lover of nature or an environmental advocate than going the eco-friendly route with a biodegradable urn is a good idea. These urns may also require fewer restrictions as they will degrade and disappear wherever they are outdoors. You can even buy an urn which incorporates the deceased’s ashes into a growing memorial tree.
Pick a theme.Think of the personality and hobbies of the deceased, were they big on sports, nature, the arts? Perhaps they were a veteran or religious. All of these things should be considered when choosing the theme or design of the urn. Similar to the numerous materials, urns can also be engraved or decorated with varying pictures, quotes, or patterns. Keep in mind that the price will also vary depending on what you choose.
- You can even display pictures of the deceased or family members on an urn.
Purchase a keepsake urn.These urns are much smaller, with a capacity of 35 cubic inches. They are usually used when you plan to split a loved one's ashes amongst family. However, you can also use them if you are planning to scatter, bury, or intern some of the deceased's ashes and want to retain the rest. Keepsake urns come in a myriad of styles, from the basic vase shape to stars, hearts, birds, and butterflies.
Specifying What You Need
Figure out the size you need.Though the height and width of an urn can be important, the most important aspect of an urn is containment. The general rule in regards to measuring an urns capacity is that one pound of body weight is equal to one cubic inch of ashes. So, if the deceased was 150 pounds, then they would require an urn that could hold 150 cubic inches. However, it is usually best to purchase an urn that is slightly bigger, just in case.
- If you are planning to place the urn in a mausoleum, then the outer size of the vase is also important.
Decide on a price range.Depending on the type, size, and material, an urn can cost anywhere between -0. Some may even cost upwards of a thousand dollars. Due to these costs, it’s important to consider how much money you are willing to spend on an urn. Funerals can be expensive so look over each piece of the service and allocate a set sum for an urn. This will also help you narrow down what kind of urn to buy.
- There’s a possibility that the deceased left funds behind for this during their estate planning process.
Research the company before you purchase an urn.As funeral costs can be a considerable burden, it’s best to make sure that you are getting your urn from an established and fair company. Before you buy, look at how many years the company has been in business and what their record is for customer service. They should be knowledgeable, accessible, and offer you a guarantee in case the urn breaks.
- You can either purchase an urn from a funeral home or online. Both places should have a wide variety to meet your needs.
Complying With Regulations
Check the rules of the cemetery.Whether you plan to bury the urn in the ground or inside a mausoleum, you may be required to purchase a specific kind of piece. For example, many mausoleums will not accept wooden urns or anything besides plastic, ceramic or metal. While ground burials require urns made of metal, bronze or wood.
- Be sure to check the rules of the cemetery as some mausoleums may also require an urn vault. This is an ornate box in which the urn will sit.
- Also, they may require a set size, as each niche has its own height and width.
Research the laws for scattering ashes.If you plan to scatter the deceased’s ashes somewhere, such as a sea, lake, river, or even a park, make sure you look over your state's law before your proceed. In most states, you can scatter ashes over land on private property as long as you have governmental permission. However, scattering over water is often subject to federal law. For example, the Federal Clean Water Act requires remains scattered at sea to be at least three nautical miles from the coast.
- Ashes that are scattered over the ocean must also be in a biodegradable container.
Take traveling into account.If you plan to travel by plane in or around the U.S., make sure to consider the TSA requirements before you purchase an urn. It will have to pass through an x-ray machine before it is allowed on a flight, so the material you choose for the urn is very important. For example, wood, glass, plastic, and non-lead lined ceramics are the best choice for air travel.
- You can bring the urn as a carry-on or as checked baggage. However, not every airline allows you to check urns as baggage, so make sure you research beforehand.
Video: How Do I Know What Size Urn To Buy?
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