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How do you bury loved one’s ashes in Minnesota?


I just need to have my loved one's ashes buried. How? My dad's ashes are currently in storage at home in a small, wooden container. How can I have them buried legally and inexpensively to bring some closure to the family? Ideally, the family could be present for this and I would like to say a few words at that time.

Good question - there are many in your exact circumstance. And, towards that, there are many options for your loved one’s ashes.

Bury the ashes in a cemetery

You can bury the ashes in a cemetery in various ways:

  • Place the ashes in a columbarium, which is a structure that has compartments (called niches) where you can place an urn. A bronze plaque with the name of the person is usually placed in the niche. Columbariums can be for one or two people, have glass doors, and can even be in a boulder or bench - see Minnesota's Catholic Cemeteries cremation burial options for examples. Many Twin Cities cemeteries have columbariums. For example, Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis has an impressive columbarium. There are also columbariums at various Twin Cities churches such as Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, First Congregational Church in Minneapolis, Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, All Saints Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Roseville, and King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury.
  • Place the ashes in an ossuary, which co-mingles the ashes. For example, Roselawn Cemetery in Roseville, MN has its peaceful Garden of Remembrance/Ossuary, complete with a sidewalk lined with plaques of those interned in the ossuary.
  • Bury the ashes in an urn in a cremation garden with some sort of identifying plaque. For example, Minneapolis' Lakewood Cemetery has two peaceful cremation gardens - right on the cemetery's lake.
  • Bury the ashes in a cemetery plot. If you choose to get a cemetery plot, you often have the option of burying the ashes of multiple people in the plot since, obviously, ashes take up much less space than bodies. You can then choose a marker or monument for the plot.

The good news with the above options is that you will have a permanent place you can always return to. And, you could easily have a service in the cemetery. The bad news is that there is a cost. So, if you want to pursue one of the above options, be sure you ask the cemetery for a full price list.

Bury the ashes in a favorite place or places

You are free to bury the ashes on private land (with the owner’s permission). The good news with this option is that it doesn’t cost anything, and you could bury the ashes in a favorite location. Plus, you could easily have a service with the burial.

The downside is that when the property is sold, it will be difficult to visit the burial site. Plus, there is a chance that now, or in the future, laws may dictate that you will need to disclose the burial place in order to sell the property. We know of no specific Minnesota disclosure laws that require this right now. But, you definitely would need to disclose the burial location if a buyer specifically asks you about burials on the property, which could affect the property price.

Turn the buried ashes into a tree.

Cremated ashes have a high sodium and PH value, so you can’t grow plants directly in cremated ashes.

However, there are organic products such as "Let Your Love Grow" which, when you mix the product with the ashes, creates a nutrient-rich environment that allows plants to grow from the ashes.

Therefore, you can turn the ashes into trees, bushes and various plants that would serve as a natural remembrance. 

Buy a beautiful urn and keep the ashes in a special place inside (or outside) your home

You could buy a unique urn for the ashes and keep the urn inside your home. Or, you could get creative and buy something like a boulder urn for your garden. The upside with this option is that you are only looking at the price of the urn. The downside is that you now have an urn to take care of, and you need to consider what happens when something happens to you.

Scatter the ashes in a favorite place (or places)

You could scatter the ashes in your favorite place: either on private land (with the owner's permission) or on public land. There are very few regulations for scattering ashes on private land in Minnesota. If you want to scatter ashes in a favorite public place, there are a few considerations:

  • There are really no actual laws for scattering ashes on public lands in Minnesota. However, many public lands might have their own regulations, so be sure to contact them first.
  • When you scatter ashes in a public space, base your actions on “leaving no trace behind”. So, don’t give anybody a reason to question your scattering. For more specifics, see our article, Can you scatter ashes in Mille Lacs?

Scatter the ashes at sea

If the person loved the ocean, you could bury them at sea. Of course, the ocean is quite a distance from Minnesota, so there would be transportation costs. And, if you decide to pursue this option, you will need a boat, as you need to go at least 3 miles out, according to US maritime requirements.

Share the ashes with family and friends

You could get individual urns and share the ashes with family and friends. You could even opt for a more creative approach, such as putting the ashes into special jewelry made for ashes. The upside of this is that everyone can be involved. The downside is that now you need to purchase separate containers for each person.

Send the ashes to space

For the space-minded, you can send the cremation ashes into space, although this is the most expensive option.

 

No matter what you choose, you might want to document where the cremation ashes are and pass this knowledge down to your descendants - especially if you choose a non-cemetery option. You can’t really leave a marker or monument on public land, but documentation would guide later generations to the spot where they could wander and know, for example, that their great-grandfather's ashes are there.

Best wishes in whatever you do! Finding closure for yourself and your family is always a good goal. 

Please feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.

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