Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Federal Rules, Regulations and Laws in the U.S. About Cremation Urns?

There are not many laws, rules, regulations and standards concerning cremation urns. The container you choose to hold your loved one’s cremated remains is virtually unlimited in size, shape and material. However, there are a number of rules you should consider for the purchase of urns, and your plans to transport the urn or bury it on land or sea.

Laws Concerning Urn Purchases

The Federal Trade Commission set what is known as the “Funeral Rule,” which governs the goods and services that you purchase as part of funeral or memorial planning. For example, a funeral home cannot require you to purchase a casket when you have ordered cremation services. You are allowed to buy an urn online and have it shipped to the funeral home directly, if you choose. The funeral home is not permitted to refuse to handle the urn you bought or require you to be present when it arrives. A good place to get more information is here at Shopping for Funeral Services including the FTC Funeral Rule

Regulations on Urn Transportation and Shipping

Before you select an urn, you should confirm that it meets your needs for transportation or shipping. The U.S. Postal Service requires that the urn be sift-proof, tightly closed and padded. Should you wish to bring the urn with you on an airplane, you must contact the airline to address business-specific regulations, and you must visit the Transportation Safety Administration’s website to research rules for bringing an urn as carry-on or checked luggage.

Standard Urn Sizing

The Cremation Association of North America has established an industry standard size for adult urns. This size is defined by internal capacity to hold ashes, which is measured in cubic inches. The industry standard is 200 cubic inches for an adult, which should be large enough to hold the complete ashes of almost any adult. However, not all urns are made to hold this volume. Urns meant for children or to be used as keepsakes usually have a smaller capacity. Depending on the style of urn you purchase, some adult urns may also hold a smaller volume of remains.

Rules Regarding Burial of Urns

If you plan to bury the urn, you should also consider the laws concerning the burial of urns. Cemeteries usually maintain their own standards for the type of urn they will accept for a columbarium or urn vault. On public lands, you may not be able to bury an urn of any type. Urns buried at sea must be made of certain materials and should be dropped a specific distance from the shore.

You have an almost unlimited choice in urns for your loved one’s final rest. With these rules and regulations in mind, you can select an urn that meets the unique requirements of your plans.

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