This page, as well as the page on cremation, may be especially difficult for you to read.  Yet deciding between burial and cremation is one of the first choices you must make.

Disposition is the term used by the funeral industry to describe the final handling of the deceased’s remains. Although your initial decision for disposition of the body is burial or cremation, there are several variations for each.

Whichever choice you make, the body will eventually return to its natural elements.

Burial Choices

If the body is buried…

  • Interment (earth burial)
  • Entombment in a crypt within a mausoleum (above-ground burial)
  • Burial at sea


Why People Choose Burial

Although the trend is moving toward cremation, the majority of North Americans still choose burial for themselves and their loved ones. Here are some reasons you might choose burial:

  1. Burial is traditional within your family, religious group, or geographical area. For instance, about 79 percent of Americans today choose burial. In Canada, the rate is about 64 percent.
  2. You do not like the idea of the body being “burned”. You prefer to have the body slowly return to the elements.
  3. You want to erect a monument on the grave.
  4. Perhaps you want to visit the grave in the days to come, and you find a graveyard more appealing than a columbarium.


Decisions You Must Make If You Choose Burial

  • Whether or not the body is to be embalmed
  • Which kind of casket (or coffin) will house the body
  • Whether to buy a casket, rent one, or build your own
  • Whether or not the cemetery requires a vault or grave liner
  • Which cemetery to use
  • What kind of plot
  • What to inscribe on the gravestone