Funeral Urns: Regulations, Prices, capacity.


In this article we will answer all your questions about funeral urns: legislation, capacity, destination of ashes, prices.

First, let's read the legislation:


 Legislation concerning the fate of ashes: decree of December 19, 2008 (extract)


Immediately after the cremation of a body, the ashes are collected in a cinerary urn on the outside with a plaque bearing the identity of the deceased and the name of the crematorium. The urn is returned to the person who provided the funeral.

This urn can be, after authorization from the mayor, buried in a grave, placed in a columbarium box, in the cemetery cemetery site or sealed on a funeral monument inside the cemetery. The ashes can also be scattered in a specially equipped area of ​​the cemetery (garden of remembrance) or in the countryside.

Pending a decision on the destination of the ashes, the cinerary urn is kept in the crematorium for a period which may not exceed one year. At the request of the person qualified to provide the funeral, the urn may be kept, under the same conditions, in a place of worship with the agreement of the association responsible for the exercise of worship.


At the end of this period and in the absence of a decision, the ashes are dispersed in the space arranged for this purpose in the cemetery of the municipality of the place of death or in the nearest space equipped for this purpose.


At the request of the person entitled to provide the funeral, the ashes are in their entirety:

  • either kept in the cinerary urn, which can be buried in a burial place (vault) or placed in a columbarium box or sealed on a funeral monument inside the cemetery of the municipality of the place of death or a funeral site
  • or scattered in the countryside, except on public roads, after declaration to the mayor of the municipality.

The identity of the deceased, as well as the date and place of dispersion of his ashes, are entered in a register created for this purpose.


Therefore :

1) It is not possible to separate the ashes.

2) The ashes must be buried in a public place.

We draw your attention to the fact that We draw your attention to the fact that nothing prevents you from dispersing the ashes and keeping the receptacle (the urn without the ashes) at home in order to keep the objects of memory that belonged to the deceased . Contact your funeral director to discuss it.

Our funeral urns are adapted to be placed in columbariums or vaults.


♦ Can the crematorium keep the ashes long enough to find an urn we like?


Yes, your crematorium can keep the urn containing the ashes for a maximum period of one year pending a decision on the destination of the ashes. However, each crematorium has its own regulations and may stipulate different legal terms. Just as some charge the provisional deposit. Find out beforehand to avoid surprises.

At the end of this period, in accordance with the law (Article L2223-18-1), “if the urn is not requested and after formal notice by registered letter from the person who provided the funeral or, failing that, of the next of kin of the deceased, the ashes are dispersed in the space provided for this purpose in the cemetery of the municipality of the place of death or in the cinerary site closest to the place of deposit of the urn, after a period of 30 working days following the return of the acknowledgment of receipt of the registered letter or, where applicable, of the letter not delivered. "

The choice of the destination of the ashes is an important decision. It is advisable to take a few days of reflection before opting for the dispersion of the ashes which is an irreversible act.


♦ Who can collect the funeral urn?


The person who provided for the funeral must present himself at the crematorium with an identity document and proof of address in order to be able to recover the cinerary urn. The funeral directors can also take care of this if it was planned.


♦ The dispersion of cinerary ashes in nature or at sea (legislation and practice)

The dispersion of the ashes:

In nature: The dispersion of ashes in nature today represents about 30 to 40% of the choice of families. The law authorizes dispersal in the countryside, except on public roads, and after declaration to the mayor of the municipality. It is also this law that applies if you want to plant the BIOS urn in the forest.


Which urn to choose for the dispersion of ashes? The dispersion of ashes in the middle of nature. You can choose any funeral urn (ceramic, wooden, metal urn ...) as long as only the ashes will be scattered and you can keep the urn empty of ashes after the dispersion.


At sea: Dispersal at sea is also authorized if it complies with maritime regulations and if it is carried out more than 300 meters from the coast (law of 2/01/1986 and article L. 2213-23 of the CGCT). It is, however, prohibited in a river or a river. It is also possible to immerse the urn containing the ashes in the sea at least 3 miles from the coast (nearly 6 km) and in areas where fishing is prohibited. Your urn will then be installed in a rock cavity at the bottom of the water by a diver. In this case, it is recommended to choose a dispersible biodegradable funeral urn. This form of dispersion offers the advantage of being able to be carried out near the coast, and therefore if necessary under cover.

In any case, any biodegradable urn will be suitable. The difference is in the duration of degradation of the urn in water which can range from a few minutes to several days depending on the model To comply with article R 2213-39 (of the general code of local authorities), we must not dispersing them in clearly marked or delimited maritime public areas and routes (ports, access channels).



♦ Contents of funeral urns:


Apart from the fact that all cinerary ashes must be able to be contained in the funeral urn, no legal text stipulates that the urn must be 3 liters.

Funeral legislation recommends a minimum capacity of 3 liters in order to cope with large bodies of more than 90 kg.

Some crematoriums or funeral service providers require families to use 3-liter urns. However, this abuse is completely illegal if the corpulence of the deceased does not require it. A person weighing 60 to 70 kg requires a cinerary urn of only 2 liters. On average, a 3-liter urn is considered to be clearly sufficient.

You will also find very few funeral urns of more than 3 liters on the market.

Check with your funeral service provider before ordering to find out the size of the columbarium boxes in the municipality where the cinerary urn is deposited. The average dimensions of columbarium cases are 50x50 cm but sometimes less!


To choose the size of a cinerary urn, it is recommended to know the approximate weight of the deceased.


Capacity of ballot boxes Indicative weight of the person

500 ml ==> Up to 8 kg

1 liter ==> up to 15 kg

2 liters ==> up to 50 kg

3 liters ==> more than 50 kg (max approximately 75 kg)

more than 3 liters ==> more than 75 kg


♦ How can I be sure that my crematist wishes will be respected?


You will find here a crematist will to download or print to assert what is right.

This will * must be given, duly completed, to your funeral director and to keep a copy for your loved ones.

* No notarial act is necessary for this will to be applicable. Just as you can have your wishes written on your funeral contracts which are deeds of will. The choice of funeral items may also be mentioned on these contracts.

We advise you to call on a funeral professional for your funeral contracts who is the only one authorized to provide you with a quote for the organization of a funeral.

! You are free to buy your funeral articles outside your provider (funeral directors).

There are criminal penalties for not respecting the wishes of the deceased.



  • Can we display any urn on a monument?


We recommend granite funeral urns or stainless steel urns for outdoor use. Some models are specially designed and patented to withstand outdoors.

Ceramic can withstand a very long time outdoors but no guarantee can be made on the color fastness or the solidity in the event of hail. However, ceramic cinerary urns can be placed in vault or columbarium without problem.





♦ Some definitions :


Cinerary jewelry / Funeral pendant : most often a pendant that can contain a pinch of cinerary ashes from the deceased or a lock of hair. Instead, choose your ash jewelry from funeral specialists so that they are truly adapted to contain ashes and provided with a secure closure.

Caverns: stone or granite constructions located in a cemetery, intended to receive one or more urns from the same family.

Cinerary ashtray: receptacle that contains the ashes of a cremated body.

Columbarium : building located in a cemetery and composed of several boxes where the funeral urns are placed.

Garden of remembrance : place intended for the dispersion of ashes in a cemetery or crematorium.

Reliquary : small miniature urn (small box or casket) which contains souvenir objects belonging to the deceased.

Cinerary bag : fireproof bag that contains the ashes of a cremated body and put back in the funeral urn.

Transport bag / urn pouch : ornamental bag used to transport the funeral urn with discretion. It can be fabric or printed cardboard.

Funeral urn / funeral urn : decorative receptacle in which are inserted a cinerary bag or a cinerary ashtray containing the ashes.