A Guide to Funeral Products (Caskets, Vaults, Urns, Grave Markers)

Considerations When Selecting Funeral Merchandise

The necessary funeral products and any desired memorials can be purchased from the funeral home, the cemetery or a specialty retailer. You are not required to buy these products from the funeral home or cemetery that is handling the funeral services. Your options include:

  1. Casket. If the body will be buried, you will need to choose a casket. There are many types of caskets to accommodate varied tastes, sizes and budgets. They can be made of metals, woods, and fiberglass. The casket’s interior fabric can be of varied materials, colors and designs.
  2. Burial Vault. Most cemeteries require an outer burial container (i.e., burial vault) to place the casket in for burial. Their primary purpose is to support the soil. The minimum requirement is usually a concrete box. Burial vaults are more sophisticated enclosures that may be made of concrete and lined with plastic or metal. When the body will be entombed in a mausoleum, the cemetery does not require any container beyond the casket.
  3. Urn. When cremation is the choice for final arrangements, an urn is needed to hold the ashes. Even if the family plans to scatter the ashes, a container will be needed to hold the ashes until the scattering takes place. Urns are available in marble, wood or metals such as bronze or steel. They can be personalized with engravings, military medallions, and emblems.
  4. Grave marker. Grave markers can be made of stone such as granite or marble or metals, such as bronze. Memorials lie flush with the ground. Monuments sit upright and vary in size. Before purchasing a grave marker find out about your cemetery’s rules and regulations governing marker placement and type.
  5. Online memorials. Families can remember loved ones with lasting memorials on the world wide web. These memorials are available through your Funeral Director and typically include a biography and photo of your loved one, as well as personal remembrances provided by family members and friends.

See Funeral Guide > Funeral Products for shopping tips as well as detailed descriptions and photos of your funeral product options.

See related topics:

Funeral Planning Steps
Who to Call When Someone Dies
Deceased Transportation
Making Funeral Arrangements
Making Cemetery Arrangements
Third Party Services
Paying Funeral Costs
Estate, Financial and Administrative Matters
Claiming Death Benefits
Obtaining Death Certificates

Go to Learn About Funerals — Index of Topics.