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Can you be buried with personal items?

Yes, in most cases you can be buried with personal items. The types of personal items allowed can vary based on state and local laws as well as the policies of the cemetery or funeral home. However, there is generally some flexibility to include small mementos or other objects that were meaningful to the deceased.

What kinds of personal items can you be buried with?

Some common personal items that people choose to be buried with include:

  • Photographs
  • Handwritten notes or letters
  • Jewelry like wedding rings or a favorite necklace
  • Religious items like a bible or rosary
  • Military medals or insignia
  • Clothing items
  • A favorite book or other small hobby-related objects
  • Coins or currency

Essentially, any small memento that is not dangerous or hazardous can likely be buried with a loved one. The funeral director can advise on any restrictions or limitations if you are unsure about a specific item.

Are there any rules or restrictions?

While personal items are generally allowed, there are some important restrictions to keep in mind:

  • Any objects must fit within the casket/urn space – oversized or bulky items may not be permitted.
  • No items that could be considered dangerous such as explosives, firearms, knives, etc.
  • No illegal or hazardous materials.
  • Some cemeteries prohibit valuables like jewelry being buried.
  • Any electronic devices should have batteries removed.
  • Perishable items like food or flowers will decay and are not recommended.
  • Check if the cemetery has any rules against certain types of objects.

So you do need to use good judgment and consult the funeral home on any questionable items. As long as the objects are small, innocuous mementos, there should be no issues.

Why do people choose to bury personal items?

There are a few key reasons why someone may opt to bury personal possessions with their loved one:

  • Sentimental value – Items like old love letters or a child’s art project can hold deep sentimental meaning. Burying them can provide comfort and a symbolic sense of closeness.
  • Honoring religious or cultural traditions – Some faiths have customary items to include, like rosary beads for Catholics.
  • Indulging hobbies and passions – Burying something like a deck of cards, favorite golf club or camera can be a nice representation of someone’s favorite hobbies.
  • Personalization – Choosing objects with special significance can help make the burial more personable and meaningful.
  • Showing remembrance – Photos, handwritten notes and flowers can be touching tributes from loved ones.

In many ways, personal possessions can tell a story and give one last glimpse into a loved one’s personality and interests.

What steps should you take?

If you do wish to include personal items, here are some tips:

  • Discuss any plans with your funeral director so you understand any restrictions or policies.
  • Make sure the objects are small enough to fit within the casket or urn.
  • Place items neatly alongside or on top of the deceased before burial.
  • Consider wrapping fragile items in tissue paper or plastic to protect from damage.
  • Write up an inventory of objects being buried for records.
  • Remove batteries from electronic devices.
  • Avoid perishable or hazardous materials.
  • Seek permission from cemetery management if unsure about any items.

Planning ahead ensures personal possessions can be safely included per the burial wishes.

Are there any legal issues?

For the most part, there are no major legal issues to be aware of when burying personal possessions:

  • There are no laws restricting sentimental objects being buried.
  • The deceased person’s will or estate plan should dictate what items are buried with them.
  • In some cases, disputes among family members over buried valuables like jewelry have arisen but are rare.
  • Issues could come up if extremely valuable or disputed property is buried.
  • Problems are unlikely barring any unlawful or hazardous materials.
  • Cemeteries and funeral homes can refuse inappropriate or restricted objects.

So the law does not prohibit personal mementos being included during burial. But extremely valuable or controversial property should be avoided to sidestep any potential issues.

Can you be buried with a pet?

Burying human remains alongside a beloved pet is generally not an option at traditional cemeteries. However, there are some exceptions:

  • Pet cemeteries may allow joint burial of humans and pets in the same plot.
  • Green or natural burials sometimes permit human-animal burials.
  • Cremated human remains may be allowed placed into a pet’s burial plot.
  • A few special pet-owner cemeteries cater exclusively to joint burials.

So it is only possible under limited circumstances and requires making special arrangements with a pet cemetery or joint-burial facility. But natural and pet cemeteries are growing in popularity if this option appeals to you.

What memorabilia is best to bury?

Recommended memorabilia to consider burying includes:

Item Reason
Photographs Simple memento with deep personal meaning
Handwritten notes/letters Touching sentiments in the departed’s own handwriting
Jewelry Special jewelry like a wedding ring can hold significance
Clothing items Something comfortable and familiar
Hobby items Item representing favorite hobbies or interests
Religious articles Rosaries, prayer cards, bibles, etc. if faith was important

These are just some of the more popular and meaningful options people choose. The most appropriate memorabilia often depends on the individual’s personality and relationships.

Can you be buried in a special outfit?

Being buried in a favorite or meaningful outfit is generally allowed. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the outfit is comfortable and not too tight fitting.
  • Share your outfit wishes with family/funeral director.
  • The outfit must be provided or purchased.
  • Consider whether the outfit may become damaged over time.
  • Avoid outfits that are too elaborate or formal.
  • Outfits cannot be prohibited religious apparel.

A special outfit can be a nice way to reflect someone’s personal style and preferences. Just opt for Comfortable, modest everyday attire rather than a costume or formalwear.

Can you take things with you when cremated?

For cremation burials, personal items can also be included by:

  • Placing small objects in the coffin to be cremated with the body.
  • Putting items in the urn alongside the ashes.
  • Cremating and co-mingling the ashes of items with the deceased’s remains.

So personal effects can still accompany a loved one through cremation. Space is more limited so very small mementos or jewelry that can be cremated work best.


Burying personal possessions and memorabilia is an excellent way to make the burial more unique and meaningful. Small sentimental objects that capture aspects of the deceased’s life and relationships are often the most appropriate to include. Consulting closely with your funeral director ensures any items adhere to cemetery policies. With thoughtful consideration, personal items can allow loved ones to memorialize the departed just as they wish.