How to Pick a Columbarium

How to Pick a Columbarium in Singapore

Cremation offers a variety of options when it comes to managing your loved one’s ashes. You can scatter it at sea, use some of it for memorial jewelry, or you can simply store it in a columbarium.

If you’re considering this traditional option as the final resting place for a loved one or even for yourself, then this guide is for you. We’ll give you some of our tips in picking the right columbarium in Singapore. 

Set Aside a Budget

Like many financial considerations in life, setting a budget for a columbarium is necessary to avoid instances of overspending. There are different factors that affect the cost of leasing a columbarium.

For one, choosing a private columbarium would be more expensive than a government-managed columbarium. 

In the case of the former, the cost ranges from $2,000 to $40,000, including single, double, or family suite. As for the latter, expect to pay around $500 for a single person and around $900 for a family.

You’ll also have to pay for the urn and marble plaque separately, which will cost depending on its size and material. 

Note that you’re not exactly purchasing a plot in the columbarium. Instead, you’re actually paying for the lease of a niche (more on that later). In Singapore, columbaria come in different terms: 30-year lease, 40-year lease, 99-year lease, or permanent lease. 

Selecting a Location

As mentioned, there are two types of columbaria in Singapore: government-managed columbarium and private columbarium. 

Government-managed columbaria are open to all religions and beliefs. While they’re generally more affordable, one of its main drawbacks is that advanced booking isn’t allowed.

On the other hand, choosing a private columbarium allows you to pick a location and niche with a religious setting. In Singapore, there are private Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, and Taoist columbaria.

You also have the option of choosing an indoor or outdoor setting, in which case the former would be more expensive. 

Private columbaria are generally more spacious, some of which feature other facilities like cafeterias and prayer rooms.

Selecting a Niche

A columbarium niche is a compartment that holds the urn and memorial plaque. 

Depending on your religious beliefs, it may also feature a tiny altar. For instance, Chinese-style columbaria normally include a photo of the deceased, as well as some personal belongings.

If you’re thinking about including some items along with the urn, you must consider the size of the columbarium, and whether you wish to include other family members’ urns or not. 

In Singapore, there are niches for individuals and families. Some columbaria also feature exclusive family suites, which can hold up to 30 urns in some cases. 

Choosing the appropriate niche level is also important. For instance, some members of the Chinese community believe that each level represents a certain meaning, with higher levels reserved for older family members and lower levels for younger members.

Practicality also plays a role in choosing the appropriate level. You’d want to pick a level that you can easily access, ideally at eye level.

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