At the time of a loved one's death having already chosen a final resting place would be an ideal situation. Not everyone though will have the chance to pick out where they want their final resting place to be and what it will look like because this is not an ideal world. Often times it's a loved one that's responsible for making these decisions while they are filled with emotion.
There are many things you will have to think about if you are currently in this situation, you'll need to think about location, cemetery types, rules and regulations and burial options.
Finding the Right Cemetery
Location is the first and foremost concern that should be addressed. Where you think the deceased would like to be buried. It can be near where they currently live, or maybe near where they grew up, or where they were born. It can also be a destination place or somewhere they liked to spend time.
Next you want to look at areas near to you and other family members.
Finally, the type of cemetery, the plot requirements and budget should be considered.
Types of Cemeteries
There are actually a number of different cemeteries to consider:
Public Cemeteries – These are for-profit cemeteries owned by an individual or corporation. These are the most common types of cemeteries you'll find. Since they are for-profit businesses, it's very easy to look up reviews on others' experiences with the property. You can easily compare these cemeteries based on cost, location and landscape.
Religious Cemeteries – These are non-profit cemeteries owned by churches, synagogues or mosques. These cemeteries tend to be much smaller. You may be required to be a member of the organization in order to have burial privileges.
District or Municipal Cemeteries – These are non-profit cemeteries owned by the local government, usually a city or county.
National or Veterans' Cemeteries – These non-profit cemeteries are usually reserved for military personnel, their spouses and sometimes other immediate family members. Prices will be all-inclusive (plot, open and closing of the grave, stone and maintenance) and military honors are given. Military honors include the folding and presenting of the American flag, playing "Taps" and the presence of two military personnel at the burial.
Green Cemeteries – These eco-friendly cemeteries ask for specific requirements when considering this option.
Rules and Regulations to Consider
Cemeteries have rules and you should make sure you're aware of them before making a decision. For example, there may be rules regarding:
Religious requirements, especially if you choose a religious cemetery. This often impacts the burial process and procedures.
Headstone specifications such as size and shape, possibly even density.
Types of decorations that may be placed on a grave site and for what length of time especially during holidays. Some cemeteries will not allow artificial flowers or plants on plots.
Visiting hours. This will dictate when and for how long you can visit your loved one. Especially if there are gates at the entrances of the cemetery that you are looking at. If an outer burial container is required.
What to Expect with Cemetery Fees
When inquiring on services provided by the cemetery make sure you get a full list of all the charges you'll incur. Be sure that when you get a quote, you ask for not only immediate charges that you will have to pay but ask what future charges will have to be paid. An itemized breakdown will help you figure out what exactly you're paying for, making it easier to compare your options.
Choosing a Plot within a Cemetery
There are many options that cemeteries offer.
Full in ground burials are traditional and the most common, but some cemeteries may offer aboveground entombment options in mausoleums. There are also options if you are looking for a cremation burial.
Below There are a few of the most popular types of burial options to consider:
Single – This is simply an individual plot where one person is buried as a full burial or cremation.
Double - Two people can be laid to rest in the same grave. This option involves the first casket placed approximately six to seven feet underground and the second casket at standard level. An alternative to a double grave are the more traditional side-by-side graves. Some cemeteries allow for more burials to be interred in a single grave with a combination of cremations and full burials ask for specific details and costs that are associated with these options.
Family – A family may purchase an area of a cemetery where everyone will be buried. This can be an area with one large headstone and smaller plaques for each individual, or simply a row of plots in a cemetery.
Cremation Gardens – These are much smaller plots for cremated remains. They can be actual plots or incorporated into a garden landscape. Some extensive gardens have plots in fountains, benches and statues.
The plot will also need some sort of marker, or headstone. Headstone shapes and sizes may be regulated by the cemetery, so check what your options are.
Mausoleums and Columbarium – Can be private or a community mausoleum. An aboveground option for both full and cremation burials.
What Fees Can You Expect when Purchasing a Grave Space?
Cemeteries will charge different fees for graves depending on their location and the type of grave. There may also be a fee charged for grave maintenance, so check with the cemetery to find out what fees are associated with your type of grave.
Proper planning and research will ultimately give you the most peace of mind and the staff at Woodvale Union Cemetery are here to help. Please call us to set up an appointment so we may help you make a decision and give you a peace of mind.