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Funeral Cemetery – How to Choose a Cemetery, Mausoleum or Crypt?

When planning a funeral, you will have to decide between a burial or cremation. If you choose a traditional burial, you will have to buy a funeral plot at the cemetery. The price of a funeral plot varies widely at different cemeteries. This depends on where the cemetery is located – within city limits or miles out of town.

What are your burial options?

Earth burial as the final disposition of the body is normally what you would think of when planning a funeral. However, cemeteries offer internment in crypts, or entombment in mausoleums. They also offer burial of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium. Many cemeteries also offer you the chance to scatter the remains in specially prepared areas.

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Types of Cemeteries

  1. District cemetery – Typically city or county-owned.
  2. Religious cemetery - Owned by a religious organization such as a church.
  3. Private cemetery - Not owned or operated by the city or county but is a commercial entity.
  4. Veterans’ cemetery - For burial of veterans and their families

Cemetery Plots

Cemeteries offer every type of plot to suit your needs. These include:

  1. Earth Burial Plots – Traditional grave
  2. Lawn Crypts - These are underground tombs, built with reinforced concrete and steel to form a sturdy structure.
  3. Columbarium Niche – The space used to place the urn with cremated remains in the area dedicated for this purpose.
  4. Mausoleum - This plot is typically located above ground. Used to inter human remains.

Choosing a Cemetery

It is not an easy decision to choose a cemetery. You have to weigh your decision by considering the following factors:

  1. The location - How often do you want to visit the cemetery? Would this be the place the deceased would choose? How far from home, do you want it to be?
  2. Religion - You have to consider if the cemetery fall inline with your religious beliefs. Is it divided into sections for different denominations?
  3. Military Service - Was the deceased a military veteran? In this case, burial in a national cemetery is free of charge and includes a grave marker.
  4. Cost - Cemetery costs can get out of hand and exceed your budget, especially if it is in a metropolitan area. Make sure you review all cemetery costs before you make your final decision to purchase a funeral plot.
  5. Aesthetics - Do you have a good feel for the cemetery? Are you sure it would make a good final resting place? Is it well kept? Are there lots of flowers and regular visitors?
  6. Wishes of the deceased - The decision to choose which cemetery is even easier if you have specific wishes of the deceased. With many more people actively involved in pre-planning their funeral, the choice will be made for you.

Cemetery Fees and Services

Here are some of typical cemetery fees and services:

  1. Opening and Closing costs - The cemetery charges a fee for opening and closing the grave.
  2. Grave liner or Burial Vault - In order to stabilize the environment for the casket, the cemetery requires an outer burial container, such as a grave liner or vault. This prevents the ground from "settling" after the burial. It is not required by law, but required by most cemeteries.
  3. Perpetual Care - The cemetery charges a separate endowment fee for maintaining the grave over time. This cost includes:
    • –  Burial or interment services
    • –  Permanent record keeping
    • –  Securing a burial permit
    • –  Maintaining all legal files related to the burial
    • –  Installation and removal of the device used to lower the casket into the grave
  1. Headstone - The marker of monument you place at the site of the grave with the epitaph or engraving. A headstone is not required, but you can place one if you wish. However, cemeteries have a restriction on the size and shape of the headstone.

Purchasing your burial items other than from the cemetery

If you purchase a casket or alternative container online or from another funeral retailer, they have to meet the specifications set by the cemetery. The cemetery is not permitted to impose a handling fee if you buy your casket at any outlet other than the cemetery. When making your funeral arrangements, be sure to ask about handling fees.

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