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One of the most personal decisions made during our lives concerns where we will rest after our death. This ultimate choice encompasses many smaller but vital decisions, from the burial to the ceremony to one’s budget. Planning for these decisions in advance can help you and your family avoid unnecessary stress during what is already a sad time. Whether you’re planning your own resting place or want to help a loved one with their decision, you can ask some questions to get started on the right track. The following factors will guide you as you consider how to find a grave in a cemetery that fulfills the wishes and expectations of the parties involved.
You should first think about the question, how would you like to be buried? This choice depends on personal preferences and philosophies, sometimes coming down to the religion a person follows. A study conducted by Choice Mutual found that 47% of people base their burial plans on personal beliefs, while 24% rely on family traditions. Fortunately, no matter one’s inclination, there are several burial options to fulfill those wishes.
People often think of traditional funerals with in-ground burials that include a casket, protective vault and memorial marker. However, cremation continues to grow in popularity. The National Funeral Directors Association stated in their 2020 Cremation & Burial Report that the projected cremation rate that year was 56%. If you choose cremation, the urn may be buried below-ground or placed in a columbarium. Above-ground resting places, like mausoleums, provide a dry, clean space where your loved ones can visit in any weather. People might also opt for a green burial, where each part of the burial process remains eco-friendly. Once you decide which option suits you or your loved one, you can find a funeral home and cemetery that respects those wishes.
Cemeteries differ regarding organization, location and services, all of which come under review when selecting one. Cemeteries typically divide into four main categories: public, religious, district or municipal and national or veteran.
The most common type of cemetery, the public cemetery, falls under independent or corporate ownership and runs on a for-profit basis. Religious organizations manage religious cemeteries, which guarantee the burial service includes essential customs and traditions. Cities and counties own district cemeteries, which often serve as a resting place for people who lack the funds for a funeral service. Lastly, if you or your family member has served in the military, they might want a service with military honors in a government-run national cemetery.
Even among cemeteries in the same category, the regulations, atmosphere, costs and staff will be different. You can pare down your options by looking at these different factors and moving forward from there.
Location concerns two factors: the cemetery’s location and the location of the cemetery plot. The first consideration will affect family members and friends who visit the grave, urn or mausoleum. If the family all lives in the same state, finding a cemetery within the state proves convenient. However, if family members live in different states, you will have to think about other options. You may have a hometown where you’d like to rest. Maybe your extended family has all been buried in the same cemetery, or you prefer to rest in the town where you have built your life. These are all ideas that may guide you toward the answer that works for you.
The cemetery you choose will have different plots available in varied locations. Selecting a particular plot could cost less or more, depending on the value of the space. When you think about how to find a grave in a cemetery, imagine what it will be like when friends and family come to visit. Would you want to lie beneath a beautiful tree, looking at a view, or close to the road where people can easily find your plot? The type of burial you choose will influence this decision, too, as well as traffic within the cemetery, maintenance and cost.
Selecting a cemetery includes overseeing very specific details that might not have occurred to you before. A crucial part of the conversation with funeral homes and cemeteries will involve their rules and regulations. State laws influence these regulations, outlining how burials should take place, and rules vary from cemetery to cemetery.
For example, some cemeteries will not allow floral arrangements or personal decorations on cemetery plots for reasons relating to the upkeep of the grounds. You will also have to confirm with the cemetery whether they have people who maintain the plots or if that task is left to the families. When conducting a burial, state laws usually dictate that the grave requires a vault to prevent the ground from sinking in. Additionally, rules exist regarding the types and sizes of appropriate grave markers. Since 35% of Americans believe it’s important for their funeral services to have religious components, cemeteries have regulations on how they respect those wishes. If you find yourself concerned about any potential guidelines, you can talk with the people providing their services about available options.
While money may seem like the last thing you want to think about during a stressful time, the cost of a cemetery plot, funeral home service and burial matter. According to the NFDA, the median cost of a funeral in 2019 with viewing and burial cost $7,640. This number rose when including a vault and headstone. Though cremation cost less, the NFDA reported that a funeral with viewing and cremation cost $5,150 on average the same year.
You should communicate with the funeral home and cemetery about the complete price list of their services. The Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule states that you have the right to choose and pay only for the services you want or need. However, this rule does not apply universally. You want to directly ask the funeral home and cemetery about their options and costs. These prices could include the cemetery plot, the opening and closing of the grave, the marker, and the maintenance of the grounds. Maintenance fees in particular are important to know, since you may have to pay for perpetual care or maintain the plot yourself. The best move is to ask for the full price list of all immediate and future costs to ensure you are paying for exactly what you want.
As you navigate these questions, the staff at Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery can guide you through the process of funeral service arrangements. Our staff thoughtfully helps you plan a funeral that suits your budget, preferences and religious or spiritual beliefs. We provide cremation and funeral services, and our beautiful grounds in Mesa include a cemetery, mausoleums and an on-site crematory. We understand how trying and sad this time can be, and we’re here to ease your stress. You are welcome to call us at 480-832-2850 or fill out our contact form to request information about our services.