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What Do I Need to Know in Choosing the Final Resting Place for My Loved One?

September 1, 2019

Selecting a final resting place for a loved one is an important decision. You want to choose a peaceful location with some connection or significance to your loved one’s life. There are many factors to consider, such as religious customs, personal preferences, and family traditions as well as whether the person wishes to be traditionally buried or cremated.

While families that choose burial typically decide on a cemetery as a final resting place – either above-ground or in-ground – cremation opens up further possibilities. Final resting places following cremation are varied, including traditional burial, columbariums, scattering gardens, cremation jewelry or scattering in a location of significance to your loved one.

Your funeral director can help you make any of these important decisions and give you guidance about what is available in your area, visit local cemeteries with you, and help make all the arrangements necessary for confirming the final resting place for your loved one.

Burial Options for a Casket or Cremation Urn

Whether your loved one prefers to be buried in a casket or cremated, burial options in a cemetery are available, and include both above-ground and in-ground possibilities. When choosing a cemetery, the most important considerations are location, type, rules and requirements, and cost.

For location, you want a setting that is beautiful and well-cared for. This is where your family and future generations will come to pay respect to your loved one’s memory, so you may take into consideration proximity to family and friends. It should be a place that you want to visit, where you can be comforted, and where you will feel a sense of connection with your loved one.

Types of cemeteries include public cemeteries, religious cemeteries, municipal cemeteries and veterans’ cemeteries. Public cemeteries are the most common, and they are for-profit cemeteries that are owned either independently or corporately. Religious cemeteries are non-profit cemeteries which are owned by a religious institution or organization. Municipal or district cemeteries are non-profit cemeteries owned by the city or county. Veterans cemeteries are government-run cemeteries for the burial of veterans and their families.

Cemetery costs are often in addition to any funeral home costs you may incur. These costs can include the burial plot, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, and a headstone or other marker. Cemetery costs can vary from location to location, so it’s best to inquire before making any final decision.

Every cemetery has their own set of rules and requirements. For instance, some cemeteries require a burial or urn vault which are concrete containers to protect the ground from collapsing. Some cemeteries have requirements about the types and sizes of headstones or grave markers or the types of decorations that can be placed on the graves. Be sure to ask about the rules and requirements at any cemetery that you are considering.

In-ground Burials

For in-ground burials, the type of plot is important. A single plot is intended for the burial of one person or one urn. A double plot may be two single plots side-by-side or one that is double in depth in which a second deceased person is buried on top of the first. A family plot has space that is large enough for several family members. And an urn plot is a smaller space designed for burial of a cremation urn.

Above-ground Burials

Some families prefer the option of having their remains entombed above ground level. There are several options for above-ground burial. A mausoleum is a building designed to house the casket, and there are several kinds.

A private mausoleum is a standalone building that is reserved just for you or your family, whereas a community mausoleum is a larger structure that houses the remains of those who purchase space inside. A lawn crypt is a structure that is built above ground with grass planted over the structure so that it blends into the environment. A columbarium is a building or wall structure that is designed as a series of niches to hold cremation urns.

Additional Burial Options

There are a few less traditional options for burial when choosing a final resting place.

Green burials are designed to create less impact on the environment by using eco-friendly materials and by excluding harsh chemicals for embalming, among other environmentally friendly practices. Green cemeteries are categorized by the degree to which they conserve natural resources and preserve the environment. You can learn more from the Green Burial Council.

While not as widely available as conventional burial, it is still possible to choose burial at sea for both full-body burial or cremation. For burial at sea on the Atlantic coast, visit New England Burial At Sea.

Some families choose to be buried at home or in a family cemetery. Your funeral director or local city hall can help you determine if your community permits home burial.

Further Choices for Cremation

In addition to traditional burial in a cemetery or columbarium, there are a number of other options for a final resting place following cremation. Some families choose more than one option as your loved one can be shared amongst family members or find multiple resting places after cremation.

For those that prefer scattering, some cemeteries offer scattering gardens which are landscaped areas where your loved one may be scattered to return to the earth. Or you may decide to choose a special location that was meaningful to your loved one and hold a scattering ceremony there. Other options include a memorial urn or place parts of your loved one in special cremation jewelry to be worn close to the heart. The options are only limited by your imagination. At Keohane, we will help you find the solution that works best for you and your family.

The final resting place you choose is a deeply personal decision. There is no right or wrong choice, only the one that is best for you and your loved one. If you have further questions or would like to talk to one of our knowledgeable funeral directors, please contact us at any of our locations or call our main office at 1-800-Keohane (800-536-4263).

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