Choosing a Cemetery ~
Federal Trade Commission.
Ask about the policies on flowers or wreaths at the
What types of cemeteries are there?
Traditional cemeteries have upright monuments and may
have private mausoleums and/or a chapel. They may be either nonprofit
or for-profit ventures.
Memorial parks or memorial gardens have memorials
placed level with the ground. Both have beautiful landscaping and
attractive features. Like traditional cemeteries, they are either
nonprofit or for-profit ventures.
Who owns/manages a cemetery?
Cities, religious groups or private organizations.
Each owner will have different policies for managing
What are the options when choosing a grave?
A single grave or
Lots that accommodate two or more graves, depending on
what is available.
Many cemeteries allow for the burial of two caskets in a grave or have
sections where this is available. Double depth means that one casket
is placed in the grave at an approximate depth of seven feet. When a
second interment is required, the second casket is placed on top of
the first casket at standard depth.
Does the cemetery require a burial vault and/or grave
Both a vault and a liner are outside containers into
which the casket is placed.
Burial vault: This is designed to protect the casket
and may be made of a variety of materials including concrete,
stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or
Grave liner: This is a lightweight version of a vault,
which keeps the grave surface from sinking in.
Most, but not all, cemeteries require you to purchase a
grave liner, which can be several hundred dollars. In most areas of
the country, state or local law does not require that you buy a
vault/container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many
cemeteries require that you have one or the other so that the ground
will not sink. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy
Ask if you can you use a vault purchased elsewhere.
You can choose a monument or plaque:
a flat plaque/marker or
an upright monument.
How do you choose a monument or plaque?
Find out what the cemetery's policies are on types and
Choose within your price range.
Monuments come in three grades of stone rated according
to their density (light, medium, and dark with dark being the
Plaques/markers are generally made of bronze.
Information for choosing the monument or plaque that will meet your
expectations can be found online at
Ask about the year-round grounds maintenance routines.
Perpetual care on a cemetery plot is sometimes included
in the purchase price; clarify this before you buy a site or service.
If it's not included, look for a separate endowment care fee for
maintenance and grounds keeping.
What’s the price difference between a burial and
What is the final cost for burial and what is included in
Earth burial, the most common means of disposition in
the United States, includes a casket, cemetery plot, opening and
closing of the grave, a grave liner or vault and a memorial or marker.
Entombment, or placing the casket above ground in a
mausoleum, may be more expensive than a burial, depending on the cost
of mausoleum space.
Most cemeteries will have a breakdown of costs either
at their administrative offices or online.
Fees can include monuments, interment, recording fees,
land size by child or adult, grave liner, opening and closing the
The cost of a grave site can range between $600 up to
$5,000 in some cemeteries.
A Non-Profit Organization Devoted to the Sharing
of Funeral Expenses