Family members of a certain age may be wondering about how and when to buy a cemetery plot for themselves or their loved ones. Is it a task done prior to one’s passing or afterward? We’re here to tell you why it’s a good idea to purchase a cemetery plot in advance, as opposed to waiting.
When you buy cemetery plots, interestingly enough you’re really purchasing real estate. You are purchasing the right to be buried on that piece of land, which is also called “Interment Rights.”
As with real estate, you will want to shop around and find a good deal, which means you and your family members will need the time to do so. Leaving your family without a preplanned funeral can pile stress onto an already difficult situation. One way to help them, and save money, is to buy a gravesite in advance.
The industry of funerals is an ever-changing one, where prices can double in a decade or less. This depends on demand for land on the cemetery and also how desirable particular places may be. Funeral costs can shoot up by the time your loved ones are left with the task of planning a funeral. Especially as it’s inevitable that cemeteries will run out of room. This is why purchasing a grave is akin to purchasing real estate. There is only so much land in the country, and only so many of specific types of spots such as waterfront.
Another idea if it applies to your situation is to purchase multiple gravesites at once, thus lowering the cost in a bundle deal and guaranteeing you and your loved ones remain close. Remember that funeral directors and cemetery owners want to ease the burden of such a sensitive reality and will invariably do what they can to help. That being said, an organized attempt at preplanning thus helps them as well.
There’s also something called “Right of First Refusal.” This means that if you purchase a plot and then no longer want it, you must first try to sell it back to the cemetery. Although the cemetery is under no obligation to purchase it back. Because you’re pre-buying a gravesite, you’ll appreciate the time to choose wisely.
If you have the foresight to preplan your funeral and purchase a grave early, you’ll have the time to choose a place yourself where you’d like to be laid to rest. Some sights will be more expensive based on location, whether it’s on a hill or somewhere specific in your local cemetery. You reduce the chance of prices skyrocketing for your loved ones when the time comes. This is also inevitable due to inflation and the simple fact that products and services tend to increase in price over time. In addition, the likelihood of finding a gravesite that you actually desire will be higher. The places that most people want to be are going to sell out much sooner than others, so starting early is better in the long run. Your family members won’t be deciding on a spot for you with grief and mourning shadowing their abilities to choose.
When you buy your gravesite, you are not just getting the burial interment rights on a piece of property. Because it is used for burial, there are many other costs associated with it. Cemeteries offer perpetual care for the land. This is government-required. The cemetery must keep up with the maintenance of the property, your gravesite and the others.
You’re also purchasing the opening and closing of the grave. Again, you’re paying for the burial interment rights. The actual digging and then filling back of the grave is an additional cost, because funeral directors have to hire workers to do this task.
There’s also the gravestone, also known as tombstone, grave marker, or headstone. Grave markers come in various shapes, sizes, and styles. You can have a flat grave marker, a bevel marker, slant markers, monuments, or ledgers. These can be bought through the cemetery, a third-party retailer or online. Some cemeteries will not accept gravestones from third-parties or will charge an extra fee.
A grave liner is something you will want to think about as well. This is a typically concrete box that your casket goes into to ensure that it doesn’t sink.
If a ground burial is not something you want to do, or it seems too costly, there are other options. In the United States, cremation has gained popularity. While it doesn’t outdo traditional burials, it is getting traction for its low cost and ability to bring your loved one home or split the remains between family members.
This is a lot to think about. Planning for you or a loved ones death can be intimidating and uncomfortable. Besides the emotional aspect of it all, there are legal components that can be tricky as well. Don’t hesitate to look at a price list at multiple places, do your research, and make the best decision you can. In your research, be sure to look into the Funeral Rule, which is a law enacted to make sure you receive adequate information about what a funeral home is selling to you.
If you’re unsure where even to begin, browse our directory of funeral homes to find a nearby funeral director who can answer any questions you may have.