Many times when customers come to us they are taken completely by surprise when they find out just how many rules and restrictions they are bound by, as far as erecting a memorial is concerned.
Most cemeteries have basic rules of one kind or another; you may find that there are fewer rules at smaller cemeteries, but that you then have to contend with less maintenance of the grave; larger cemeteries are often run in a very business-like manner, and they have policies just like any other business. It’s important that you find out what kind of fees and are involved in opening and closing a grave when someone is buried; check and find out whether or not a burial container or vault is required, what second rights of interment are and what kind of memorial you will be allowed to place on your grave. When customers come to us, ninety percent of the time they have no idea that the upright monument they want is not allowed on their grave; either because the cemetery only allows flat markers, or they only allow upright monuments on two or more spaces (or three or four or six more) or only if upright allowances were purchased, or only in certain sections of the cemetery. Other times customers discover that they must have bronze on granite markers, and the price of bronze (due to the copper content) is greater than the cost of granite, meaning that their budget is undersized and they are looking at spending more than they had originally intended.
Getting a shock like this can leave customers feeling betrayed by the cemetery, or the counselor that sold them the plots, and they will feel wary of dealing with the cemetery, as they feel they have been lied to. Often our customers refuse to have anything else to do with the cemetery by the time they get to us, and they want us to help them fight the status quo. Unfortunately, we are not able to make the cemeteries change their rules, and often we have the hard task of informing customers that they are left with little choice, unless they want to pay to have their loved one exhumed and buried in another cemetery. It is easier to ask the tough questions before you commit yourself, than to try to buck the rules.
Some of the questions that you should ask before you purchase plots at a cemetery are:
* What kind of cost will the burial entail?
* What costs are incured when burying someone?
* If I purchase second rights of interment what other costs will it incur?
* What type of memorial (upright, flat, bronze, etc) can I place on my grave space(s)?
* What material(s) can my memorial(s) be made of?
* How many memorials can I place on my grave space(s)?
* Can I bury cremated remains in my grave space(s) and will I be charged for opening and closing of the grave?
* Can I bury cremated remains in a grave space where someone is already interred?
* If I do not bury a loved one in a grave space can I still erect a memorial for them on the grave space?
* What responsibility does the cemetery have for grounds keeping, maintenance and repairs or replacements of damaged memorials?
* What kind of fee, if any, does the cemetery charge for erecting a memorial on the grave space(s)?
Death is not something that most people are comfortable considering, especially not their own. However, forewarned is forearmed, and finding out before you purchase cemetery plots just what you will and will not be allowed to do is very comforting. Pre-planning is a step that you can take that will give you more control and a feeling of security when dealing with cemeteries.