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Funeral Burial Options

Thinking about how you’d like to be buried, or deciding for a loved one, isn’t something most of us want to spend time doing. It is, however, one of the most important decisions you, or someone else, will have to make. There are several factors to consider when choosing how and where to be buried. Let’s examine those factors one at a time so that you fully understand your burial options.

Also See:
Funeral Planning
Funeral Costs
Funeral and Burial Insurance
Funeral Service Checklist

Choosing a Final Resting Place
Urban cemetery or quiet, rural gravesite? Buried alongside generations of family or next to your spouse, far from your hometown? Just asking those questions can bring a whole host of emotions, can’t it?

Finding a final resting place involves knowing yourself, or the person you’re planning for, quite well. If pre-planning a funeral or  your own burial, decide if you’ll follow a family tradition or whether that’s even important to you. Is there a place that has sentimental meaning for you or your loved ones? How much do you want to spend for a burial plot? What options for burial are available at the places you’re considering? Answering those questions can help you reach a decision.

If you’re planning burial for a loved one, you’ll first need to know if they’ve already purchased a burial plot. That type of pre-planning information should be kept with life insurance paperwork to help survivors make the right decisions. If no plot has been purchased, factors such as where a spouse or partner is buried, what preferences the deceased had expressed, what types of burial are available and the cost of purchasing a specific burial plot should all be considered.

Choosing a Method of Burial
As we mentioned, the burial options available factor into your decision. Traditional interment involves placing a casket within a grave, often within a concrete vault. If “ground burial” is made within a cemetery, the grave can be marked with a headstone or marker individually chosen. Cemeteries often allow the purchase of family vaults marking a specific area in which the remains of several family members will be laid to rest.

A memorial garden, on the other hand, marks the place of burial with some sort of uniform plaque or marker. Memorial gardens are often divided into sections for veterans, children and other special groups.

In some areas, burial within a mausoleum is also available. Mausoleums are above-ground structures built to contain the crypts of several family members or even a large number of people who have chosen this form of burial.

Another possibility to consider is “green burial” in which no vault is used. This option isn’t available at all cemeteries. By the way, cemeteries with green burial sections may allow only markers made from sustainable sources.

Choosing a Monument or Grave Marker
This leads us to another important burial option. Your choice of headstone or memorial marker may depend upon where the burial will take place. As noted earlier, memorial gardens require graves to be marked with a specific type of plaque or marker. Cemeteries normally allow more flexibility in the type and design of marker used.

A funeral home can direct you to local suppliers of memorial markers. Many of these firms now have websites through which the entire process of selecting monument materials, ordering specific engraving and having the marker delivered to the cemetery can be arranged.

Flat or “grass” markers are common, as well as slant, wedge and custom-shaped monuments. Monument companies usually offer memorial benches that can be placed at the graveside if allowed by the particular cemetery. They can also provide family “estate mausoleums” if you choose mausoleum burial.

Where and how to be buried when the time comes is a decision best made by each individual. Because that’s not always a possibility, friends or loved ones often make those decisions. No matter which situation you’re facing, use this article as a guide to help you learn what burial options are available in your area. 

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