How soon or how long after a death must burial take place?

There is no law that states a specific time from for burial. Considerations that will affect timeline include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site, and religious considerations. Public heath laws may have limitations on the maximum length of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Contact your local funeral provider for more details.

Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?

No. Embalming is a choice that depends on factors such as whether there will be an open casket viewing of the body or if there will be an extended time between death and internment. Public health laws may require embalming if the body is going to be transported by air or rail. CLICK HERE for more details about embalming.

What does the mortician need to prepare the body?

If you are going to have a viewing, the mortician will likely want a recent photograph to use as a reference to ensure that your loved one looks as natural as possible. They may suggest that you purchase a new outfit, but that is seldom necessary; if the deceased’s favorite outfit is a size too small or too big, take it to the mortician anyway. Part of the job is making the clothes lie perfectly.

Why is having a place to visit so important?

To remember and to be remembered are natural human needs.  A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing the deceased.  Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. Remembrance practices serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping them bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one’s mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.

In a hundred years will this cemetery still be there?

We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity. Cemeteries throughout the world have been in existence for hundreds of years.

What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?

When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community.  Most cemeteries have crematoriums, and some historic cemeteries even offer guided tours.

What options are available besides ground burial?

Besides ground burial, some cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums. In addition, most cemeteries provide choices for those who have selected cremation. These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space. 

What are burial vaults and grave liners?

These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. A grave liner is a lightweight version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in.

Must I purchase a burial vault?

Most large, active cemeteries have regulations that require the use of a basic grave liner for maintenance and safety purposes. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements. Some smaller rural or churchyard cemeteries do not require a vault or liner.

What is opening/closing the grave and why is it so expensive?

Opening and closing fees can include up to 50 separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the opening and closing fees include administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission, completing other required documentation, entering the particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); physically opening and closing the grave (locating the grave, laying out the boundaries, excavating, and filling it in after the burial); installing and removing the lowering device; placing and removing temporary artificial grass / matting at the grave site; leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the site; and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles. 

Can we dig our own grave to avoid the charge for opening and closing?

Due to safety issues that arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property and the protection of other gravesites, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel only.