Cemeteries and Burial Plots: Understanding Your Options

Although more people are choosing cremation these days, burial continues to be the preferred method of final disposition in the U.S. Even those who choose cremation must decide what to do with the cremated remains, and, for many, burial is the answer.

Just how does one choose a cemetery and burial plot? Depending on your cultural and religious traditions, location, budget, and other factors, you have many options to choose from. Keep in mind that cemeteries are not governed by the Funeral Rule, so it’s important to learn as much as you can and understand the choices available to you before you make a decision.

Types of Cemeteries

In general, there are four types of cemeteries to choose from:

  • Public or district cemeteries, which are typically owned by a local government
  • Private cemeteries owned by private enterprises
  • Religious cemeteries owned by a church or other religious organization
  • Veterans cemeteries are operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Anyone can be buried in a public cemetery, while veterans’ cemeteries exist solely for the benefit of military veterans and their families. Private and religious cemeteries may or may not restrict sale of burial plots to church members or members of another organization. Fees for burial vary widely, so you can save time by checking fees by telephone before deciding which cemeteries you want to visit; district cemeteries typically offer the most affordable option for the general public.

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