The Process of Purchasing a Burial Plot

There are many reasons to purchase a burial plot in a cemetery ahead of time.

  • Less expensive. When you purchase a burial plot in advance, you’ll most likely save money. Your family won’t be rushed into a decision after your death, and you can take your time shopping around for options. Furthermore, a grieving family is the perfect candidate for others to take advantage of — and owners of cemeteries know this. Rushing a decision can result in your family spending thousands of dollars more than they should.
  • You choose. When you choose where you want to be buried for eternity, you’re in control. If you want to be under a big shady tree or near a stream, you get to pick.
  • Ensuring you’re next to loved ones. Buying multiple cemetery plots is usually cheaper as you usually get a deal. Plus, you ensure you’re buried next to loved ones when you buy their plot as well or the plot next to someone who has already passed.
  • As an investment. The value of land only continues to go up. Purchasing your cemetery plot for use in the future not only saves you money, but the value of the plot itself goes up, enabling you to sell it at a potential profit if need be.
  • Spread the cost out. A burial plot can be a significant cost of the burial itself, leaving the potential cost to family members upon your death. Buying a cemetery plot ahead of time allows you to pay for it ahead of time, taking one less worry off everyone’s plates.

Decide which cemetery. Are you seeking a religious cemetery or a secular one? Each cemetery and township has different rules and regulations for burial. Make sure you find out the details (such as what kind of monument you can have) before purchasing your plot. Furthermore, some cemeteries are cheaper than others (inside the city versus on the outskirts for example), so take your time and shop around to find which cemetery is right for you.

Buying the burial plot. When you purchase the burial plot or a crypt if you are choosing a mausoleum as your final resting place from the cemetery, you are not buying the actual piece of land. You are only purchasing the right to be buried on that land. This is called interment rights. Once you own the interment rights, you can choose to use them for yourself or gift them to someone else. Most cemeteries sell burial plots with the right of first refusal. This means that if you want to sell your burial plot because, for instance, you want to be buried somewhere else, you must offer it back to the cemetery first before a third-party. However, the cemetery can sell burial plots surrounding yours without first informing you. A lot of cemeteries will, however, inform you of a pending sale in case you were interested as a courtesy, recognizing the fact that burial plots can be expensive.

Buying other services. Along with buying your burial plot, some services may or may not be included in the agreement. These include: endowment care or perpetual care, which is a government-required fund that the cemetery fund for cemetery care and maintenance costs, the process of burial itself (the digging and filling of the grave), installing your headstone, and annual maintenance fees, which may be required.
Payment. Some cemeteries offer payment options, even up to five years. Be sure to inquire if there are any financing fees for this option. Or you can pay in full.
Find out exit options. Plans can change at a moment’s notice. If you decide in the future you don’t need this plot, make sure to find out any refund policies or possibilities to transfer the plot to another owner or even another cemetery all together.

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