Frequently Asked Questions

How do you choose a cemetery?

Most people prefer a place that is convenient for family visitations or where other family members already lie in repose. In general terms, choosing a place that’s close to your “roots,” if possible, is important. But in terms of planning ahead, the simple idea of choosing a cemetery where there is room is something to consider. You may have a good idea now where you would like to be buried, but unless you make arrangements now, there is a chance that there will be no space available when the time comes.

You’ll want to choose a final resting place that has natural beauty and physical enhancements such as statuary, architecture, walkways and fine plantings — so that visitors are not only encouraged to come, but find solace and peace in the experience.

You should, of course, also consider the facility’s general maintenance — which you can determine very quickly by observing how the grass is clipped, whether the shrubs are pruned in common areas, or whether the areas around individual grave sites are well and respectfully maintained.

In addition, you’ll want to evaluate whether the cemetery has easy access to all sections, and whether you can drive on good roadways and park close by your selected gravesite. Finally, you’ll want to choose a facility with a good reputation, built on enduring service to the community, and stability. It’s surprising what you can learn by asking a few questions locally.

Again, keep in mind that when you narrow your choices down to two or three, it’s easy to arrange a tour by calling the cemetery office. You might also plan to take some time on a pleasant afternoon and stroll around the properties you’ve selected. In this way you will get a good “feel” for the place you want to be.

Everything considered, the best idea is to select a cemetery that has some meaning for you, and to reserve grave space now.

What is opening and closing and why is it so expensive?

Opening and closing fees can include up to and beyond 50 separate services provided by the cemetery.  Typically, the opening and closing fee include administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing and coco-matting at the grave site, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave 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?

The actual opening and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee.  Due to safety issues which 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.

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.  Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, 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.

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.

In a hundred years will this cemetery still be there?

We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity.  There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence for hundreds of years.

How soon after or how long after a death must an individual be buried?

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 which depends on factors like if there is to be an open casket viewing of the body or if there is to 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.

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 use of a container to surround the casket in the grave.

 

Leading providers of Cemetery Services in Houston, TX, our Cemetery Service Professionals will be happy to assist you with anything from selecting cemetery property to ordering a monument or marker.
We are here to help every step of the way.

 

Choosing Cremation

Many think that choosing cremation means not having a permanent place to visit a loved one. Cremation provides the exact same options as burial ... maybe even more ... just with a different type of disposition.

Pre-need Planning

Different families express grief uniquely and every person has varying wishes for their own remembrances. Thankfully, there are many Permanent Memorialization options that can be included in your pre-need planning.