Cemetery Types
Frequently Asked Questions ABOUT Burial

Traditionally, a burial service involves a visitation, followed by a funeral service in your place of worship or our funeral home. The casket is typically present at both of these events, and it is your decision on whether to have the casket open or not. You have the option of having the remains interred (earth burial) or entombed in a crypt inside a mausoleum (above ground burial). Family or religious traditions are often a factor for choosing burial. Decisions need to be made on whether the body needs to be embalmed, the type of casket to use, what cemetery to use, and what type of headstone to purchase.

Cemetery Types

There are different types of cemeteries, and personal preference will play a large part in the type you select. Some cemeteries allow for upright headstones to be placed. Others, commonly known as “memorial parks”, may only allow flat headstones and markers, giving the cemetery a park-like feel.

Green cemeteries are also becoming more common. These cemeteries operate under the belief that the natural surroundings should remain undisturbed. They often do not allow for embalming, and a shroud, blanket, or biodegradable casket is used. Headstones, if allowed, typically need to blend with the natural surroundings.

Frequently Asked Questions ABOUT Burial

What are opening and closing fees and why are they so expensive?

Opening and closing fees can include up to and beyond 50 separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the opening and closing fees include administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of documentation which may be required, and 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, leveling, re-grading, and sodding the grave and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles.

Why is having a place to visit so important?

To remember and be remembered are natural human needs. A permanent memorial in a cemetery provides a focal point for remembrance and memorializing of 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 the cemetery runs out of land?

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

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

Laws vary from state to state regarding acceptable time frames for burial. In New Jersey, the funeral home must wait 24 hours AND secure a signed copy of the death certificate. Therefore, 24 hours would be the absolute minimum wait time for a burial to be completed.

There are many considerations when determining how long a funeral home can hold the body. If a body has not been embalmed and refrigeration is not available, a funeral home has 48 hours to complete the burial. A body which has been embalmed, or is being kept in refrigeration, can be held longer. However, because every individual is different, we recommend you discuss time frames with your director if you have any concerns or requirements.

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

No. Embalming is a choice which depends on whether there is to be an open casket viewing, or if there is an extended time between death and interment. Public health laws may require embalming if the body is to be transported by air or rail.

What options are available besides ground burial?

Besides ground burial, some cemeteries offer 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 in 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. They may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass, and “vaults” have some type of seal. A grave liner is a lightweight version of a vault, and does not have a seal. Most cemeteries require a grave liner or vault be used in order to transport heavy equipment and dig without damaging existing graves.