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Architarium»Death Care 101»Guides

How to Find a Well Managed Cemetery

When making burial arrangements, itís important to find a cemetery, memorial garden or or other burial ground that will provide a secure and peaceful resting place from many years into the future. Unfortunately, there have been many stories in the news in recent years about mismanaged and fraudulent cemeteries. Here are some tips to help you find a well-managed cemetery. Some of the characteristics of a well-run cemetery are obvious from visual inspection, while others require more thorough research.

A well-run cemetery will have regular hours and be secured by a locked gate after hours. This protects the graves and headstones from vandalism. Headstones that are damaged by the elements should be repaired or removed in a timely manner. A well-run cemetery will have attractive landscaping throughout, including trees, bushes, border flowers and possibly a rose garden. If the cemetery has a lawn, it will be well-manicured and weed free. Well-run cemeteries will usually remove flowers and other tributes from graves on a weekly basis to keep the grounds looking neat.

A well-run cemetery should have a friendly and courteous staff that is available during specified hours to answer questions and to provide directions to specific grave sites when needed. One of the less visible signs of a well-run cemetery is its record keeping. Cemeteries should keep meticulous registration records, including information about the occupant of each grave and the date of interment.

Finally, a well-run cemetery should have a provision for long-term maintenance. Once all plots are sold, a cemeteryís cash flow becomes limited. Cemeteries with good financial management will set aside money for maintenance, for example using a trust. Most states require commercial cemeteries to indicate whether perpetual care is included. Cemeteries associated with specific communities, such as church memorial gardens, have easier access to on-going cash flow and labor for maintenance.

Cemeteries are governed by state and local laws. When trying to decide on a cemetery, it helps to become familiar with the laws in your area and ask relevant questions before making a commitment. Examples of the type of questions to ask can be found in this Consumerís Guide to Cemeteries, published by the state of Georgia.

Catie W.
April 4, 2010


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