Deciding Upon a Final Resting Place

Deciding upon a final resting place can be one of the most important decisions that a person can make during his or her life time, and, unfortunately, a lot of people never made that decision before the time comes when it is needed. Or, worse, there are many cases documented – and written about by disappointed, frustrated, and saddened relatives online – each year in which a person’s final decision about his or her permanent resting place is somehow hindered by lack of communication or lack of planning, some unexpected bureaucratic or legal issue, or some other problem that results only in frustrated or even sadness and disappointment. This can be a tragic development, particularly – as is sometimes the case – the deceased learns about the problem on his or her deathbed, when there is little that can be done about it. Years of anticipation of a peaceful passing, squarely certain in the knowledge of what will be done with a person’s body, can sometimes result in panic over night in such cases. While there is never a way to completely guarantee that a person’s final resting place will be just as he or she imagines in life, there are some ways to minimize the risks that a person’s plans and wishes for a burial (or even a cremation combined with a disposal of the ashes in a very specific manner) will not be carried out as intended. This informative guide offers but a few ideas for effectively deciding upon a final resting place.

Resting Place Options In a Cemetery

The first thing to consider about deciding upon a final resting place is the various options that are available. Knowing what the options are is probably the best way to assure that the choice is selected that is most appropriate for maintaining a person’s legacy in memorial. It would be a sad situation, in fact, to discover that a person choose cremation over burial as his final wishes simply because he or she assumed that options for a final resting place were much more limited in the case of burial than in the case of cremation. Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact.

Deciding on a final resting place is one of life's most important decisions.

A person who desires his or her final resting place be in a traditional cemetery has plenty of options at his or her disposal. The most important thing to consider in this instance is any burial plots that may have been purchased in advance for potential use by the person. It is often the case that a person late in life suddenly realizes that he or she has been left two or three burial plots by various family members who, when they purchased plots for themselves, also were convinced by a cemetery sales person to buy plots for other in the family as well. In many cases, a person who is trying to decide upon his or her final resting place realizes there are two or three options – and, further, the realization can also come about that none of the options are acceptable. In such cases, the person may not understand that people who are entitled to use a plot in a cemetery also have the right to sell that plot to someone else if they see fit. There are many resources to consult for offering a plot for sale, and many people have discovered that they can make thousands of dollars off the sale of a burial space. Many cemeteries have staff members who specialize in helping plot holders to sell their land, but those who are interested in doing that should realize that working with such a person may not always be in their best financial interest. A cemetery staff member who helps a family to sell a plot may often charge a much higher rate fee or commission than another service might. It is advisable for anyone who considers this option to check around to alternative means for selling a plot before agreeing to hire a cemetery sales person. Whatever the case, may people have found over the years that they have been able to cash in on burial plots that they have access too and use the money to pay in advance for a spot that they have selected themselves. So, if a person seems to believe that he or she cannot have that special place under a specific tree in a specific cemetery next to a specific person, it is likely the case that’s not true. There are, in fact, many options available for people who wish to be buried in a cemetery.

Resting Place Options For Cremation

When it comes to determining a final resting place for someone who has been cremated, the options are, indeed, much more numerous than for a person who asked to be buried. (But that is not to say, as we mention above the burial options are nil). The final resting place for cremation can be an urn, or it can be, well, just about anywhere – if remains are to be scattered. And, further, if the place is to be an urn, there is the additional important question of what is to be done with the urn. And, further still, the advent of many new products in the memorial products industry in recent years, gives a person who will be cremated many more options for multiple resting places. Families in today’s world often find themselves able to provide a person with multiple resting places by simply using keepsake urns, or cremation jewelry. With these products, a family can divide the cremation remains of a beloved loved one into almost any number of portions that can then be taken to multiple homes and placed on display in various locales. It is even the case that, in some instances, a family has seen that a keepsake cremation urn is buried in several different grave plots scattered across several different cemeteries in several different towns. The fact that most cemeteries are open to the burial of cremation ashes – usually so long as they are encased in an urn – means that final resting place options for cremation are almost limitless. (It is worth noting that many cemeteries host special places known as “cremation gardens” in which a family scatters a love one’s ashes above ground – where they are presumably distributed elsewhere, eventually, by the wind – and then memorializes the family member with a plaque or headstone or some other memorial sign in the garden itself. Furthermore, some may even wish to permanently hold the remains in a cremation headstone, instead of interring directly in the earth or even scattering the ashes. This just goes to further demonstrate the amount of memorial options for cremation.

And, finally, most cemeteries today (at least in large-to-midsized cities) offer mausoleums in which cremation remains can be permanently stored. In many cases, these mausoleums offer glass cases in which a permanent memorial can be placed on display in a very public area – such as in the seating area of a chapel where a cemetery or funeral home’s services are held before mourners from across the globe. Such a resting spot typically costs much more money than a traditional burial – especially when one considers the price of an urn which must be at its artistic best in order to be deemed worthy of such a public final resting place – but, for many, the extra price is definitely worth the sacrifice for preserving a legacy well into the future.

Making and Communicating The Decision

The most important part of making burial arrangements is communication with one's family.

After you have considered all options for a final resting place carefully, it is important to remember to actually make a final decision. It may seem strange to see such an admonition in an article about choosing a final resting place, but it is necessary just the same. Statistics typically point out that many people who consider a final resting place may, in fact, make a decision about where they would prefer to be buried (or have their cremation ashes stored or scattered) but they simply neglect to take the final, all-important, step of actually telling a loved one (or anyone) what their intentions are. In some cases, these plans are mentioned to an attorney or, perhaps, a professional who works at a cemetery or funeral home, with the assumption that the message will get to the proper individuals who will be responsible for carrying out the plans upon the deceased’s death. But many unexpected events can often occur between the making of the arrangements and the death of the person. Offices and companies and move or go out of business, relationships may sour to the point that people who were once thought of as trusted friends become mortal enemies, and a whole host of other situations can arise that would keep the plans for this important decision from being carried out to its fullest extent. This is when tragedy strikes, as we mentioned above in the introduction to this article. A man or woman’s legacy, the ability to have an everlasting peace, are entirely at stake in these cases, and to make matters as complicated and as difficult as possible, it is sometimes the case that the deceased learns, only on his or her deathbed, that the life-long plans for burial will not be possible after all.

To avoid this incredibly sad, stressful and unfortunate scenario, experts in a variety of field related to death care (from psychology to financial planning to consumer activism) say it is always important to never assume that a family knows your plan for burial (or cremation). Telling several people about your precise wishes and plans is as important as making the decision itself. Admittedly, this is sometimes a tough conversation to have with family members, many of whom are not likely to be excited about talking about your demise (or anyone’s demise, for that matter), but the conversation is as important as can be had in a family. Experts, likewise, strongly suggest that family members who have not heard from their elders (say, their parents, grandparents or even aunts and uncles) about their wishes or desires for after death, be sure to strike up the conversation. Though it make be an awkward and uncomfortable thing to talk about for most families, having the discussion about a person’s choice for final resting place can be about as big of a blessing as can be experienced. Having to make these decisions on the fly at the time of a death is something that no one who is in the midst of the shock of planning a memorial service for a loved one relishes having to do. One of the greatest gifts you can give your family, therefore, is to make absolutely sure that your choices and ideas for a final resting place are as well communicated and as well planned as can be.

Carrying Out The Decision

A now, finally, a note to the family member or friend who finds himself in the honorable position of having been selected to carry out a person’s final decisions and choices regarding his or her resting place. Be ready, experts say, to potentially fight the urge to add even more purchases and expenses to the plans. Funeral home and cemetery companies will likely have many “upgrades” to offer for the family whose loved one has carefully planned his or her own burial and memorial service. This is, purely, a way to entice people in the midst of grief over the loss of a loved one to spend more money than may be wise or necessary in order to “create a fitting memorial” or burial for their family member or friend. The main thing that those who must carry out the decision that has been made by a decease about his or her final resting place is it just remember to stay true to the plans, no matter what else may be offered. Doing this will be a way to create plenty of good will among other family members and will help assure that the deceased’s legacy lives on in such a way that his or her spirit will be able to rest peacefully through the ages in the very home that he or she chose. What better tribute to a life well lived!