Many times families seek to have the cremated remains placed in a cemetery. A grave or niche in a cemetery can be a place that family members can visit an focalize their grief, but it can also be very expensive and lead to some confusion about what your family can or cannot do.
The first thing to remember is a cemetery is a business. The cemetery may be owned by a church, an association, a municipality, a private individual or a large corporation. Some are very accommodating while others are fee intensive and even worse mislead you about laws and requirements.
So here is a simple guide to help:
- Ask about the ownership of the cemetery? are they local or corporate structure?
- You DO NOT need a funeral director to bury cremated remains (the actual cremation is considered final disposition in Texas)
- You have the right to purchase your urn, urn vault or containers from anywhere, as long as they meet the requirements of the cemetery
- You DO NOT need to pay for services that are unnecessary or unneeded.
- If a cemetery cites a law, then demand they produce the law in writing for you. Often times the ‘law’ does not exist.
- Cemeteries can have requirements, but must fully disclose those to you.
- The Texas Department of Banking and Texas Funeral Service Commission are your consumer protection
Recently we helped a family who wanted the cremated remains of their loved one place in a cemetery that demanded $1295 to dig the grave/ set up tent and chairs/ close grave, $495 for a funeral director to be present, $495 for a cremation vault, and $300 for overtime charges. After visiting with this family the cemetery ‘waived’ the fee for a funeral director and overtime, and allowed the family to purchase a cremation vault for $145 from our firm. The cemetery also agreed to lower their $1295 charge since no tent and chairs were needed or necessary. The family saved nearly $1,000 by learning about their consumer rights.
You may not think clearly at the time you need to make these decisions so make sure someone is thinking for you. It will save you not only money but grief in the end.