Understanding The Funeral Prearrangement Process

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The Most Common Cemetery Property Options

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It's difficult to face end-of-life decisions when it comes to burial and entombment for ourselves at some point down the road or for a loved one now. No one wants to think about something that feels like a trivial detail in the face of such a great loss. Unfortunately, these decisions are necessary, including choosing the right option for burial or entombment. Cemeteries typically have two options—in-ground and aboveground—and they can be broken down into a few categories. Here are the most common cemetery property options.  


  • Single burial plot—a single burial plot is a piece of property on cemetery grounds intended for the burial of a single person. In most cases, the cemetery owns this piece of property but the purchaser is buying the rights to it for an indefinite amount of time. The details of this arrangement often vary from cemetery to cemetery so it's important to understand the fine print.  
  • Companion burial plot—a companion plot has the same details as a single burial plot, but the space is intended for two people. Depending on the cemetery and the arrangement, there may be options for a side-by-side companion plot or a double depth plot.  
  • Family plot—the details of a family plot are the same as a companion plot but intended for multiple family members.  
  • Urn plot—this plot is intended for the burial of an urn that contains cremated remains. Urn plots are typically smaller than burial plots and therefore are often less expensive.


  • Private mausoleums—many areas of the country have soil conditions that are unfit for burial. A mausoleum built above the ground is often a better option. A private mausoleum is a structure built to house a single body or sometimes a companion or family. It may also be intended to house remains in an urn. In some cases, the structure can be custom-built.  
  • Lawn crypt—a lawn crypt is an aboveground concrete burial structure intended to house a casket. The structure is covered with sod to allow it to blend into the landscape.  
  • Community mausoleums—another option is a community mausoleum built to house the remains of multiple members of the community. Because the costs are shared, this option is typically much less expensive than a private mausoleum. Like burial plots, community mausoleums have options for single, companion, and family spaces.  
  • Columbarium—another option aboveground in many cemeteries is similar to a community mausoleum only intended to house cremation urns. These permanent structures contain a series of niches built for this purpose.

For more information about cemetery planning, contact a local funeral home near you.