Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

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SavinMaven
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Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by SavinMaven »

My spouse and I are in our 40s but learned a couple months ago that he is seriously ill and not expected to have a 'normal' lifespan. We are hoping for the best, but, toured two cemeteries today as I can't fathom doing it alone. We are stuck between two options and knowing Bogleheads are an intelligent bunch I'm hoping for some words of wisdom:

1) one option is to purchase a space big enough to hold two urns as we both intend to be cremated. I significantly prefer the aesthetics and location of this option, but, it's only big enough for two, there is no extra room.

2) another option is to purchase a space big enough to hold one casket, but, put our two urns in it instead. The cemetery allows up to four urns in the space one casket takes up, and we have two children, currently teenagers. Should, God forbid, one of our children die young, or not marry at all and want to be interred with us, having "extra" space makes that possible.

In short, if I could see the future, and our kids are lucky enough to grow up and marry and want to be buried elsewhere, I would rather we have the space for two. Since that is hopefully the statistically most likely outcome, I hate to "forego" the preferred aesthetic and location if they won't be joining us. But, should the unthinkable happen, having "extra" space with us could be a significant comfort in a moment of need.

Obviously this is all pretty emotional, and we're not talking to anyone about it IRL. Also, we don't have price info yet, and can't get it before Monday at the earliest, but that is not our foremost consideration.

So, would you value the spot you like, or, 'extra' space just in case, and why?
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David Jay
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by David Jay »

Don't try to reserve burial space for your children.

Neither my wife or I live close to where any of our parents are buried. I don't even live in the same country. Your kids can end up building their lives anywhere on the planet.
Last edited by David Jay on Sat May 08, 2021 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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j.click
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by j.click »

I concur with David Jay. We can't even give our high-priced solid walnut furniture to our kids! They also don't want our silver, china or crystal. No telling where and how they will be 'disposed' years from now.....but I would bet NOT where our ashes will be 'disposed'.
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Taylor Larimore »

SavinMaven wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:10 pm My spouse and I are in our 40s but learned a couple months ago that he is seriously ill and not expected to have a 'normal' lifespan. We are hoping for the best, but, toured two cemeteries today as I can't fathom doing it alone. We are stuck between two options and knowing Bogleheads are an intelligent bunch I'm hoping for some words of wisdom:

1) one option is to purchase a space big enough to hold two urns as we both intend to be cremated. I significantly prefer the aesthetics and location of this option, but, it's only big enough for two, there is no extra room.

2) another option is to purchase a space big enough to hold one casket, but, put our two urns in it instead. The cemetery allows up to four urns in the space one casket takes up, and we have two children, currently teenagers. Should, God forbid, one of our children die young, or not marry at all and want to be interred with us, having "extra" space makes that possible.

In short, if I could see the future, and our kids are lucky enough to grow up and marry and want to be buried elsewhere, I would rather we have the space for two. Since that is hopefully the statistically most likely outcome, I hate to "forego" the preferred aesthetic and location if they won't be joining us. But, should the unthinkable happen, having "extra" space with us could be a significant comfort in a moment of need.

Obviously this is all pretty emotional, and we're not talking to anyone about it IRL. Also, we don't have price info yet, and can't get it before Monday at the earliest, but that is not our foremost consideration.

So, would you value the spot you like, or, 'extra' space just in case, and why?
SavinMaven:

There is another option (which I have chosen): Donate the body to science. Mine goes to the University of Miami. There should be little or no cost.

Best wishes
Taylor
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Cyclesafe
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Cyclesafe »

My wife and I want our ashes to be placed in paper mache turtles to be dropped into the Pacific Ocean. We're hoping to make it to the bottom upright.

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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Golf maniac »

I am simply having my ashes spread in the ocean. I am not sure I understand the reason for the plot, but that’s just me.
Bmac
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Bmac »

Yes, I’m in the “spread my ashes somewhere meaningful and special to me” camp. There are actually two specific locations I have in mind. Is it weird to consider spreading cremains in 2 or more spots?
Katietsu
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Katietsu »

I would select the first spot. It fits the need you are trying to meet now. You like the aesthetics. You will be giving yourself and kids a place to visit should there be a need for the burial plot.

The second option would have to have so many what if’s come true in order to be the right choice. A child who needs a single burial spot for cremated remains. That is very specific. Your children are teenagers, hopefully, it will be many decades before this is a concern. In all those years, the child would not have a spouse, would not want to buried without cremation, would not want to have their remains scattered at a special place or formed into special jewelry. The best place for them would need to be your current location. End of life customs would need to still be consistent with this plan.

Maybe it would help to realize this is not an irreversible decision. You can sell the first plot if circumstances change. I hope I have not been too graphic. I hesitated responding in this way, but was not sure how to give a response otherwise.
ballons
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by ballons »

SavinMaven wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:10 pm ...could be a significant comfort in a moment of need.

Obviously this is all pretty emotional, and we're not talking to anyone about it IRL. Also, we don't have price info yet, and can't get it before Monday at the earliest, but that is not our foremost consideration.
I would say option #1 but do whatever is going to give you comfort; however, fully and completely understand your wishes may not be fulfilled for option #2 including being told that to your face.

I would suggest slowing down this kind of choice instead of running there Monday morning. Maybe evaluate other options beyond just the two choices you have limited yourself to.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by JonnyDVM »

I am sorry for your situation and apologize for the crass useless comments people have felt the need to add for some reason. I understand your concern for your children, but I would go with option one. That sounds like what you would ultimately prefer. Realistically, I think the odds that your children would need to share the space in the future is extremely small. They will likely go on to their own paths in life and not need a final resting space provided for them. Do what you want to do. They will be ok. I can assure you I would not want my mother stressing over something like this.
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PaunchyPirate
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by PaunchyPirate »

Bmac wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:34 pm Yes, I’m in the “spread my ashes somewhere meaningful and special to me” camp. There are actually two specific locations I have in mind. Is it weird to consider spreading cremains in 2 or more spots?
^^^^^ I prefer the above approach. I’ve asked my niece to spread my ashes in the water at a scenic location of her choosing.

My Dad asked that we spread his ashes in 3 different locations — at his childhood schoolhouse in WV, on his parents’ graves, and on top of the empty cemetery plots he and Mom had already purchased. We did as he asked. Mom also now prefers to be cremated and wants her ashes spread on the same plots they already purchased and on her parents and 2 siblings’ graves that are all beside one another. I guess their plots will remain empty.
Luckywon
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Luckywon »

Very sorry to hear of your situation. I hope you are still able to enjoy many good times together.

I also vote for providing for the burial needs of you and your spouse, and not thinking about the burial needs of the rest of the family.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Lalamimi »

Bmac wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:34 pm Yes, I’m in the “spread my ashes somewhere meaningful and special to me” camp. There are actually two specific locations I have in mind. Is it weird to consider spreading cremains in 2 or more spots?
Not at all. My mother wanted her ashes spread "in the Shenandoah Valley". My brother and I took them from Texas back to VA and WVA, sprinkled some at her parents' graves and the rest in a river. Not my idea, as my mother was terrified of drowning, but my brother said she had shown him on their last visit.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Mitchell777 »

PaunchyPirate wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:47 pm
Bmac wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:34 pm Yes, I’m in the “spread my ashes somewhere meaningful and special to me” camp. There are actually two specific locations I have in mind. Is it weird to consider spreading cremains in 2 or more spots?
^^^^^ I prefer the above approach. I’ve asked my niece to spread my ashes in the water at a scenic location of her choosing.

My Dad asked that we spread his ashes in 3 different locations — at his childhood schoolhouse in WV, on his parents’ graves, and on top of the empty cemetery plots he and Mom had already purchased. We did as he asked. Mom also now prefers to be cremated and wants her ashes spread on the same plots they already purchased and on her parents and 2 siblings’ graves that are all beside one another. I guess their plots will remain empty.
When my best friend passed, his family scattered his ashes on his mother's grave site. I learned later the cemetery did not allow it. Although there were about 16 people there, we were at the edge of the cemetery and no one saw us. Not sure the workers would have said anything. I really like the idea and have considered it for myself when the time comes even though I have a space in the family plot.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Stinky »

A serious answer to a serious question.

Option 1. My grandparents are buried in one state, my parents in another, and DW and I have purchased our burial sites in a third. My children will take care of themselves, and I trust they will be buried in a place of their choosing along with their spouses.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by tomcam »

I’m so sorry you’re in this position. My best to you and yours.

I try to be ready for the worst, so for me the best option would indeed to be ready for the untimely demise of my child. And that is exactly what I did when I purchased a family plot.

By the way, I live in a very expensive area (Seattle), and I shopped around a lot. It turned out that my very favorite place was and incredibly intimate and shockingly inexpensive local, 150-year-old cemetery very close to our house. It was the most beautiful and it was $7,000 for 4 urns in a historic and beautiful area. The most expensive was much less intimate and cost $250,000.
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Watty
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Post by Watty »

SavinMaven wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:10 pm So, would you value the spot you like, or, 'extra' space just in case, and why?
What I would do or like really does not matter, it is what you would want and can afford.

Part of the reason that investing and saving is so that decisions like these are more personal decisions than financial decisions.
SavinMaven wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:10 pm 1) one option is to purchase a space big enough to hold two urns as we both intend to be cremated. I significantly prefer the aesthetics and location of this option, but, it's only big enough for two, there is no extra room.
Just for brainstorming could you buy two spaces in this cemetery that are side by side?

I don't know what it would cost but it would allow you to choose the place you like better and also have places for four urns.

If the other two are not needed then your kids could sell the space some day,
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by NancyABQ »

I would go with Option 1. Maybe if you find an Option 2 that isn't much more expensive and in a location you like, you can do that and just mention to your kids that they are welcome to use the extra slots or not, as their lives evolve.

I just wanted to also mention, since people keep mention spreading ashes in various places.... I went through this with my parents.

Well, there are a LOT of ashes. The don't really fit in an urn as you might be thinking. I ended up burying my parents' ashes (they died a year apart :() in their chosen plot, which happened to be next to my grandmother. I think they had purchased the plots at the same time. I had to fly with the ashes, which was a Thing in itself. I hand carried them and it was a non-trivial-weight carry-on item. Maybe 10 pounds? I'm just saying it's more than you might think.

But what I buried was two boxes of ashes. In addition to that, I ended up with a large urn, 2 small urns, and two "scattering containers" (cylinder made of cardboard). My sister and I have made the effort to scatter from the scattering containers in several locations that were meaningful to us and to our parents. We still have some left, and it would feel weird to throw it out, so it sits in a cupboard for now.

You probably don't want to try to "scatter" the entire box. It isn't easy to find a place where it is appropriate (or even legal) to do that (dropping/scattering at sea should work, though). I think the scattering container approach makes more sense. Which means you still need a place to bury the box itself (or a large decorative urn if you could get one big enough??).

I'm just making the point that what you might be picturing regarding ashes isn't necessarily the reality. Maybe some funeral homes will keep the bulk of the ashes and give you just what fits in an urn, but that isn't what happened with us, and as far as I can recall it wasn't offered.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Doom&Gloom »

A few years ago I would have said Option 1. However, after a couple of recent experiences I think I would now go with Option 2 but not place any expectations on your children that those spots have been reserved for them.

Eight years ago a friend I have known since we were two y/o died. He was buried next to his parents in a cemetery in our hometown even though he had not lived there for 40+ years. I was surprised, but his wife and (grown) children obviously thought it was fine. Then earlier this year a mutual friend of ours since the 7th grade died. He was cremated and his ashes buried in a small area next to his father in the same cemetery even though he was married and also had two grown children. I was again surprised by their choices--especially the second guy as there is obviously no room there for his wife (or anybody else).

I doubt either of their parents expected their children to be buried next to them decades later, but that was exactly how it worked out.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Makefile »

Another thing to consider is how common a burial in a specific site, in perpetuity, will be at the end of the children's lives. I believe this is a particularly American thing. Even here cremation is at something like 40% already.
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Post by stan1 »

My inlaws bought bought 4 plots shortly after they were married in 1949 before they even had kids. They were about 24/21 years old at the time. He was a returning Battle of the Bulge veteran so I suppose that made him very aware of mortality. They did not need them for 70 more years, fortunately. They did continue to live just a few miles away for all of their lives and they did accurately predict they would have two and only two children. However, both of their children don't want to be have their remains in the hometown where they haven't had ties for decades. The two extra plots were gifted to the in-laws neighbors who had provided care for them in their later years and who were quite happy to have them as they are prime plots high on a hill. The plots being sold now are down in a valley. It really is difficult to predict the future. If it is important to you to give them the option to be nearby I'd probably buy the space for 4 people. However, you like the first option better so I think that would be fine too.
Last edited by stan1 on Sat May 08, 2021 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Makefile »

stan1 wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:01 pm My inlaws bought bought 4 plots shortly after they were married in 1949 before they even had kids. They were about 24/21 years old at the time. He was a returning Battle of the Bulge veteran so I suppose that made him very aware of mortality. They did not need them for 70 more years, fortunately. They did continue to live just a few miles away for all of their lives and they did accurately predict they would have two and only two children. However, both of their children don't want to be have their remains in the hometown where they haven't had ties for decades. The two extra plots were gifted to the in-laws neighbors who had provided care for them in their later years and who were quite happy to have them as they are prime plots high on a hill. The plots being sold now are down in a valley. It really is difficult to predict the future. If you have the means and it is important to you to give them the option I'd probably buy the space for 4 people. Maybe another family member (cousin, niece, nephew) might use the space if your kids eventually are not interested?
Yeah, I think that also, in decades past, buying extra burial plots was also seen as a (misguided) way to invest, like permanent life insurance.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by JimInIllinois »

I assume there is no urgency after cremation, right? You can keep the urn at home until you decide so why waste precious time planning now?
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Post by stan1 »

JimInIllinois wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:26 pm I assume there is no urgency after cremation, right? You can keep the urn at home until you decide so why waste precious time planning now?
That's how I would feel, but as I got to know in-laws and their friends/neighbors I realized there are still parts of the US where funerals and burials are very, very important culturally. At my FIL's funeral in 2019 people he'd known since high school (now very elderly as he was 94), throughout his working career, golf buddies, doctors, church members, bank tellers all showed up to pay their respects. Some he had not seen in decades. It surprised me a little, but as I saw it playing out I realized how important it was in their community to all plus my spouse did enjoy meeting people he'd only heard about from parents or hadn't seen in over 50 years. This was even in a small city not a small town.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by StevieG72 »

I plan on being cremated and having my ashes dispersed in the ocean. I don’t want to be in a graveyard where my daughter feels obligated to visit, or in an urn on a shelf, or in a closet. In my opinion, it will be easier for my loved ones to find closer this way. Lastly, while not the primary factor, cremation is the least expensive option.

My dad purchased 2 graves in a plot where a handful of his family members are buried. Married, divorced, remarried, died. So he is buried in the plot with his family, the second plot belongs to his ex-wife to do with as she pleases. Supposedly the gravesites were to be transferred to him following the divorce from his first wife, but the details never got ironed out. The issue was raised, ex-wife said she wanted the grave plot, it was not contested or messy, simply let her have it. It could possibly be used for his daughter from his first marriage, or his exwife.

Also the expense was surprising even though the burial plot was already purchased, funeral expenses still exceeded $10,000. Nothing extravagant by any means.

My mom wants to be cremated as well, despite owning grave plots purchased many years ago in a different area.
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JimInIllinois
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by JimInIllinois »

stan1 wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:33 pm
JimInIllinois wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 8:26 pm I assume there is no urgency after cremation, right? You can keep the urn at home until you decide so why waste precious time planning now?
That's how I would feel, but as I got to know in-laws and their friends/neighbors I realized there are still parts of the US where funerals and burials are very, very important culturally. At my FIL's funeral in 2019 people he'd known since high school (now very elderly as he was 94), throughout his working career, golf buddies, doctors, church members, bank tellers all showed up to pay their respects. Some he had not seen in decades. It surprised me a little, but as I saw it playing out I realized how important it was in their community to all plus my spouse did enjoy meeting people he'd only heard about from parents or hadn't seen in over 50 years. This was even in a small city not a small town.
It's not unusual to have the funeral/memorial/celebration-of-life service without the burial immediately following.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by coachd50 »

With regards to option 2- be aware that with regards to cost the cemetery might have extra fees for opening/closing the vault a few times. It is pretty tacky, but I am sure those businesses absolutely enjoy a higher margin because of the delicate nature of their business.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by RudyS »

I vote for option 1. Get a plot for you two. No way to know where the kids will wind up and what their preferences will be when the time comes. I have one set of grandparents in another country. The other set in a mid-Atlantic state. My parents are in Florida. My wife's parents and grandparents are in the Midwest. (All deceased).
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by 123 »

I would lean toward Option 2, pretty much against the grain of the discussion so far. Option 2 provides some options for events and circumstances that can barely be imagined at present. Even though children marry, move away, and have families, it doesn't mean they stay married. Of course the bogleheads approach requires a decision based on the relative economics of the options and whether any extra cost involved significantly impacts the achievement of other financial goals.
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leeks
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by leeks »

Don't get extra space for the kids.
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dodecahedron
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by dodecahedron »

First of all, my heart goes out to both of you as you face this challenging time together.

As you said, this is a very personal emotional decision and what is right for one person or couple or family may not be for another. There may be important religious, family, or ethnic cultural community traditions that can't be discussed on this forum (for good reasons) but I will discuss some aspects of our family's decision making that might offer a useful perspective.

My late husband died still in his 50s with no warning at all (heart attack in his sleep), so my young adult daughters and I were suddenly and unexpectedly faced with the decision of what to do.

He had never talked about his own preferences for after-death disposition of his remains.

By pure serendipity, there is a cemetery within easy walking distance of our home where my husband had often liked to walk recreationally over the 23 years we had lived in this home and it had a new "green burial" section with a wildflower meadow adjacent to a Nature Conservancy property with old growth forest and a lovely stream running through it.

We also considered cremation, but after quickly researching the environmental aspects (carbon impact) of cremation, my daughters and I decided to go with a simple green burial (no embalming permitted in that section of the cemetery, which also requires simple biodegradable wooden or wicker coffins or even allows just a simple burial shroud in lieu of a coffin. No concrete vaults required or even allowed, etc.) It was much less expensive than conventional burial and in keeping with values our family cherishes. I liked the idea of supporting the cemetery in keeping at least part of their property totally free of chemicals (embalming, pesticide, herbicide) that would otherwise be running off into the beautiful stream.

Speaking for myself, it was a comfort to me to be able to buy a second adjacent space for myself, knowing that would simplify decision-making for my daughters down the road when my time eventually comes, but it did not even occur to me to secure spaces for my daughters. We do like walking together in that cemetery and the adjacent Nature Conservancy property when the out-of-town daughter visits.

I think it would feel different for the three of us walking there together if there were also "reserved" spaces for the two of them, who are now in their 30s. They (and their partners) can make their own decisions when the eventual likely time draws nearer. There may be even greener technologies for cremation and additional options for disposition and considerations that we can't even imagine now. (Even just a few years after my husband's death, another green cemetery nearby opened up that probably would have been my choice had it been available at the time of his death.)

My daughters and I enjoy walking in beautiful natural landscaped cemeteries in other places, particularly historic ones like Mount Auburn in Cambridge MA. My great-great-grandfather was a pioneering cemetery superintendent in the mid-19th century "rural cemetery" movement. Those rural cemeteries inspired the subsequent development of our city, state, and national park systems and walking in *any* urban natural park space gives me a sense of kindred spirit-ship with that long-ago ancestor.

One thing to consider as you make your choice: my husband lost his father when he was only 10. His mother acquired a plot for herself (where she was buried almost 40 years later) and bad record keeping by the cemetery (which had changed hands a few times and was located in a state far away from the surviving children) made it very hard to find the actual plots (where my father-in-law was buried and where my mother-in-law was supposed to be laid to rest). This added unneeded stress for my husband and his sister as they made arrangements for burying his mother. Vandalism, acid rain dissolving engravings on stones, the ground shifting, various other things can make it hard to reconstruct grave locations long after the fact.

In your shoes, I would vote for just getting #1. But, as I said, it is a very personal decision. My heart goes out to you and your family. You need to do whatever you and your husband will give most emotional comfort.
Last edited by dodecahedron on Sun May 09, 2021 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by z3r0c00l »

Take a few minutes to watch a hidden camera video on the excesses and abuses of the funeral industry. It is outrageous how they take advantage of people during the worst time in their life. I say cut out the middleman and handle yourself. I come from a spread ashes family and never understood how giving thousands (tens of thousands?) of dollars to a cemetery/funeral home is going to help anyone get closure.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by yohac »

So sorry you are facing this. Please do what brings you comfort. It's so unlikely that your children would be buried with you. Even if they don't get married, who knows what burial norms will be in the future. Even now, half the people in this thread are in the "just scatter my ashes" camp.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Tamarind »

Purchase only the space you and your spouse will need. When my grandmother died recently, my mother became the owner of ~3/16ths of a burial plot in a different state purchased by my great-grandparents. No one new has been buried there in 50 years or so and only one of the descendants lives in that state anymore. Even if the spaces had resale value, which they don't, the effort required to get all the owners to agree to sell would not be worth it. This is not a wild example - it happens a lot whenever excess spaces become part of an estate.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by TomatoTomahto »

dodecahedron wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 5:52 am By pure serendipity, there is a cemetery within easy walking distance of our home where my husband had often liked to walk recreationally over the 23 years we had lived in this home and it had a new "green burial" section with a wildflower meadow adjacent to a Nature Conservancy property with old growth forest and a lovely stream running through it.
Thank you dodecahedron for this. I had assumed that I would, like my father, have my ashes buried on a piece of land that I love. We are installing a wildflower meadow on our land and have old growth forest and a stream adjacent, but I have to admit that I hadn’t considered the carbon effects of cremation. Hmmm. Seems to be the wrong way to exit a life more concerned with carbon footprint in my older years. Maybe donating this sack of bones to science is best.

OP, do whatever feels best to you. If I have a vote, it’s for #1. So sorry for your family’s situation.
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clip651
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by clip651 »

I am very sorry for your husband's diagnosis.

A few thoughts from my perspective. Please think on whatever is useful and discard the rest.

1) there are surprises in medicine, doctors do their best but certainly can't always accurately predict the future. Your husband may live longer than you two currently expect.

2) talk to your teen children about his health condition and what to expect going forwards if things go the way the medical experts expect. But let them know about #1 as well, and that things may go differently than predicted.

3) let them know you are working on burial/funeral planning due to your husband's diagnosis. If they seem open to hearing what you are planning (e.g. cremation and interment), ask what they think about having room for them to be placed near you when the time comes if they were to wish for that.

4) as others have noted, cremation gives you various options, as well as the benefit of flexibility of time to carry them out - interment, spreading ashes, or keeping an urn in the home. You can get all sorts of urns from funeral homes in a variety of styles, and you can also get them from other sources, such as pottery artists or woodworkers doing custom work, or even Amazon and whatnot. Depending on your cultural and religious practices, you might find it comforting to have your husband's urn in the home, and then it could be interred with yours at a hopefully much later date.

If you feel you can't have these conversations with your children, I personally wouldn't recommend planning space for them. Their deaths are statistically likely to be many decades away, and as a lot of people above have pointed out, any number of things might change between now and then that would influence their wishes. There is even a chance you might remarry, or other situations may arise that might impact your own wishes for your own remains.

My parents bought family grave plots when we were young kids. They liked the cemetery, wanted to be financially responsible, and wanted to reserve spots where they thought they'd want to be, and wanted room for me and my siblings as well in case we wanted to be there too. When I learned of this as a teen, it was a bit creepy, knowing someone had bought grave space for me when I was young and healthy. Years passed, and my parents own ideas of how they wanted their remains handled changed multiple times. It looks like none of the plots will be used. I don't even know if we can still prove ownership, or who owns the cemetery, etc. The cemetery made some $$ at the time, and that's been the end of it.

Anyway, your situation is different. But unless you can talk it through with your teens, and find that they would find it comforting to know there is a spot available if they want it near their dad (who hasn't even passed yet), my first guess is that they might find it creepy, and not comforting.

Long story short - do what will bring you and your husband the most comfort now. If pre-planning his funeral is part of that, as it seems to be, best wishes with it. There likely isn't a rush, though. I personally would advise against any pre-planning for your children, unless they are truly on board.

Again, very sorry for your husband's diagnosis. Best wishes to all of you as you go through this time.

cj
JVT
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by JVT »

I would go with option 1. It is obviously deeply personal, both what you want and what you feel will help the surviving family members.

I am not a fan of prepurchasing plots and I have seen it go in a completely different direction than what the original intensions were. My grandparents prepurchased 8 plots - for themselves, 2 children, children's spouses, and the 2 grandkids alive at the time. There were of course more grand children, the grand children got married, and every one moved away. In the end my grandparents were buried in two of the plots. No one else had any desire to be buried there so my mom and uncle agreed that the 6 remaining should pass to me since my wife and I are the only ones who still itemize and would get some benefit donating them back to the church.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by abuss368 »

Cyclesafe wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:27 pm My wife and I want our ashes to be placed in paper mache turtles to be dropped into the Pacific Ocean. We're hoping to make it to the bottom upright.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBcJQviZWB8
That is interesting as I never hear of that option.

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Jablean
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Jablean »

Make sure your agreement says you can resell the plots then go with option 1. Your concern seems to be with children who die young - ie before you, as they'll make their own decision if they don't. Because you don't plan on scattering but will do urns then it's easy to pick up the one urn that would be there and transfer to another location.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Today the movement of family members is such if you try to keep family burial places as they were with earlier generations, many of those left behind would require travel, all over the world, in some cases.

MIL was cremated after the place she had chosen to receive her body for science had a recording stating no more bodies accepted at that time. Whoops! Plan B needed.

I found some very nice small urns on the 'net and had them personalized with their name for MIL, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and such.

Any relative who wanted one was accommodated, I was happy to pay for all in their time of grief.

Some of her remaining ashes were scattered per her wishes. She was a long time member of the Order of Eastern Star, so some ashes were scattered at the Masonic lodge, in the Atlantic Ocean.

She wanted some ashes buried in the graves of her parents. Cemetery wanted a few hundred dollars to bury her ashes. We elected to bring an ordinary garden trowel and saved a few hundred dollars. She would have totally approved of our clandestine efforts. :D

My sister and brother were cremated and both have some of the ashes placed in our parent's graves, as is my intent.

Small urns that are given to those who want to keep loved ones close, and the placement of some of the ashes in the family plots where earlier generations are buried can work for everyone.

Right now I'm the last of our birth family. My two sisters, brother, parents, and father's parents are all together in the family plot. Plenty of room for more if by chance future generations desire to be buried. Some of me will end up there as well, if all goes to plan.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
Mitchell777
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Mitchell777 »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 1:51 pm Today the movement of family members is such if you try to keep family burial places as they were with earlier generations, many of those left behind would require travel, all over the world, in some cases.

MIL was cremated after the place she had chosen to receive her body for science had a recording stating no more bodies accepted at that time. Whoops! Plan B needed.

I found some very nice small urns on the 'net and had them personalized with their name for MIL, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and such.

Any relative who wanted one was accommodated, I was happy to pay for all in their time of grief.

Some of her remaining ashes were scattered per her wishes. She was a long time member of the Order of Eastern Star, so some ashes were scattered at the Masonic lodge, in the Atlantic Ocean.

She wanted some ashes buried in the graves of her parents. Cemetery wanted a few hundred dollars to bury her ashes. We elected to bring an ordinary garden trowel and saved a few hundred dollars. She would have totally approved of our clandestine efforts. :D

My sister and brother were cremated and both have some of the ashes placed in our parent's graves, as is my intent.

Small urns that are given to those who want to keep loved ones close, and the placement of some of the ashes in the family plots where earlier generations are buried can work for everyone.

Right now I'm the last of our birth family. My two sisters, brother, parents, and father's parents are all together in the family plot. Plenty of room for more if by chance future generations desire to be buried. Some of me will end up there as well, if all goes to plan.

Broken Man 1999
How do the cemeteries bury the ashes in the graves of a parent. Is it simply to dig a small hole on top of the grave site and scatter the ashes there and replace the dirt and sod? Thanks
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Mitchell777 wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 2:07 pm
Broken Man 1999 wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 1:51 pm Today the movement of family members is such if you try to keep family burial places as they were with earlier generations, many of those left behind would require travel, all over the world, in some cases.

MIL was cremated after the place she had chosen to receive her body for science had a recording stating no more bodies accepted at that time. Whoops! Plan B needed.

I found some very nice small urns on the 'net and had them personalized with their name for MIL, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and such.

Any relative who wanted one was accommodated, I was happy to pay for all in their time of grief.

Some of her remaining ashes were scattered per her wishes. She was a long time member of the Order of Eastern Star, so some ashes were scattered at the Masonic lodge, in the Atlantic Ocean.

She wanted some ashes buried in the graves of her parents. Cemetery wanted a few hundred dollars to bury her ashes. We elected to bring an ordinary garden trowel and saved a few hundred dollars. She would have totally approved of our clandestine efforts. :D

My sister and brother were cremated and both have some of the ashes placed in our parent's graves, as is my intent.

Small urns that are given to those who want to keep loved ones close, and the placement of some of the ashes in the family plots where earlier generations are buried can work for everyone.

Right now I'm the last of our birth family. My two sisters, brother, parents, and father's parents are all together in the family plot. Plenty of room for more if by chance future generations desire to be buried. Some of me will end up there as well, if all goes to plan.

Broken Man 1999
How do the cemeteries bury the ashes in the graves of a parent. Is it simply to dig a small hole on top of the grave site and scatter the ashes there and replace the dirt and sod? Thanks
Not sure what the cemetery would do, but we did pretty much what you described. Seemed adequate for our needs.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
vested1
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by vested1 »

This comment is not meant to be uncaring, but certain realities should be considered before making a decision. My condolences for the Op's situation.

Since the OP's husband prefers cremation I would suggest using the Neptune Society, and not just for the low cost, which is currently a bit over $1,900. You pay for the service in advance and when death occurs you inform them. After that they take care of everything. They come and pick up the body and do the cremation. They work with the county to get the death certificate and send you as many copies as you desire. They will also spread the ashes at sea if you'd like, or hand the ashes in a container to whomever wants them from the family.

My parents both used this service, as did my sister, who recently died, and the process helped alleviate the inevitable stress over deaths in the family. The Neptune Society representative was tactful and caring. I opted to receive the ashes of my parents, then some time later chartered a boat, after getting the required permits from the county, and my siblings and I spread the ashes in Monterey Bay where they used to fish for lingcod. My sister's ashes were scattered at sea by the Neptune Society because her son, my nephew, was too emotional to deal with it.

My MIL initially wanted to be cremated and interred in a mausoleum with her deceased husband's ashes, which my wife and I had at home per her wishes until she died. She paid for the space 20 years before she died and paid over $6,000 for a space big enough for two urns. A couple years before she died she changed her mind and wanted her and her deceased husband's ashes to be scattered at sea. She wanted a local funeral home to handle her cremation because they had always done the family's funerals. I handled all the details, and the simple cremation and all the extra fees were more than three times what the Neptune Society charged. My wife and I also had to endure the attempted upsell from the funeral director, who told us we should really spring for the deluxe coffin for my MIL to be cremated in, then basically insulted us when we chose the cheapest option, which is what she would have wanted.

I again charted a large boat for the scattering of ashes and about 30 family members attended. We brought bouquets of roses and after scattering the ashes, set the rose petals adrift in Monterey Bay.

The mausoleum was owned by the city and it was required to use their urns, which were almost $700 each. It was also required to pay for yearly maintenance, several hundred, as well as a $750 charge to open and reseal the space. They also required a nameplate on the space, which was their own at a ridiculous price that I can't recall, but it too was in the hundreds of dollars. Since it wasn't going to be used I tried to get the city to buy the space back, and at first they refused, but finally agreed to buy it back for less than half the purchase price.

Honestly, comparing the two experiences, Neptune Society was far less stressful, which is really the main concern after all.

Edited to add, the Neptune Society will deliver the ashes wherever the client wants them to. If the OP still decides to purchase a plot the ashes can be handed over to the funeral director.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Cranberry »

In an effort to organize our important paperwork, I recently looked into an old deed for 6 burial plots, dated 1962. My in-laws had purchased enough plots for themselves and their children. Three of these spots are available, but two of the 3 remaining children live across the country and practice different religions from the official designation of the cemetary. The cemeteries' manager explained that the plots are now jointly owned by the 3 remaining siblings, and that all three would need to agree for anyone other than descendents to use them. She also explained that the plots might have been transferred through my in-laws will, but that will was executed 20 years ago, no copy remains, and the cemetary office was not notified 20 years ago. Ownership cannot be transferred.
I would also use option 1.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by zephyr2114 »

I echo the sentiments of others...sorry you are in these tough circumstances. Hope these ideas may be useful.

As Dodecahedron said:
We also considered cremation, but after quickly researching the environmental aspects (carbon impact) of cremation, my daughters and I decided to go with a simple green burial (no embalming permitted in that section of the cemetery, which also requires simple biodegradable wooden or wicker coffins or even allows just a simple burial shroud in lieu of a coffin. No concrete vaults required or even allowed, etc.)
I too wanted to be green buried in my local cemetery but since that is not allowed currently I have thought about cremation and then the use of soil cremation mixture. Also I have plans in the works with the local cemetery to donate a tree (~$200) so that I do "have a tree" there.

My DM recently died and is buried 100 miles away from where any of her children live. In another cemetery she wanted a stone in her Mother/Father's family plot with her name and the names of her children on it. She designed one and we are in the process of having it made.

Thank you Vested1 for info on Neptune Society - very helpful.

Best wishes OP as you navigate this...
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Doom&Gloom »

FWIW I am attending a funeral today where a 75 y/o man is being buried in his parents' plot. His mother is still living.

Apparently none of his three adult children or his long-time girlfriend had any desire to put him elsewhere and he left no instructions--undoubtedly because he believe that would have been too morbid.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by cheerfulcharlie »

Taylor Larimore wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 6:24 pm There is another option (which I have chosen): Donate the body to science. ... There should be little or no cost.
This is exactly the option I will choose. I would rather have my money/resources go directly to my heirs in a way that is most useful to them, rather than being "wasted" on ways to store my decomposing bodily waste.

For me, the education and care of my heirs (e.g. nephews/nieces) is more important than having a permanent burial location for my ashes. Granted, cremation in my state is fairly cheap, only around $1,000.

Between burial and cremation, I am a fan of cremation due to its much lower cost as compared to burial though. I feel like the free cremation you get when donating your body to medical science is a win-win hack, because our bodily waste both contributes to the greater-good and at the same time, minimizes our estate costs. Me likey.

Then again, maybe I'm just a cheap bastard. Hehe.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Dottie57 »

Here is my story. Female and single.

Mom and Dad bought 3 plots at a very nice cemetery. One of the prettiest I have seen. They bought the third for me because because they didn’t want me to be lonely! I started laughing and asked if they thought We would be picnicking there. My brother laughed too. Since he is married ( I am not) they thought he would be buried with SIL. So it goes.

Now that I have reached Senior status I am glad there is a plot for me. And that I will be buried with m loving parents.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by Beachey »

I ended up purchasing eight sites from an extended family member that had originally been purchased by a Great Uncle back in the 1930's. We needed a plot to bury the cremated remains of my wife's parents and her being an only child, it made sense to bury them where we could visit. The relative was only interested in selling all of them. The headstone was more expensive than the plots. We now know where we will be buried as well. We were able to bury them in a single grave and the plan is for my wife and I to occupy the adjacent one. The other six may stay empty or our children can use them as they see fit. While it was not the low cost solution, it was certainly affordable to us and a good solution. And whether they are used long-term is really not a concern.

So to get back to the OP's original question, I would encourage trying to buy plots that your children will have the option to use if they want. When they are a little older make it clear it is their choice if they want to use them.
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Re: Please Weigh In, Can't Ask Anyone Else - Burial Planning

Post by MrsBDG »

Regarding donating a body 'to science'

One of the most common options is to donate to the local med school, our school has you do the paperwork ahead of time, but then at death you contact them and go through a list of questions. My Dad did not qualify (jaundice DQed him), but my mother did. They picked her up within hours of the call; they will keep the body 1-3 years, cremate her and return ashes (IIR, it might be her ashes or group ashes, I'd have to go back to check, but I know some places do a group cremation.)

Based on my experience with Dad, I had cremation options figured out in case Mom was not able to proceed with the med school donation. When Dad died, I had called around the day before and got prices, but he died much sooner than expected so had completed no paperwork, no names, etc. When I went it to do the forms, the price was $2500, but it had been $800 over the phone. When I mentioned this, they corrected it to match the "phone special deal."

I know they have to make a living, too, but it all felt like they really take advantage of people when they are in no state of mind to shop around. Some cultures really want a grave and headstone, others are good with sprinkling ashes. If visiting a plot is an important part of your grieving and healing then it must be worth the money and that's an ok choice. I'm just glad it's not my culture, since I am also cheap.
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