It’s not something we like to think about, but when the time comes to purchase a cemetery plot it’s best to be as informed as possible.

From the types of plots you can choose from, to the costs associated with burial sites, we’ll take you through some of the basics of purchasing a cemetery plot in this post.

How Much Does a Cemetery Plot Cost?

The base cost of a cemetery plot can vary widely from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on the location of the cemetery and available space, as well as how the remains will be buried (such as in a crypt, mausoleum, or columbarium).

Extra costs, like grave liners for caskets and receptacles for cremated remains, should also be factored into the overall cost of the plot.

Types of Cemetery Plots

There are several different types of burial plots available to you when planning a funeral depending on you and your family’s preferences and budget.

A single-depth burial space is meant for one person, and can be marked with either a flat or upright grave marker depending on your preference and the cemetery’s rules.

A double-depth burial space is used for two people, such as married couples or siblings.

A family lot is used for multiple people, and the amount of spaces needed can be customized depending on your needs and what the cemetery has available.

A lawn crypt is similar to a single- or double-depth burial site (where it is designed for one or two individuals) but the casket or caskets are encased inside a concrete (or another material such as steel, bronze, or marble) grave liner.

A mausoleum crypt is usually found under a church or other building, but can also be a separate building in a cemetery. A mausoleum crypt can be designed to accommodate a single-depth burial for one casket, a side-by-side burial for two caskets, or a family burial for multiple caskets.

A columbarium is a wall structure that has space to store the remains of multiple people. Because the space for each plot in a columbarium is limited, it generally houses cremated remains only.

A private estate is also offered by some cemeteries, and is a private space reserved for one family. A private estate can consist of multiple burial sites within an area, or a designated building designed to the family’s specifications.

Veteran Cemeteries

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides burial benefits for veterans at no cost to their family. The benefits include a government headstone or marker, a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate, and a burial site at one of the department’s 135 national cemeteries. Veterans can also choose to be buried in a private cemetery.

Additional costs for burial sites

Depending on the cemetery and your state’s laws, you may need to consider additional costs beyond the price of the plot itself.

For instance, most cemeteries require that you purchase a grave liner if a casket will be placed in the ground. A grave liner can be made of various materials (such as concrete or metal) and cost between $700 to over $10,000. Some cemeteries may even give discounts if multiple plots are purchased at one time.

Since there are a multitude of different options for burials, it’s important that you research each one carefully, and consult the cemetery of your choice to see if they can accommodate what you are looking for.

Can I Pre-Purchase a Burial Plot?

Although the thought of purchasing a cemetery plot for yourself can seem a little macabre, it can lessen the burden on your loved ones later on.

Cemetery plots can be pre-purchased at most American cemeteries and included in your or your family’s funeral plans.

Tt may be wise to pre-purchase a burial plot, especially if you wish to be buried in a specific cemetery. As an example, Ed Koch, a former mayor of New York City, pre-purchased a grave for himself at the Trinity Church Cemetery in Manhattan as prices for plots are on the rise due to the shrinking amount of available space.

If you’re considering pre-purchasing a cemetery plot, remember to include all the additional fees and costs that may come with it when calculating the final purchase price.

How Long Do You Have Your Burial Site for?

In the United States, once you have purchased a burial site it is yours indefinitely. However, some states have stipulations that say if the site doesn’t see any activity for a significant amount of then it can be reclaimed by the cemetery. However, the laws for each state and jurisdiction can vary.

As an example, a Florida statute states that if the owner of a burial site (which would be the remaining family) fails to provide the cemetery with a current residence address for a period of 50 consecutive years, and the cemetery is unable to contact the burial site owner(s) by certified letter mail, then they can begin the legal process of reclaiming the site.

Buying a Burial Plot

Cemetery plots have a plethora of purchasing options that can seem overwhelming, but nonetheless, considering your burial preferences is an important part of a family or individual’s estate plan. Awareness of the costs associated with burial will help you and your family prepare for the future.

Posted by Lisa Hoffart

Lisa is an experienced writer interested in technology and law. She's been writing for LawDepot since 2017.