Frequently Asked Questions

What do funeral directors do?

Primarily they care and safeguard the deceased person until final disposition, including embalming and restorative work. They also arrange and provide an orderly series of events that finalize the funeral, the final disposition, and legal paperwork so the family can proceed forward. They also provide the physical establishment in which all of this can be accomplished.

What purpose does a funeral serve?

The funeral and the ceremony that accompanies it are indeed very important. For those who are left behind, a funeral provides a place for family and friends to gather for support and to reminisce; an opportunity to celebrate the life and accomplishments of a loved one; a chance to say goodbye; and the focal point from which the healing process can begin. The funeral identifies that a person's life has been lived, not that a death has occurred. It is also important to notify the community that this person has died. There are people beyond the immediate family who have the right to grieve a death. For instance, what would have happened in the United States if there had not been a funeral for President John F. Kennedy?

Are the services of a funeral director necessary to bury the dead?

In most states, no. But each state does have different regulations. You should call the local department of health to find out exactly what your state does require.

Do funeral directors get to take advantage of the bereaved?

The most important quality that enables the funeral director to provide services in the community is his or her reputation for honesty and good will. In fact, a good reputation is the key factor in being able to stay in business. If a particular funeral director took advantage of the bereaved, it would not be long before the community responded to those actions by going to a different funeral director.

Is a funeral or memorial service always held in a funeral home or place of worship?

A service can usually be held at any location that family and friends feel would be comfortable and appropriate. Your funeral director can assist with arranging a meaningful service.

Is it ok to have a viewing and not a service?

Yes, if that is the wish of the family, the funeral director will arrange designated times for calling hours, have the times published in the newspaper and simply add to the obituary that services will be private or at the convenience of the family. This information will make it clear to the public as to arrangements, and fulfill the wishes of the family.

How soon after or long after a death must an individual be buried?

This may vary by state so check with your local funeral director. Considerations include the need to secure all permits and authorizations, notification of family and friends, preparation of cemetery site and religious considerations. For example, Orthodox Judaism requires that the body be interred within 24 hours of death. Some states have limitations on the maximum length of time allowed to pass prior to final disposition. Oklahoma requires that the body be buried, embalmed, or cremated within 24 hours. Refrigeration can be used to delay the burial or cremation if needed.

How much does a funeral cost?

A funeral, like any other service, can have a range of prices depending on the provider. It is similar to asking "How much does a wedding cost?" Funeral costs are divided into two categories: services, as provided by the funeral director and funeral home staff; and merchandise, such as caskets, vaults, urns, etc. This price generally includes funeral home staff services, professional care, use of the funeral home and equipment, automotive equipment, visitors register, acknowledgement cards, and casket. However, the price will vary greatly depending on your location, the company that is serving you and the type of funeral you choose. It is a Federal Trade Commission regulation that all funeral-related charges be itemized, printed on a general price list and made available to the public by phone, mail or in person. Therefore it is easy to comparison shop and prearrange your own funeral, taking advantage of competitive pricing by providers. To find out how much the funeral you want costs, contact the funeral home and a funeral director will help you with any questions or concerns you have.

Does a price I receive from the funeral home include everything?

The Funeral Director is responsible for explaining all the charges that specifically pertain to the funeral home's services offered and merchandise sold stated on its general price list. Any additional charges may fall under the category of cash advances. These additional charges might be for opening and closing the grave, clergy honorarium, newspaper notices, flowers, or organist.

Why are funerals so expensive?

There is a great range in prices for services and merchandise from your local funeral directors, depending on the type of funeral you purchase and each company's price structure. The perception that funerals are too expensive usually can be attributed to a lack of familiarity with the normal price range. If you find that the price for certain services and merchandise seems too high, you should check into different types of funerals and different companies until you find the price that fits your budget. Obviously, it is difficult to comparison shop in an at-death situation. Therefore, it is important speak with your local funeral director ahead of time. By preplanning, you can find a provider whose services and merchandise fit your budget.

What if I do not wish to use all the services a funeral home has to offer?

The Federal Trade Commission Funeral Rule requires that all funeral homes itemize their charges for professional services, facilities and motor equipment and that they provide a General Price List to all clients. You have the right to select and pay for only those services you choose to utilize.

How can I best shop and compare funeral service providers?

Talking with friends who have used the services of a funeral home or your personal experience from attending funeral services of friends or relatives at a variety of funeral homes are excellent methods of comparison. You might also consider just stopping by a funeral home unannounced to experience how you are treated. To a lesser degree, you can also gain some experience from randomly contacting various firms by telephone. You can call your local Better Business Bureau to see if complaints have been filed against a local funeral director, and whether they were satisfactorily resolved. Also, you can call one of the national funeral trade associations, which have standards of ethics, to see whether your local funeral homes are members.

May I make all the necessary arrangements in advance?

Yes, usually all arrangements may be made in advance. When you plan ahead, you will be able to consider the many options available. You will have the opportunity to make an informed decision about your funeral and cemetery arrangements, and the form of memorial you prefer. You will be able to make choices that are meaningful to both you and your family, and you will gain peace of mind knowing your family and friends will be relieved of the emotional and financial burden often associated with making arrangements when a death occurs. By pre-arranging your funeral and cemetery services, you benefit by purchasing at today's prices, free from inflationary pressures in the future. Be sure to check whether the contract of your local provider guarantees prices. Your local prearrangement provider can help you pre-plan.

Will life insurance pay for funerals?

Yes, as a convenient method of payment, most quality funeral homes will allow for an insurance assignment. This assignment transaction is processed by the funeral home, releasing only the funeral expenses to the funeral service provider, and with any remaining balance going directly to the beneficiary. The insurance assignment is an effective, convenient means in which to cover funeral expenses. Keep in mind that it's very important to speak with your local funeral provider, to ensure that your insurance policy is applied to the type of funeral service you want. Simply having life insurance will not make the important decisions that must be made in regard to your funeral -- which funeral home will take care of the service, what type of service will be held, how much will be spent on the funeral service, etc.

How can I get an idea about the costs of caskets?

Most caskets are made of either wood or metal. Metal caskets are made of either bronze, copper, steel or stainless steel. Wood caskets are available in a variety of types of wood. Interiors of caskets are usually made with velvet or crepe; however, other materials may be available. Consult your local provider for options in your area.

Why are some casket prices more than others?

It depends upon the materials with which the casket is made. Obviously, a casket made of bronze would be priced higher than one made of steel. A casket made of solid mahogany would be more costly to manufacture than one of soft pine wood. A casket with crepe interior materials would be priced less than an interior of velvet because of the cost of the material. It depends upon what materials the casket shell is made of, the interior materials and any protective features included in that particular model.

What about these independent discount casket companies? Can't I buy my casket there and use it when needed?

Yes, It is certainly a financially sound decision to purchase anything at today's prices which can then be used as a later time; however, you need to consider several things. Who will store the casket, you or the company you purchased it from? If you buy it without delivery, you need to know how your purchase will be protected. Also, you may want to know if the product has any warranties or guarantees attached to it. When and if you select to purchase a casket (or vault) from a third-party vendor, be certain that the seller will guarantee the specific product you purchase be available at the ultimate time of need and will include delivery to wherever it is needed. Shipman Funeral Home and Crematory will not set a funeral at the time of need until the casket has been delivered. If the casket is to be delivered to the funeral home the purchaser must be at the funeral home to receive the casket and inspect it.

Can I build my own casket?

As a matter of fact, you can, although as a matter of practicality, it may present some storage challenges for you. You might consult a funeral home for correct measurements as the casket will ultimately need to be placed into a burial vault, graveliner or mausoleum crypt.

What are burial vaults and graveliners?

These are the outside containers into which the casket is placed. Burial vaults are designed to protect the casket, and may be made of a variety or combination of materials including concrete, stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper, bronze, plastic or fiberglass. A graveliner is a lightweight version of a vault which simply keeps the grave surface from sinking in.

Must I purchase a burial vault?

In most areas of the country, state or local law does not require that you buy a container to surround the casket in the grave. However, many cemeteries require that you have such a container so that the ground will not sink. Either a graveliner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.

Will the funeral home help with Social Security and Veterans death benefits?

Quality service firms will not only assist with securing these death benefits, they will most likely complete all the paperwork for you.

Must an obituary be published in a newspaper?

The publication of an obituary notice is a matter of your personal choice. While most newspapers control the editorial format, you have the right to limit the amount of information, if any, provided to them.

Should a child attend a funeral?

Children grieve just as adults do. Any child old enough to form a relationship will experience some form of grief when a relationship is severed. As adults we may not view a child's behavior as grief as it often is demonstrated in ways which we misunderstand as "moody", "cranky", "withdrawn" or other behavioral patterns which do not appear to us to be grief. When a death occurs children need to be surrounded by feelings of warmth, acceptance and understanding. This may be a tall order to expect of the adults who are experiencing their own grief and upset. Caring adults can guide children through this time when the child is experiencing feelings for which they have no words and thus cannot identify. In a very real way, this time can be a growth experience for the child, teaching about love and relationships. The first task is to create an atmosphere in which the child's thoughts, fears and wishes are recognized. This means that they should be allowed to participate in any of the arrangements, ceremonies and gatherings which are comfortable for them. First, explain what will be happening and why it is happening at a level the child can understand. A child may not be able to speak at a grandparent's funeral but would benefit greatly from the opportunity to draw a picture to be placed in the casket or displayed at the service. Be aware that children will probably have short attention spans and may need to leave a service or gathering before the adults are ready. Many families provide a non-family attendant to care for the children in this event. The key is to allow the participation, not to force it. Forced participation can be harmful. Children instinctively have a good sense of how involved they wish to be. They should be listened to carefully.

Must a casket be transported to the cemetery in a hearse?

While a hearse or casket coach is most commonly used for this purpose, other options are often appropriate. Families might consider more personalized and meaningful options; for example, a fire fighter may be transported on a fire truck.

Why would I need to purchase Certified Copies of a death certificate?

Certified copies are used as proof of death for the transfer of stocks and bonds, banking transactions, life insurance, and property deeds or titles. You funeral provider can help you determine how many you may need and also secure them for you.

How can I personalize a funeral service?

One way is to bring personal items into the funeral home to be displayed in or near the casket. Example: An avid golfer might have a favorite putter placed in the casket. An avid hunter or fisherman might have some of their personal effects or trophies displayed on a memory table. A person who quilted could have the casket draped with a quilt they made. An artist could have their art work displayed. A person's favorite rocking chair could be brought to the funeral home and placed next to the casket.

What is a memory table and/or a memory board?

At the funeral home, a memory table may be used to display personal items of the deceased. A memory board would have a collection of family photographs attached and can be displayed on an easel at the funeral home for visitors to reminisce about their life experiences with the deceased.

Do clergy always officiate at a funeral service?

In conjunction with or sometimes in place of a clergy person, family or friends may share personal thoughts, memories and feelings about the deceased as part of the service.

If I donate my remains to medical science, can there still be a service?

In addition to coordinating the donation, your funeral service provider can arrange for a Memorial Service to be held at a time and place convenient for the family.

How many pallbearers will be needed?

The traditional format regarding the number of pallbearers is 6, primarily due to the length of the standard casket, so that 3 people on either side can conveniently carry the casket. Most caskets have additional handles at each end which will accommodate 2 more bearers.

What happens if someone close to me dies away from home?

After the death has occurred, the most prudent decision would be to call your funeral service provider in your home town. Your funeral director will be able to make the necessary arrangements to transfer the deceased, relieving the family of the burden of dealing with unfamiliar people, places and related issues.

Does VA pay for veterans' funerals?

Although the Veterans Administration does not pay for complete funerals, it does provide certain merchandise and reimbursements. Your local VA office or funeral home can provide you with the variety of benefits available. In general, any veteran with a discharge other than dishonorable is entitled to be buried in an accepting national cemetery. He or she may also receive a bronze, granite, or marble marker appropriately marked with the veteran's rank, war served and religious icon. Other specific circumstances, better explained by your VA benefits counselor, may avail additional burial-related benefits. Generally, if the veteran is receiving disability payments while living the VA will provide $600 at the time of death. If the veteran dies in a VA facility they will also receive transportation reimbursement. All benefits must be applied for and we will complete the paperwork for you.

How long can you wait to have a funeral without embalming?

Most states require that a deceased person either be embalmed or placed in refrigeration after a period of 24 hours from the time of death. Unembalmed remains must be buried or cremated as soon as possible. Funeral services for embalmed remains can be held at any time after that. In some areas of the country that time frame could be as long as three weeks.

After my death, how can my funeral home send me to my cemetery which is out of state?

Arrangements would have to be made with a local funeral home to pick up the body and transfer it to the cemetery.

Is it possible to have a traditional funeral if someone with AIDS dies?

Yes. Death because of AIDS is no different than any other cause of death.

What recourse does a consumer have for poor service or overcharging?

The complaint should first be given to the funeral director that served the family. If the situation is not resolved to your satisfaction, then a complaint should be filed with your state's board of funeral service, or with the consumer complaint department of the state attorney general's office. In most instances, the complaint will be resolved by the local funeral director.

Does a body have to be embalmed before it is buried?

No, embalming is not required for burial. It is your choice. It may be necessary on such factors as whether the family has selected a public viewing with an open casket; or to enhance the deceased's appearance for a private family viewing; if the body is going to be transported by air or rail, cross state lines, or because of the length of time prior to the burial.

What are the principal types of cemeteries, and how do they differ?

Cemeteries usually are divided into two broad categories: traditional cemeteries and memorial parks or gardens. A traditional cemetery, the type used for many generations, has upright monuments, usually made of stone. Many traditional cemeteries also have private mausoleums for above-ground interment. Because many have functioned in their communities for over 100 years, traditional cemeteries typically contain a great deal of history, such as architecture, statuary and other art, as well as the personages interred there. They often feature lush landscaping and impressive greenery.

Memorial parks and gardens are a newer type of cemetery introduced about 75 years ago. They are cemeteries without tombstones: parks and gardens where bronze memorials are placed level with the ground to blend with the beauty of the landscape. They often feature expansive lawns with a variety of trees, flowering beds and gardens, as well as fountains, sculpture or memorial architecture.

Some cemeteries have both traditional upright monument sections and garden sections. Both types of cemeteries may offer above-ground interment in community mausoleums. Both traditional cemeteries and memorial parks may be operated on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis. They may be owned by an individual or by a corporation. Some are owned mutually, and many are the property of towns, counties and religious or fraternal groups. Both may have chapels, crematories, community mausoleums, mortuaries or funeral homes and columbariums.

What are my choices in ground burial?

Most common are single graves and lots composed of two or more graves. Not all types of graves are available at all cemeteries. Please check with the cemetery of your choice for availability of specific graves.

How do I choose the right type of grave?

Because it is an important question, many things must be considered. What type of memorial do you prefer? A marker set flat on the ground? An upright monument? How many burials do you expect to take place? Are you arranging for yourself or your family? How much do you want to spend? Answers to these types of questions will assist you to make the right purchase as graves vary by size, location and by price.

What options are available besides ground burial?

Besides ground burial, many cemeteries offer interment in lawn crypts or entombment in mausoleums. In addition, some cemeteries provide choices for those who have selected cremation. These often include placement of cremated remains in a niche of a columbarium or interment in an urn space. Many cemeteries now provide for scattering of the remains in a garden set aside for that purpose, which can include a plaque memorializing the deceased.

If I'm going to be cremated, why would I want my remains to be placed in a columbarium or interred or scattered at the cemetery? Why shouldn't I just have them scattered in the sea or in some other place of my choosing?

As long as it is permitted by local regulations, your cremated remains can be scattered in a place that is meaningful to you. This can, however, present difficulties for your survivors. Some people may find it hard to simply pour the mortal remains of a loved one out onto the ground or into the sea. If you wish to be scattered somewhere, it is therefore important to discuss your wishes ahead of time with the person or persons who will actually have to do the scattering. Another difficulty with scattering can occur when the remains are disposed of in an anonymous, unmarked or public place. Access to the area may be restricted for some reason in the future, undeveloped land may be developed or any of a host of other conditions may arise that could make it difficult for your survivors to visit the site to remember you. Even if your cremated remains are scattered in your backyard, what happens if your survivors relocate sometime in the future? Once scattered, cremated remains cannot easily be collected back up. Having your remains placed, interred or scattered on a cemetery's grounds ensures that future generations will have a place to go to remember. If remains are scattered somewhere outside the cemetery, many cemeteries will allow you to place a memorial of some type on the cemetery grounds, so survivors have a place to visit that will always be maintained and preserved.

Why is having a place to visit so important?

Because it provides a focal point for memorializing the deceased. To remember, and be remembered, are natural human needs. Throughout human history, memorialization of the dead has been a key component of almost every culture. The Washington Monument, Tomb of the Unknowns and Vietnam "Wall" in Washington, D.C., are examples of memorialization which demonstrate that, throughout our history, we have always honored our dead. Psychologists say that remembrance practices, from the funeral or memorial service to permanent memorialization, serve an important emotional function for survivors by helping to bring closure and allowing the healing process to begin. Providing a permanent resting place for the deceased is a dignified treatment for a loved one's mortal remains, which fulfills the natural human desire for memorialization.

What is opening and closing and why is it so expensive?

Opening and closing fees can include 50 or more separate services provided by the cemetery. Typically, the opening and closing fee includes administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing and coco-matting at the grave site, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave site and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles.

Can we dig our own grave to avoid the charge for opening and closing?

The actual opening of the grave and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee. Because of safety issues which arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property and the protection of property of adjacent interment rights holders, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel.

What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?

When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community. Since more and more individuals and families are purchasing their graves in advance, graves which have been sold will be opened when a death occurs, markers will be placed and other services will be provided. Most states have laws that require funds to be set aside from each sale for the long-term care and maintenance of the cemetery. The amount to be set aside varies from state to state. Many states require 10 or 15 percent of the lot purchase price to be placed into an endowment care fund.

What is double depth?

Many cemeteries either allow for the burial of two caskets in a grave or have specific sections where this type of grave is available. Double depth just means that one casket is placed in the grave at an approximate depth of seven feet. When a second interment is required, the second casket is placed on top of the first casket at standard depth.

How much do graves cost, and why aren't they priced the same all over?

Grave prices can really vary. Grave prices are normally set based on their location. Normally, graves in urban centers are more expensive than in rural centers because of the replacement value of land. In addition, within the cemetery, grave prices can vary by the section in which the grave is located. For example, graves in a "feature" section -- where there is a central feature such as a sculpture for the benefit of lot owners in that section -- may be more expensive than in non-feature sections. The number of interments permitted in a grave may also affect the price, as may the size of the grave. Graves which allow for a monument are more expensive due to the space required for the monument.

What is entombment?

Entombment is the interment of human remains in a tomb or mausoleum. It involves placing a casket or cremation urn in a crypt or niche (individual compartment within a mausoleum or columbarium) which is then sealed.

What is a mausoleum?

Historically, the word mausoleum comes from the large temple-like structure which was erected by Queen Artemisia in the ancient city of Harlicarnassua as the final resting place for her late husband, King Mausolus. Mausolus, from which the word mausoleum is derived, ruled over Caria in Asia Minor and died in 353 B.C. His mausoleum is now regarded as the fifth of the Seven Wonders of the World. The pyramids of Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India are other examples of ancient mausolea. A community mausoleum is simply a large building designed to provide above-ground entombment for a number of people. Sharing the costs of the mausoleum with other individuals makes it more affordable than a private mausoleum. Crypts are designed to hold casketed remains. Following a casket entombment, the crypt is sealed, and a granite or marble front is attached. Niches will accommodate urns containing cremated remains. Following an urn entombment, a niche front of granite, marble, bronze, wood or glass is attached.

What are the advantages of a mausoleum burial?

Mausoleum crypts are both clean and dry. They offer a viable alternative for those who simply have an aversion to being interred in the ground. Furthermore, with the growing shortage of available land for cemetery use, mausolea allow for a maximum number of entombments in a minimum amount of space.

Isn't it only for rich people?

In most cases, the cost of mausoleum entombment is comparable to the costs of interment in a lot with an upright monument.

Are there different types of crypts?

Yes. Single crypts are designed for one entombment only. There are three different kinds of double crypts: tandem crypts permit two entombments lengthwise in a crypt; companion crypts permit two entombments side-by-side; westminster crypts permit two entombments, the first below floor level, and the second above it. Most mausolea are built five, six and seven crypts high. The price of the crypt will depend on its location and the type of crypt. For example: upper level crypts are usually less expensive than those located at eye level.

What is a columbarium?

A columbarium, often located within a mausoleum or chapel, is constructed of numerous small compartments (niches) designed to hold urns containing cremated remains.

What happens to a mausoleum if there is an earthquake?

Modern mausoleums are steel-reinforced concrete structures, covered with granite or marble. They typically are built to meet all local building specifications, including those regarding earthquakes.

How does a mausoleum protect the body?

Because the casket is placed in a clean, dry, above-ground crypt, the remains are protected from water and the elements of the earth.

Can you actually see the bodies in a mausoleum?

No. When you visit a mausoleum, you see the front of the crypt, which typically is made of granite or marble. The name of the person who has died, along with their years of birth and death, appear on the crypt front. The casket rests behind a solid, sealed panel which is placed behind the granite or marble crypt front.

How many people will a crypt hold?

Crypts come in several sizes. Although "singles" and "doubles" are the most common, some crypts can accommodate up to four caskets.

What is a tandem?

A tandem is a mausoleum space designed to accommodate two caskets lengthwise.

How can a mausoleum help eliminate expenses?

When you select a mausoleum, you eliminate the need for expensive vaults and monuments or memorials which almost always are purchased with ordinary earth burial.

What are lawn crypts?

Lawn crypts are essentially underground tombs, constructed of reinforced concrete, steel and waterproof materials.

What is the difference between lawn crypts and double depth burial spaces?

Lawn crypts are pre-set. Double depth burial lots are set at the time of death.

May I make the necessary arrangements in advance?

Yes, usually all arrangements may be made in advance. When you plan ahead, you will be able to consider the many options available. You will have the opportunity to make an informed decision about your funeral and cemetery arrangements and the form of memorial you prefer. You will be able to make choices that are meaningful to both you and your family, and you will gain peace of mind knowing your family and friends will be relieved of the emotional and financial burden often associated with making arrangements when a death occurs. By prearranging your funeral and cemetery services, you benefit by purchasing at today's prices, free from inflationary pressures in the future. Be sure to check whether the contract of your local provider guarantees prices. Your cemetery or funeral provider can help you preplan.

What happens if I buy cemetery property here in advance and later move to another area?

Many cemeteries now belong to credit exchange programs which allow for a dollar-for-dollar transfer of services and merchandise between participating cemeteries. When prearranging, be sure to ask your local provider about exchange privileges offered.

When I buy a grave do I receive a deed just like when I purchase other types of real estate?

When you purchase a grave you are in fact purchasing the right to designate who may be interred in the space, rather than purchasing the grave itself, which remains the property and responsibility of the cemetery. You also have a right to place a memorial where permitted.

What is endowment care?

A portion of the purchase price of the grave is contributed to an endowment care fund. Income from the endowment care fund is used to provide regular care and maintenance at the cemetery. Regular care and maintenance activities can include: cutting grass, regrading of graves, planting and caring for trees, maintenance of water supply systems, roads, drainage, etc. The minimum amount to be contributed to the endowment care fund is normally governed by law.

What guarantee do I have that Endowment Care will take care of the cemetery?

While not guaranteed, endowment care funds are very conservatively managed. Income from the fund can only be spent on care and maintenance of the cemetery -- the capital is not touched. Endowment care funds are governed by laws in most states for consumer protection.

Can I resell my grave?

It really depends on the rules and regulations of the cemetery and the laws of the state or province in which the cemetery is located. While some cemeteries will repurchase graves, others have laws restricting the resale to a third party.

Is cemetery property tax deductible?

No, the purchase of a grave is not tax-deductible, although the charitable donation of unwanted grave spaces may be deductible as an "in kind" charitable contribution. Check with a knowledgeable tax advisor for details. Even still, the grave is purchased in today's dollars, free from inflationary pressures of the future.

Will a cemetery ever be used for something else? Can the bodies be moved and buildings built?

Communities afford respect to cemeteries and to the memorialization which cemeteries provide. In order to protect interment rights holders, strict rules govern the use of cemetery lands. Graves are normally considered to be sold in perpetuity which restricts possible re-development.

In a hundred years will this cemetery still be here?

We think of cemetery lands as being in perpetuity. There are cemeteries throughout the world that have been in existence well over a hundred years.

What is a disinterment? What is the process, and why does it happen?

Disinterment is the removal of the casket containing human remains from a grave. Laws governing disinterment vary by state or province. Disinterment may be ordered by certain public officials without the consent of the grave owner or the next of kin, for example, as part of a police investigation. Individuals or families may also request dis-interment, if for example they would like to have the human remains relocated to another grave in the cemetery, to a mausoleum or possibly shipped to a country of birth. Disinterment requires the grave to be opened. The casket containing the human remains is removed. Depending on the length of time the casket has been buried, a new casket may be required. The grave is then closed.

What does the government give a veteran in regards to a marker?

The United States government provides headstones and markers for the graves of veterans and eligible dependents anywhere in the world. Flat bronze, flat granite, flat marble and upright marble types are available to mark the grave of a veteran or dependent in the style consistent with existing monuments at the place of burial. Bronze niche markers are also available to mark columbaria in national cemeteries used for internment of cremated remains. For more information, see the Department of Veterans Affairs web site for the National Cemetery System at http://www.cem.va.gov.

If I am a veteran and plan to be buried in a national cemetery, is my spouse eligible to be buried next to me?

Yes, a space for your spouse or any other minor children can be authorized at the time of your death.

Shipman Funeral Homes