Burial Questions & Answers

burial questions and answers

What is a conventional burial?

In a conventional burial, the deceased rests in a casket made of metal or wood. Sometimes the body is embalmed, usually for a viewing. During the graveside service, the family may decide to witness the lowering of the casket, or not; this is the family’s choice. Eventually when lowered it is placed inside a concrete vault that lines the grave, and has a lid. The lidded vault shields the casket from soil and keeps the ground from sinking. Thus the cemetery can maintain a flat, manicured look.

Is a grave vault legally required?

No. There are no laws mandating that a vault be used in a burial. Many cemeteries, though, have a policy that a vault is required.

Can I make my own casket?

Yes. A Sacred Moment can provide you with the necessary dimensions that will meet your cemetery’s requirements. We also can direct you to do-it-yourself casket plans (See Build your own casket) and ready-to-assemble casket kits (See Resources-Helpful Links). In our experience, building a do-it-yourself casket gives some friends and family members a way to express and channel their grief.

A do-it-yourself casket can also be personalized. One Northwest man had a casket built in his own workshop by his buddies. After much measuring and sawing, they mischievously added the finishing touch of a carved quarter-moon. It suggested an outhouse, of course. They knew their late friend would have laughed and approved.

Inexpensive fiberboard and cardboard caskets made for cremation are allowed for burial; though, most cemeteries will require vaults. (Be sure to check with yours.) These simple, inexpensive containers invite decoration. Supplies often include colored markers, stickers, family photos, and images cut from magazines. Friends and family, including children, dive in, writing messages, sticking on hearts, drawing flowers, and taping on pictures of their loved one’s favorite destinations. Family members comment on it being a healing activity.

What can be placed in a casket?

Practically anything that fits, that has meaning. Often these objects include small artworks from children, letters from loved ones, Bibles, family photos, and an amazing variety of mementos. Others receive bon voyage gifts of whisky and cigarettes. There are no rules. Remember that since burials began, people have been buried with a few of their favorite things.

What should people wear in their caskets?

Especially on the west coast, where dress is more casual, just about anything goes. The gamut runs from nude to tuxedos. A person could be dressed for a favorite activity, such as fishing or hiking. Another could be attired in well-worn soft clothes for TV watching, or a brand-new jacket and tie. It’s entirely up to the family, who often know what the deceased would choose for a final outfit.

What does the average funeral cost?

The average funeral costs $7,181. Between 2004 and 2014, the median cost of an adult funeral increased 28.6%, from $5,582 to $7,181, according to the National Funeral Director’s Association (NFDA). Although that ten-year increase sounds high, between 1980 and 1989 average funeral costs rose by 87%.

They define the funeral as including viewing and ceremony, with the following products and services: Basic service fee; Transfer of remains to funeral home; Embalming and other preparation of the body; Use of facilities and staff for viewing and for ceremony at the funeral home; Hearse; Service car/van; Basic printed memorial package; and Metal casket.

What does such a funeral cost at A Sacred Moment?

We offer several affordable plans. A comparable package at A Sacred Moment, which includes additional delivery of the casketed remains to a local cemetery, is easily half the national average. Call us at (425) 316-8290(425) 316-8290 for specific prices that meet your needs.

What do cemetery costs include?

First there’s the cost of the plot, which can range all the way from zero to $5,000. It depends on who owns the property—public cemeteries operated by a city or county; religious cemeteries owned by a particular group such as the Catholic Church; private cemeteries owned by a corporation or company; or national veterans’ cemeteries, which provide free burials for veterans and their spouses.

When calling a specific cemetery about costs, be sure to inquire about more than plots. Get their fees for everything, including: Concrete vault or liner; Set-up of vault or liner; Grave opening; Set-up of the lowering device; Placement of the casket on the device; Ground covering; Tent/chairs (if requested); Lowering of the casket; Grave closing; Monument or marker; Set-up of monument or marker; and ongoing maintenance.