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It Costs How Much?, Never to Old to Help, Leading by Example, Seniors Giving Back

Written by Dan Moran. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on February 21, 2018 with No Comments

For anyone who has had the responsibility of making cemetery arrangements for a loved one, the costs of opening and closing of a grave (O/C), a crypt or a cremation niche hits them like a slap in the face.  “To dig a grave, you want how much?” is often heard during a meeting to finalize the paperwork for a burial. “I’ll get my brothers and we’ll come dig the grave!”

There is a lot more to the opening and closing of a final resting place than just the digging of a grave.  Under the umbrella of “opening and closing,” the charges include administration and permanent record keeping.  It must be determined who has the ownership with accompanying right to open a grave. 

Permission to open the grave is only half of the process.  The second half is who has the rights of disposition for the human remains.  In other words, who is permitted by law to dispose of a human body.    Entering the interment particulars in the interment register and maintaining all the legal records are included in the opening and closing fee.

At Calumet Park, a triple verification system is in place, which means locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling in the interment space, the installation and removal of the lowering device, placement and removal of artificial grass and set up to allow for a safe burial site for both the family and friends attending a committal service and for the cemetery crew responsible for the burial.  When weather conditions permit, the costs for setting up and taking down of a tent are part of the O/C charges.

Upon the completion of a burial, the grave must be filled in immediately, and again a number of times until the dirt has settled.  Once the dirt has settled, and after tamping and re-grading of the topsoil, grass must be planted.  When markers are in place, they must be tended to which usually means removing and replacing to allow the grave to by prepared for the burial.  Finally, there is a pro-rated insurance that must be maintained for the cemetery for the protection of both the families served and the employees against any possible damage from equipment while processing the interment and financial protection should any person or persons be injured during the burial process.

A burial includes the digging of the grave, removing the dirt from the site (to be brought back after the interment is completed), the setting of a vault (outer protective receptacle into which the casket is placed), the lowering of the casket into the vault, filling in of the grave and grave completion process as described above.

The good news, if such a thing exists when considering all that goes into the O/C process, is that you can prearrange and freeze the price for the opening and closing of a grave.  Currently at Calumet Park, the price for an O/C is $2,140 and can be prearranged with as little as 10 percent down and interest free monthly payments of $80.25 per month for 24 months.  Of course, we are an old-fashioned company in that we will accept payment in full on credit cards, debit cards, personal check or actual cash.

It should be noted that there are no payment terms except payment in full when you find yourself in an immediate need situation and short of money.  A grave will not be opened without this fee paid at the time of need.  It is not the intent of cemeteries to add to one’s burden by requiring an O/C to be paid in full before a grave will be dug.   However, history has proven that some people do not pay their bills, which puts an unfair burden on all the others who do pay.

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