When Your Final Resting Place Isn't Quite So Final

When you pre arrange funerals, you are giving yourself control over the proceedings for when the time comes. This control can take on several forms, whether you have simply made the arrangements for the costs to be covered, with the details of the service itself being left in the hands of your nearest and dearest. You might also take a more active role in the service itself, knowing precisely what your plan has paid for, and leaving instructions for the service. But what about when the funeral itself is over? If you have opted for burial, you will have presumably chosen your burial plot with some care. And yet, what about when your final resting place isn't quite as final as you might think?

Perpetual or Temporary

There are two forms of burial in Australia, and these are perpetual (essentially forever, unless the very cemetery itself is relocated at some point in the future), as well as temporary. It might be curious to consider that a burial plot can be only be utilised as a fixed-term lease, but this is already the case in some Australian cemeteries. More cemeteries in various jurisdictions might follow suit, so your final resting place might not be as assured as you assumed. It's difficult to speculate what might happen in the years (and decades) to come, and whether any future changes will affect existing graves..

The Terms of the Interment

Whether you pay for a burial plot by itself, or whether it's part of your funeral plan, you need to very carefully check the terms of the interment. You should not assume that it's a permanent one. Unless it's clearly stated that your plot is covered by a perpetual interment, it will be a temporary one, and the length of interment will be stipulated. Even a temporary interment is not a short-term proposition, and will be for several decades. But what happens after that?

When the Interment Expires

Once a temporary interment expires, your descendants will generally be given the option of renewing it. It's curious to consider that this responsibility will be presented several decades in the future, so it might be at the discretion of your children, or quite easily, even your grandchildren. Alternatively, your casket will be removed from the plot (along with your headstone). The plot will then be reused, and your casket will either be reburied at another site, or cremated. Do you have any control over what will actually happen at this far off point in the future?

Your Choices

You could opt for a perpetual interment when choosing your burial plot. Yes, this will be more expensive, but it's the only way to ensure the finality of your final resting place. Otherwise you can simply make the decision to not worry about the matter, and to think that anyone who has wanted to visit your burial site will already have had ample time to do so, and what happens after that is not hugely relevant.

It's interesting that a final resting place is sometimes only a temporary resting place, so it's important to check the terms of interment at various funeral homes before you choose a burial plot.