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Funerals/Spouses buried in same plot


My Mom passed away 10-15-10 and was cremated. Her remains are still with me. My Dad is close to death and requested to be cremated also and to be buried with my Mom in their cemetery plot they have owned for years. They lost a baby in 1959 and they would be buried right beside her. I would hate to think that I could not grant their wishes. My concern I need to have a permit to do this and would there be an extra cost for burying them together? This is in the state of NC. Of course I would have a double marker for the plot for them. Thank you in advance for your help.

Hi Ellen,

What you're asking for is pretty standard, and I imagine the North Carolina cemetery will accommodate you.

You don't need a permit when you're burying cremated remains in someone else's cemetery, but you do need to give your permission to the cemetery for both of the burials.

Generally, each person interred (buried) requires a "right of interment" - that is, a right granted by the cemetery to bury human remains in a given area of ground. The first right of interment usually secures the plot area for the purchaser so that no one else can bury within it. A second right is for a burial in the same lot; a cremation burial will often be permitted on top of a prior casket burial, for example - or there might be two cremation rights, with the first right (the most expensive one) being consumed first, and the second right used later.

Each time a right is consumed - i.e., someone gets buried - the cemetery generally charges an interment fee to cover all the costs related to putting someone in the ground and keeping them there. There will often be a recording fee to create a file, maintain it for decades (or centuries), and make the record available to family members researching their history.

If two interment rights - a first and a second - are used at different times, there will be two interment fees. When two people are interred together, a first and second right are still usually required, but there's only one interment fee (unless the individuals require two separate holes.) Sometimes a couple will be buried in a "companion" urn, their ashes co-mingled in a larger (400Ci or so) container. This eliminates the need for a second container, and saves a little more money.

Second rights really help the cemetery take care of its grounds, and - especially in the case of older cemeteries, where plots often sold for 5.00, 25.00 or 100.00 - since there's usually very little money available to care for those prior graves, selling second rights is very useful for the cemetery, and for all the family members who want to see the cemetery kept up!

Your best bet is to contact the cemetery directly, let them know what you want to do, and they'll let you know what it will cost, and what they require.

In any event, what you want is common and the cemetery should be able to easily assist you.

Hope that helped!



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Cynthia Beal


Typical questions include 1) Where can I go for a natural burial? 2) What types of coffins, urns and other "packaging" are best for natural decomposition? 3)How do I plan for a natural funeral? 4) Do I have to be embalmed? and other questions in this vein. I'm available to answer general consumer questions about natural burial, home and natural funerals, and sustainable cemetery management. I answer questions about general cemetery matters, and offer suggestions about how to deal with remains, cremated or buried, interment rights, rules for cemeteries and plot owners, covering conventional as well as alternative options. I also answer questions from professionals, home funeral guides, and family members about how to manage a natural funeral either in the mortuary or at the home, how to best use natural coffins and urns, and how to convert cemeteries to natural, sustainable practices. I will answer questions from volunteer cemetery managers about how to offer natural burial in their rural, Pioneer, or non-profit cemeteries. If I don't know an answer I'll refer the questioner to someone who does. DISCLAIMER -- I am a certified pre-need sales person in the State of Oregon. I am not a licensed attorney, tax adviser, estate planner, funeral director, embalmer, accountant, public official, or any other professional that may be associated with issues the question brings up and any answers I provide should not be relied upon if such expertise is required by the asker (as per the All Expert suggestion). I provide my own personal opinions, based on my experience in business, Nature and its systems, and with human beings after 55 years of life on the planet.


Natural burial and sustainable cemetery management experience: I'm the founder of the Natural Burial Company and a member of the Sustainable Cemetery Management Group. Over 25 years in the natural products industry, and 9 years running the Natural Burial Company. I've done some consulting for existing and start-up natural cemetery operations. I'm currently an instructor at Oregon State University, facilitating the creation of a program in sustainable cemetery management and stimulating research in cemetery-oriented processes and functions.

ICCFA - International Cemetery, Crematory and Funeral Association Green Business Network Funeral Consumers Alliance

American Cemetery Magazine; Funeral Business Advisor; Real Goods Source Book; American Funeral Director Magazine, etc.

There is no degree in natural burials or funerals, and no accredited education provided for sustainable cemetery management. We're developing a program at Oregon State University but it hasn't fully launched yet.

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