Funerals/Questions Answered by Expert Cynthia Beal

SubjectDate Asked
funeral1/30/2017
  Q: I live in pa but I am not sure what the laws are here. thank you for your time jimmy
  A: Sorry for the delay in answering - I'm on a cemetery tour and not easily on the internet. I ...
Relocating cremains12/1/2016
  Q: I want to relocate my parents' cremains from a columbarium in Florida to their home town in Kansas ...
  A: Lucky for you, cremated remains are 1) considered "personal property" under the law and thus not ...
Veteran Dis-internment from Private Cemetery10/27/2016
  Q: Read a question your responded to regarding a case in Maryland. My father passed in 1977....never ...
  A: Welcome to the high cost of dying. :-( Most of the Military Veterans benefits have been gutted by ...
Decomposition Questions7/17/2016
  Q: 3 months ago, my best friend passed away very suddenly at the age of 28. In the past, she'd ...
  A: I'm so sorry that your best friend transitioned and that her wishes weren't known in advance (please ...
Second Right internment7/13/2016
  Q: I am purchasing a niche for my parents in the future. They will be cremated. To save cost, I want ...
  A: Boy, that's some pricey second right!! It's good your BS detector went off! 1) The cemetery - not ...
Bringing ashes home9/6/2015
  Q: At the time my spouse died I was such a mess a family member arranged for the ashes to be placed in ...
  A: Lucky for you, it's easy to remove - and move - cremated remains. Doubly lucky for you, all you need ...
Parent's cemetery plots/ownership8/24/2015
  Q: My Dad's wife is the sole beneficiary of his assets per his will. (this is currently being ...
  A: Boy, that's a complicated setup!I feel for you. Cemetery laws vary from state to state, and the ...
depth needed for urn placement in cemetery8/17/2015
  Q: What is the depth needed for placing an urn in a church cemetery in North Carolina? I have been ...
  A: The depth of an urn placement generally is - and always SHOULD be - up to the cemetery and its ...
Obtaining the right to burial in a plot not owned by me but paid for and not used5/6/2015
  Q: My family has a section in a cemetery in Kansas city mo one plot was purchased but not used many ...
  A: Except for in some special circumstances where prohibited and/or controlled BY THE CEMETERY, ...
Rules to embalm remains to take home to USA4/4/2015
  Q: April 4, 2015, 8:24 am. Sirs: My 78 year-old brother passed away yesterday at 7 pm, April 3, ...
  A: I wish I could give you a more detailed answer, but this is something the USA family will need to ...
second right of inurnment3/7/2015
  Q: Cynthia My mom just recently passed and her funeral expenses were paid back in 01. After the ...
  A: It's not at all uncommon for someone to purchase a right of interment - the right to bury a body or ...
Spouses buried in same plot1/22/2015
  Q: My Mom passed away 10-15-10 and was cremated. Her remains are still with me. My Dad is close to ...
  A: What you're asking for is pretty standard, and I imagine the North Carolina cemetery will ...
Body temperature1/5/2015
  Q: Cynthia, I have a somewhat strange question. The daughter of a friend recently died and her mother ...
  A: I don't know the answer to this question and, like you, can only speculate. Since the topic of ...
Movingb my daughter's ashes....11/21/2014
  Q: My ex-fiancée and I had a beautiful 3-week old daughter who passed away in May of 2013. Since then ...
  A: I'm sorry to hear that you're having difficulty here. I may not be the best person to answer this ...
Disinterment for Cremation9/3/2014
  Q: My mother passed away 31 July and always declared she never wanted to be put in a box. My aunt ...
  A: Your problem is a common one - too few people pre-plan their final dispositions these days and leave ...
stack coffins in the same plot8/20/2014
  Q: In the State of Iowa are you allowed to stack two coffins in the same plot?
  A: This is an interesting question, primarily because you wonder specifically about IOWA -- and, while ...
Cemetery /flood area7/26/2014
  Q: Can a cemetery be started or extended in a flood zone? If there is a already exsiting cemetery ...
  A: Land use permissions are always governed by the land use planners in an area. If you'd asked ...
removing a grave marker in north carolina7/14/2014
  Q: My deceased husband did not want to be buried any where near his mother. She put a grave marker on a ...
  A: This must be a frustrating experience for you. Unfortunately, you can do as much about this as you ...
Ward of the State burial4/10/2014
  Q: My mother is considered a ward of the state. She is now in failing health. I don't know what to ...
  A: I'm only going to be able to give you a couple of ideas here, and then you're going to have to ...
remains2/4/2014
  Q: Is someone with no family states in their will that they want to be cremated, but they don't specify ...
  A: What happens varies from State to State, crematory to crematory, and person to person. That said, ...
reburial2/3/2014
  Q: My uncle is buried in Fort Rosecrans Natl. Cemetery, San Diego, CA. The family is in N. Alabama. ...
  A: One way to do this is simply to contact both cemeteries and ask them. Cemeteries often handle ...
title transfer of deceased parents cemetery plots1/31/2014
  Q: My father left me his paper work on two plots he purchased in 1963 for my mother and father... they ...
  A: In this case, the cheapest way is the probably the most efficient way: 1) Identify what you have to ...
cremation1/18/2014
  Q: My husband passed away 12/4/13.. He was in the hospital with a heart attack.. We made arrangements ...
  A: Professional boards are created by state governments for exactly this type of situation - you've ...
Can a non-family member place a marker on grave site?11/21/2013
  Q: My brother died a couple of years ago and was cremated and buried on my parents grave site. My ...
  A: Cemeteries are very familiar with working out desires like this, as it's common for family members ...
Cremains eco-friendly burials11/14/2013
  Q: When people have cremains buried in an natural and environmentally minded setting, what does that ...
  A: and thanks for your question, Michelle, I'll start with the regulations-side of your questions ...
Plot owner rights10/25/2013
  Q: A member of my family who does not get along with me has recently sent me a letter declaring that I ...
  A: It's unfortunate that you're having this experience. Generally, in instances like this it's best ...
grave plot9/9/2013
  Q: Mother passed away. Four sisters in family, one is the power of attorney. Can the sister who is ...
  A: The details of plot ownership and the subsequent control of the rights is best answered by the ...
Burial in private cemetery9/5/2013
  Q: I own property in Maine that has several old private family cemeteries. These have not had any ...
  A: Maine has made clear provision for family burial grounds: ...
Burial specifications8/31/2013
  Q: What are the burial specifications in the state of Oklahoma, McClain County. Specifically: are ...
  A: No states prohibit cardboard caskets. Here's the link to the State of Oklahoma's FAQ on burial: ...
Burial Laws8/15/2013
  Q: My grandmother was married to my grandpa for 15 years then he fell in love with my grandma's best ...
  A: I understand your question. Laws about who inherits what may differ from state to state. The best ...
The cost to have a private cemetary on my land7/31/2013
  Q: How much does it cost to have a private cemetery on my land. I live in Oklahoma and know it is ...
  A: You didn't specify whether or not the cemetery was for private family use or a private business. A ...
Couple burried together7/28/2013
  Q: I would like to know if my husband and I can be buried together. I realize the odds of us both ...
  A: Interesting question, and you're not the first person to ask if two people can be buried together. ...
casket viewing7/17/2013
  Q: is it possible to have a casket viewing if the person was found deceased for 3 days or is it not ...
  A: You've described a situation that embalming, known as the "Restorative Art", has been designed to ...
Cremated remains5/31/2013
  Q: We have my Aunts cremated remains in a metal box that's was given to us from the crematory. We also ...
  A: You should contact the cemetery sexton or management directly to find out if they require a funeral ...
Second Right Interment4/24/2013
  Q: We recently buried (in a crypt) our Mother in WV. Our younger sister is now talking about being ...
  A: Multiple rights of interment (burial) can be confusing. Generally, a right of interment (or a right ...
moving cremated remains4/23/2013
  Q: my father died in 2003 and his wife took his cremated remains to iowa and buried them on top of her ...
  A: Cremated remains are generally considered "personal property" but there is no technical ownership of ...
requirements for burial4/20/2013
  Q: is there a state statute in Oklahoma that requires you to be buried in a casket and have a vault. i ...
  A: I, like you, am unable to find any state statutes that require burial in either a casket or a vault ...
grave change3/21/2013
  Q: my sister was buried in a cemetery she did not want to be can i move her body to lie in rest in the ...
  A: Disinterment regulations vary from State to State. I think your best bet would be to contact the ...
ruralburialpaynecountyoklahoma3/5/2013
  Q: Wife and I anticipating both our burials being on 5 acres located in rural payne county oklahoma ...
  A: According to the book Final Rights (Slocum and Carlson, available online), in Ohio "there are no ...
private funeral services3/1/2013
  Q: My Grandmother recently pasted, there is a disconnect with one of my uncles. He refuses to let ...
  A: I'm sorry you're having to manage this type of challenge in such a trying time. While there are ...
private cemetery certificates2/16/2013
  Q: We have created a non-profit family cemetery in a rural area. When a plot is sold, what kind of ...
  A: Cemetery rights are generally transferred VIA a deed, just like other rights are. You should do some ...
Can my children not sign any paperwork at the funeral home his sister chose?1/27/2013
  Q: My children's father passed away 1/17/13, with no will. His sister took it upon herself to not ...
  A: I'm sorry that you're experiencing difficulty. Incomplete planning - coupled with neglecting to ...

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Cynthia Beal

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Expertise

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.

Experience

Natural burial and sustainable cemetery management experience: I'm the founder of the Natural Burial Company and a member of the Cemetery Association of Oregon. Over 25 years in the natural products industry, and over a decade of running the Natural Burial Company, founded in 2004. 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, and I own two historic cemeteries the feature natural burial, based in Oregon.

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

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

Education/Credentials
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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