Saturday, December 4, 2010



Last year there were 13,480 conventional burial in the state of Arizona. This constituted 30% of the death dispositions for the year of 2009. Although cremation still holds the lead (28,307 or 63%) when it comes to final disposition, as you can see, burial is still quite popular.

Regardless of how you look at it, burial is a money maker in the death care industry. A burial plot can run you anywhere from $3,100 to $8,000 at need (at need is when you need to purchase upon a death. I will refer to immediate burial as such in this topic).

First understand this, there are three things needed when you purchase a burial plot “at need”

1.      The burial plot
2.      Opening fees
3.      Closing fees
4.      A basic in ground container (what is this?)
5.      Perpetual care (promise to take care of the plot forever)
6.      A double depth grave IF you choose to bury one person on top of the other at a later date

Things you DO NOT NEED from the cemetery when you purchase “at need”

1.      A grave marker
2.      A grave marker base
3.      A memorial bench
4.      A flower vase
5.      A very expensive in ground fancy vault
6.      Another plot for future family members close to the purchased grave

Burial plots vary in price; remember the one farthest from “a tree” a specific “garden area” or “monument” will cost the least. A favored area by a specific race can also be very pricey. Choose a simple are away from everything. In time a tree will be planted and the rest of the graves will fill out to your selected grave site.

You will be charged an opening and closing fee, this is to dig the hole and fill it in. For safety reasons you will be told you can not do this by yourself to offset the fees.

There is no law in Arizona requiring an in ground container for a grave BUT! A cemetery, like they ALL do in Arizona require you to purchase a;

·         Dome Liner
·         Grave Box (single or double depth)
·         In ground vault

Why? You ask. They will tell you it is to prevent the ground from caving in once the casket collapses and deteriorates. (Selling point number one) Casket collapses? Deteriorates? Well this wont happen if you upgrade to a real expensive in ground vault.

You are not required, remember, a dome liner works fine and will you ever dig up the grave to view the deceased or see if the box collapsed? Probably not, so if you really want one to give you peace of mind, by all means, do as you will. In the end it is up to you.

Perpetual care ensures that the grass is watered; cut and the markers are weed whacked FOREVER! Ya think? Drive around the valley and look at some of those real old, old cemeteries in the valley that are overgrown or the markers are knocked down. Ask yourself then about “their” perpetual care. This is a scam but you can’t get around it.

A double depth grave is something to be taken into consideration if perhaps your parents are to be buried one above the other. This is a good idea if you want to honor their wishes. When you purchase a grave you only purchase the plot down to a certain depth, if you want to go deeper, you will have to pay for that space UNDER the grave. Go figure, another ploy to make money.

If cash is tight at the time of death, Purchase those things listed above under the first list.
DO NOT let anyone convince you that more is needed. You do not need a marker yet, a vase to locate the grave (selling point number two), a memorial bench. Or fancy anything.

If you purchase a vault or box or liner elsewhere (you can if you want), they WILL charge you an inspection fee(selling point number three). ENSURE IT IS INSPECTED if they charge you. This is another way to make money and or force you to purchase from them.

If you use a CORPORATE funeral home on CORPORATE cemetery property, they will refer you to the cemetery. Expect to pay hefty prices, there is no reduction in price for using the same facilities, they do not give discounts. They do not care.

In the end, I have one more recommendation, since the economy went south; many people have found themselves trying to sell off anything they can for finances to survive. This includes…… CEMETERY PROPERTY! All cemeteries recognize this and see it as a golden opportunity to re-purchase their sold plots at a real cheap price. In turn, so can you. I recommend going to the wonderful world of


There are dozens of locations available. You will incur“transfer of deed” fees.  Make sure everything is included. Call the plot owner and ask about those things listed above.

Burial is expensive but it can be done, watch you funds and stick to your budget.  

Oh, there is one cemetery in the valley that has the GUARANTEED lowest "at need" prices in the valley, contact me and I would be more than glad to put you in the right direction.

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