Choosing a Cemetery is a very personal decision. It has ramifications for the individual, next of kin, family and community of mourners. It must simultaneously honor the decedent and provide a dignified place for mourners to gather.

Perpetual care is a fundamental element of cemetery management. It requires careful planning.


As cities and towns grew, church-owned graveyards ran out of space. This led to the establishment of landscaped cemeteries away from city centers, which were usually operated as private or joint-stock companies independent from the churches that had formerly run them.

Cemeteries are dedicated areas of land that contain specific plot locations with clearly delineated boundaries. This makes them distinctly different from burial grounds which can be less structured and organized.

Modern cemeteries offer a variety of visitor services like genealogy information and flower placement programs. They also provide options for people who want to be buried in a columbarium wall or mausoleum instead of a grave. Many cemetery locations also offer virtual tours to loved ones unable to visit in person. These efforts have helped to improve the way we understand and manage our nation’s cemeteries.


In order to preserve a cemetery for future generations, New York requires that all cemetery sales and burial fees go into a managed Permanent Maintenance Fund. This fund grows significantly over time, and it is used to maintain the grounds once they are no longer selling lots.

Cemeteries also have the right to set reasonable rules and regulations regarding the type material, design, composition, finish and specifications of all merchandise that they or others install on their property. They are obligated to post these rules conspicuously and make them available for inspection. If a rule is found to be unreasonable, it can be invalidated.


Modern cemeteries have a variety of fees and regulations associated with their operations. They typically charge a set fee for each lot purchased, a per-interment fee, and a perpetual care fund that provides ongoing maintenance of the cemetery grounds. These funds are a collection of individual contributions made by lots owners as well as part of the current lot sale receipts and $35 from every interment.

Regulations regarding the location of a cemetery are valid, as long as they do not impair the obligation of contract or violate constitutional guaranties of due process and equal protection of the laws. Re-use of graves on land that has been formally abandoned as a cemetery is permissible, but such practices are often controversial, and families who wish to object must usually prove that the re-use will not cause undue hardship.


A cemetery maintenance fee is a cost associated with the burial process. It can include things like a grave liner and vault, which are designed to keep the casket in place and prevent it from collapsing into the ground as it decomposes.

Other fees that can be associated with a cemetery include a foundation preparation fee, which covers the labor and expertise required to prepare the headstone for placement. A headstone installation fee is also often included.

In addition to burial and maintenance fees, cemeteries also have to maintain a perpetual care fund, which are monies collected from sales of cemetery plots, aboveground crypts or niches in mausoleums for ongoing cemetery expenses. This is a legal requirement in many states. These funds are managed through trusts supervised by the cemetery board.


Cemeteries must cover ongoing expenses like gravediggers, groundskeepers and security. They must also pay property taxes and other business fees. These expenses may be offset by the income from perpetual care funds.

Traditionally, cemetery management involves the allocation of burial space, digging and filling of graves, and maintenance of grounds and landscaping. Construction and maintenance of headstones and other grave monuments are usually the responsibility of families of the deceased.

Adding amenities to a cemetery can make it more attractive to visit and provide a better environment for grieving family members. For example, putting in trashcans and benches can help visitors feel more comfortable while visiting a loved one’s grave. Adding pathways can also make it easier for visitors to navigate the cemetery. It is important that a cemetery have these amenities in order to be safe and inviting for all visitors.

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