- Digging Deep - a guide to cemetery and burial law from the Office of the Vermont Secretary of State.
Burial involves several options. A person can be buried in a casket, which can range from an unfinished wood box to an elaborate metal casket. The remains from a cremation can also be buried. Burial can be in the earth, in a mausoleum (a building above ground), or in a columbarium (a structure for cremated remains, that can stand alone or be part of a mausoleum). Costs can include:
- cemetery plot, or space in a mausoleum or columbarium.
- grave liner (if required by the cemetery).
- graveside services (if desired).
- opening and closing the grave, crypt, or niche.
- grave marker.
- perpetual care of the site.
A direct burial is when the deceased is buried shortly after death. Direct burial is less costly because there is no viewing at a funeral home and embalming may not be necessary. You can still hold a memorial service (without a viewing) at your home or in a religious building, funeral home, cemetery, or other location.
Questions to ask when choosing a cemetery site
- Are there faith-based limitations on who may be laid to rest in a specific section of the cemetery? (There are religious cemeteries and some non-sectarian cemeteries set aside a specific section for a faith.)
- Are there restrictions on the type of monument or memorials permitted?
- Will the cemetery require a grave liner?
- Can flowers and remembrances be placed at the grave, mausoleum, or columbarium?
- Do the fees include perpetual care of the site or is that a separate expense?
If you plan to bury a body in a town or religious cemetery, the cemetery may require a vault.
However, Vermont law says no cemetery can create a regulation that interferes with your religious burial practices [Title 18, 5378] so you may refuse a vault on those grounds.It is reasonable, though, for the cemetery to charge you additional fees for the maintenance of a grave that may need to be tamped down over time if no vault is used. Or, you may need the services of a funeral director to order a vault.