Choosing the Right Cemetery

As an Advance Planning Specialist, I’ve been helping families with Advance Planning for the past 17 years. I have worked with large and small family owned funeral homes and corporately owned funeral homes and cemeteries.

How to Choose a Cemetery

I have a wealth of information about cemeteries in Northern Indiana. Many times the families I meet have not selected a cemetery. They may not even have heard of some of the cemeteries in the area. Here are some of the questions I ask in order to give the very best advice.

  • Do you have family buried in the area?
  • Where do your children live?
  • Does your family visit cemeteries? Do your children?
  • Are you a Veteran?

I love cemeteries. I always have. My dad sold monuments and markers and poured the foundations himself so I was there with him much of the time. As an observer for the past twenty years or so, it appears that fewer families visit the cemetery with each passing year. Some simply don’t care to go because it is sad or upsetting. Others live so far away they couldn’t visit even if they wanted to. When a family acknowledges that their children are unlikely to visit their grave it helps them make decisions about the cemetery they choose.

l almost always suggest a locally owned or faith based cemetery. They are generally less expensive than the large corporately owned cemeteries in our area. They are also less likely to have large price increases. They are more likely to have someone on-site that can help and make decisions when there is a problem.

Veterans with an honorable discharge have the right to be buried in a National Cemetery. Of all of their death benefits this is the one with the greatest monetary value. We have a beautiful one just 50 miles from Fort Wayne – Marion National Cemetery. There is no cost to the Veteran (or spouse) once the body enters the gates. If you were to purchase burial plots, outer burial containers, open and closing of the gravesite and a marker at one of the corporate cemeteries you would pay over $10,000. I carry the brochures with me always and suggest families take a drive to see it and meet the wonderful folks that run the place.


Giving a “free” grave to a Veteran is quite the marketing ploy. I met a veteran last year who was planning to use his “free” grave for the burial of his cremated remains. The corporately owned cemetery gave him a quote of $2,200. This included a cremation size open and closing, an urn vault, and the installation of the marker provided by the VA. This Veteran told the cemetery what they could do with that “free” grave and is planning to use Marion National Cemetery.

It is helpful to know what kind of marker that you want before selecting a cemetery, and also when selecting a section inside the cemetery. Some cemeteries only allow for bronze markers. Bronze is a precious metal and may be too costly for some families. Other cemeteries have many options, separated by section. If you purchase a plot in a monument section, you will have to have a monument, for example. Visit a couple cemeteries before deciding. Ask for a price quote in writing.

Feel free to contact me at (260) 456-0890 if you have questions about Advance Planning or need a speaker for your event.  I’m here to help.

Please visit our website at Take a look around, notice our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, the endorsements from the American Legion Department of Indiana and the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters Union.


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