Friday, February 8, 2013

Remains of the Day – Relocating a Body

 
Digging a Grave
Moving a body from one cemetery to another used to be a rare occurrence, but nowadays, it’s becoming more common. 

The reasons to transfer remains from one cemetery to another are numerous:
Families may move away from their hometowns and want to relocate a beloved relative with them to the new area. 

Family Plot
The dearly departed may have been buried in another state and their closest kin wants to move them home to the family burial plot.
Cramped Quarters

The cemetery they are located in may be too crowded to allow the remainder of the family to be buried there, so the remains are relocated to a larger cemetery where everyone can be buried together.

Regardless of the reason, there are certain things to be considered before a body is relocated, or transferred, to another cemetery.
 
First, find out what is required by the state where the body is currently buried. If you are relocating the remains to another state, you will also need that information.  Most states require special permits and licenses, and many require that the family be in agreement on the move.

Advice
Next, contact your local funeral home for advice on the process of having remains exhumed and transferred, and find out what is legally required.  You will also need a funeral home at the new location to receive the remains and oversee the re-interment at the new cemetery.  That funeral director will be in charge of burial arrangements made with the new cemetery, and securing all necessary certificates and permits for re-interment.

Church Cemetery
If your loved one is buried in a church or religiously affiliated cemetery, you will need to get their approval to have the remains removed.  Being buried in consecrated ground is considered a sacred act, and the church, or acting officials, may have the right to deny your request.

You will need to contact the current cemetery and the new cemetery to coordinate plans for the transfer of the body.

There are many costs involved in transferring a body - 

When having a body disinterred and moved, you may need to purchase a new casket for the transportation and reburial. (A very basic casket starts at $500 and up.)  If the casket was placed in a concrete vault, it may be an option to move the entire vault, if deemed necessary. (Disinterring and transportation fees for a vault may be very expensive.)


Opening a Grave
Closing a Grave
There will be the cost of opening the grave at the current cemetery, and then the cost of opening the grave and closing it at the new cemetery.  (Beginning at $1,000 and up.)

Disinterment
A funeral director may be required by state law to be on hand for the disinterment, and another director may be required at the new location to receive the body and oversee reburial. (Beginning at $1,000 for each and up.)


Overland Transportation
Transportation of the remains will vary widely, depending on the distance between cemeteries. If it is a local move, from one cemetery to another within a short driving distance, a hearse may be used (Check with funeral homes for prices.)  If the remains are to be moved hundreds of miles away, an overland carrier will likely transport the casket. (Rates will vary, but could be extremely expensive, depending on casket weight.)

New Stone
Reburial
Remember too, at the new cemetery you will have the opening and closing costs for the re-burial. (Estimate $1,000 and up.)   Plus, the cost of a new vault,  (Estimated $1,200 and up.)  And a new headstone. (Varies)


Service and Interment
If you want a memorial service at the new cemetery, there will most likely be a charge for that. (Check with the funeral home.)  And there may also be a charge for annual or perpetual care at the new cemetery. (Usually 5% to 15% of the grave site price.)

It may be judicial to get estimates before you begin to consider if the move is financially feasible and also to help you control costs by selecting providers you can afford. 




Veteran's Cemetery
Do your research.  Veteran’s Cemeteries may waive some or all of the fees to transfer the remains of a veteran to their location.  Private and public cemeteries generally do not.



If you decide that the process is too costly or too involved, you might consider having a headstone placed in the new cemetery with an acknowledgement that the remains are located elsewhere. This would still give the family a place to visit and feel closer to the deceased.  (But keep in mind; you may have to purchase a grave space on which to place the headstone.)

~ Joy