Have you ever wondered what happens to your loved one’s gravesite after you’ve purchased a plot at a cemetery? Many cemeteries offer “perpetual care,” but this term can be quite misleading. At Gravelisting, we understand that the concept of perpetual care can be confusing for many people. It’s important to know what this term means and what is included in it when you purchase a cemetery lot, niche, crypt, or mausoleum. Let’s dive into the details to clarify this often-misunderstood aspect of cemetery services.

What is Perpetual Care?

Imagine your cemetery as a well-manicured park. Perpetual care is like a community fund specifically dedicated to keeping this park beautiful and functional. Families contribute to this fund when they purchase a plot, ensuring the cemetery has the resources to maintain the grounds.

NOTE: Not all cemeteries offer perpetual care, and it’s not always a guarantee, even if it’s required by state law. Older cemeteries or those with no available space may not have perpetual care funds. Private cemeteries are also unlikely to have these funds, and their maintenance falls on the owner, which can be a church, family, or local group.

What does perpetual care cover?

Think of it like the gardener tending to the park’s overall health. They mow the lawns, maintain the pathways, and ensure the signage is clear. Some cemeteries might even use these funds for minor repairs to headstones or markers, but that’s not always the case.

Here’s the crucial point: perpetual care doesn’t include individual plot maintenance. Just like you wouldn’t expect the park gardener to pull weeds from your personal picnic spot, the cemetery won’t clean and decorate your loved one’s gravesite. That responsibility lies with you, the family.

Think of it this way: You’re buying a beautiful plot in a well-maintained park, but you’re also responsible for bringing your own picnic blanket and flowers to personalize your space.

Cemeteries might offer additional services for individual plot care, such as cleaning and decorating, but these usually come at an extra cost. It’s essential to talk directly to the cemetery management to understand what’s included in their perpetual care program and what additional services they offer.

Two Types of Care and Maintenance Funds

Some cemetery establishments have two different care and maintenance funds. One fund is reserved for general cemetery grounds care, while the other is specifically for gravesite care. The gravesite care fund ensures that the individual gravesite is safe, undamaged, and well-maintained. It also helps in keeping the cemetery securely locked during nighttime to prevent vandalism.

Understanding the Limitations of Perpetual Care

Remember, perpetual care is a great benefit, ensuring the cemetery grounds remain presentable and secure. However, it’s crucial to understand that it doesn’t encompass individual plot maintenance. For example, perpetual care funds may not cover the repair of fallen headstones or sunken grave markers. Additionally, the family is responsible for keeping the gravesite clean and neat, as well as for brightening it up with fresh or artificial flowers.

Does Perpetual Care Last Forever?

Contrary to popular belief, perpetual care does not mean forever. Funds set aside for perpetual care in the past may not cover today’s costs. As burials decrease, funds may dry up, making it challenging to maintain some cemeteries. Low-cost cemeteries and those in low-income areas often struggle to keep up with rising costs and may rely on volunteer help.

If you’re looking for someone to care for your loved one’s gravesite, you might need to explore additional options offered by the cemetery or consider seeking help from a professional service like the ones you can find on gravelisting.

By understanding the scope of perpetual care, you can make informed decisions and ensure your loved one’s resting place receives the care it deserves.