Planning Ahead to be Buried Together

Soft sunlight light over cemetery trees and headstones.


For much of American history, families were buried together as a matter of course. People would bury their loved ones on the farm, maybe under a tree or on a sunny hill. Or they’d be laid to rest in small church graveyards, often with family members buried next to each other. It wasn’t until the 1840s that standalone cemeteries really became common in the United States. But even as burials moved from farms to memorial parks, the idea of families being buried together has endured.


There can be great comfort in knowing your body will be laid to rest near your loved ones. You may cherish the idea of future generations visiting the family plot and spotting many familiar names among the graves. Or it may just feel natural to be buried alongside your spouse after sharing a lifetime together.


Whatever your reasoning, if the idea of being buried near loved ones is important to you, it’s worth taking the time to do some extra planning to ensure your wishes can be carried out.


Ways to Share a Grave

One way to ensure that you and your family will be buried together is to invest in a family plot. This means purchasing multiple gravesites in advance to reserve them for future use. Space is at a premium in many cemeteries, and buying a family plot or mausoleum ensures that there will be ample room for future generations.


However, being buried side-by-side in adjoining graves is only one option for couples or families who want to keep their remains together after death.


Burying cremated remains is an increasingly popular option. Urns are usually buried at a shallower depth, so they can share a gravesite without disturbing the casket below. Their small size allows for several urns to be buried in a single grave. You will need to check with the cemetery to confirm their specific policies, but many cemeteries allow for multiple urns to be buried in a single grave.

A columbarium is a type of above-ground structure that holds niches, or individual areas where urns can be stored. You can arrange to share a niche the same as you would a grave, or reserve an adjoining niche space in the columbarium.


The Importance of Preplanning

Planning a funeral after a loved one’s death is always hard. It’s an emotional time, and figuring out the details can be overwhelming. Requests to be buried in or near an existing grave can add a layer of complexity that might seem especially daunting for those making final arrangements.


You can relieve this burden from your loved one’s shoulders by working out these more complicated details in advance. If you wish to be buried with a loved one, here are some of the things you’ll want to consider while preplanning:


  • Do you wish to be buried or cremated?
  • Whose grave do you wish to share? If they’re still alive, have you discussed your wishes with them to ensure you’re both on the same page?
  • Who is the owner of the grave space you wish to share?
  • What permissions do you need before being interred in an existing grave or family plot?
  • Will you have separate grave markers? If not, is there room to add your information to the existing marker, or would that marker need to be replaced?


A funeral director can help you with these and other logistical concerns to ensure your wishes are carried out the way you imagined. The staff at Chapman Funerals & Cremations are experienced in helping families in navigating these and other planning questions. Together, we can help you plan for your funeral and final arrangements to ensure everything goes smoothly when the time comes.


To get started, visit us at any of our Massachusetts locations in Falmouth, West Falmouth, Mashpee, Martha's Vineyard, Wareham, Harwich, Yarmouth, Marstons Mills, Nantucket, Bridgewater, and East Bridgewater or start planning online.

Preplanning your funeral may feel daunting, but we’re with you every step of the way.



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