As a Cemetery Counsellor at Woodlawn Memorial Park, my main job is to meet with families and explain our cemetery service offerings. This part of the process is all about supporting and educating families about the options that are available to them that will meet their wishes and needs.
Here are some key questions to ask before choosing a cemetery:
1. What Are Interment Rights?
Interment rights can be defined as the right to put a deceased person in a lot. At Woodlawn, we call this lot a final resting place.
There are a number of questions that we ask families when discussing interment rights:
- Are you choosing a casket or cremation?
- If it’s a cremation, are you choosing an inground burial, an above-ground burial into a niche, or scattering?
- Will there be multiple family members in the same final resting place?
- Do you prefer a flat marker or an upright monument?
After we review the preliminary questions, we can accurately plan and review what options will meet their wishes. Then we can proceed to the next steps in the process.
2. For casket burials, is an outer case (liner or vault) required?
Outer cases help prevent the ground from caving in over time as the casket deteriorates. There are some areas within our cemetery where a case is required. When reviewing options with families, we will advise which areas require an outer case.
3. What is the interment fee?
The interment fee is also known as the “opening and closing” fee. It is based on whether the remains are being placed in a lot-grave, niche, crypt, or our scattering garden. The interment fee of these final resting places can vary.
4. What is memorialization?
Memorialization is how your loved one will be identified: plaque, flat marker, or upright monument.
The memorialization is unique in that it doesn’t have to be done right away. If you and your family aren’t sure of what you’d like for the memorialization, or want something special, feel free to take your time as it can be decided on at a later date.
5. Are there any annual maintenance fees?
There are no annual maintenance fees at Woodlawn Memorial Park. When planning and purchasing the interment rights, a percentage of the cost is placed into a Care & Maintenance Fund. This allows the cemetery to care for the grounds and not incur any additional fees for you or your family in the future.
6. Is there still burial space available and what does the availability look like for future generations?
Woodlawn Memorial Park has 80 acres of land to offer our families — enough to serve many future generations. We have started to develop a new area as well, known as “Block Lilac” (located across the railroad tracks). We have 40 acres of land in this area, which gives us plenty of land for future development on burial graves, as well as options for cremation.
It’s a common myth that we often hear from families that “Woodlawn is full”.
Planning ahead makes the process easier
While death can occur suddenly, we recommend that if you have the opportunity, begin planning ahead. There are a few good reasons for this, including:
- Saving your family and friends from having to make difficult decisions during a time of grief
- Ensuring your wishes will be honoured in the process
- Providing you and your family time to assess and compare your options
- Prepaying may reduce or eliminate the financial burden on your family
If you have questions to ask about our processes or would like to begin planning ahead, schedule a no-obligation appointment with me and my team. We’d be happy to assist you.
Written by Christina Furtado-Burke, Cemetery Counsellor at Woodlawn Memorial Park