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Burial and Cremation FAQs

Burial FAQ

What is opening and closing and why is it so expensive?

What is opening and closing and why is it so expensive?

For the commercial cemeteries, the opening and closing fee include administration and permanent record keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering the interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); installation and removal of the lowering device; placement and removal of artificial grass dressing and coco-matting at the grave site, leveling, tamping, re-grading and sodding the grave site and leveling and re-sodding the grave if the earth settles and for the rural family owned or church owned cemeteries the funeral home usually contracts with a vault company to perform the these tasks.

Can we dig our own grave to avoid the charge for opening and closing?

Can we dig our own grave to avoid the charge for opening and closing?

The actual opening and closing of the grave is just one component of the opening and closing fee. Due to safety issues which arise around the use of machinery on cemetery property and the protection of other gravesites, the actual opening and closing of the grave is conducted by cemetery grounds personnel or vault companies under contract for a funeral home.

What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?

What happens when a cemetery runs out of land?

When a cemetery runs out of land, it will continue to operate and serve the community.

Must I purchase a burial vault?

Must I purchase a burial vault?

Cemeteries have regulations that require the use of a basic grave liner for maintenance and safety purposes. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.

Who are funeral directors and what do they do?

Who are funeral directors and what do they do?

Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death. They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body. Beyond the logistics, funeral directors are there to provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with death.

How much does a funeral cost?

How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of the funeral varies depending on the wishes you have. The average cost of a funeral is between $7,000-$9,000, however, the most basic of services can cost less. The cost includes all professional services including transportation, embalming and other preparations, the use of a facility for the ceremony, and the purchase of a casket, vault or urn.

What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled?

What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled?

If you are not satisfied with the Funeral Services and have not had any resolution with your funeral home please contact the Maryland State Board of Morticians (410) 764-4792.

There are alternatives to burial. See Cremation Services



Cremation FAQ

What is Cremation?

What is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.

Is a casket needed for Cremation?

Is a casket needed for Cremation?

No, a casket is not required, most states (including Maryland) require an alternative container constructed of wood or cardboard.

Is embalming required prior to cremation?

Is embalming required prior to cremation?

No. In fact it is against the law for a funeral home to tell you otherwise.

Can the body be viewed without embalming?

Can the body be viewed without embalming?

Yes, most funeral homess allow immediate family members to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation.

Can the family witness the cremation?

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes they can; some cremation providers will allow family members to be present when the body is placed in the cremation chamber. Some religious groups even include this as part of their funeral custom.

Can an urn be brought into church?

Can an urn be brought into church?

Nearly all Protestant Churches allow for the urn to be present during the memorial service. Most Catholic Churches also allow the remains to be present during the Memorial Mass. It is encouraged that cremated remains be a part of a funeral as it provides a focal point for the service.

What can be done with the cremated remains?

What can be done with the cremated remains?

While laws vary state by state, for the most part remains can be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept at home or scattered.

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?

How can I be sure I receive the correct remains?

All reputable cremation providers have developed rigorous sets of operating policies and procedures in order to maximize the level of service and minimize the potential for human error. Since it is illegal to perform more than one cremation at a time, and the vast majority of crematories can only cremate one body at a time, it is next to impossible to receive the incorrect remains.

How long does the actual cremation take?

How long does the actual cremation take?

It all depends on the weight of the individual. For an average sized adult, cremation can take two to three hours at a normal operating temperature of between 1,000 and 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

What do the cremated remains look like?

What do the cremated remains look like?

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.

Are all the cremated remains returned?

Are all the cremated remains returned?

With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family.

Do I need an urn?

Do I need an urn?

An urn is not required by law. However, an urn may be desired if there is to be a memorial service or if the remains are to be interred in a cemetery. If an urn is not purchased or provided by the family, the cremated remains will be returned in a temporary plastic container.

Eastern Shore Cremation and Funeral Service
Phone: (410) 973-2434
504 Franklin Avenue, Berlin, MD


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