This section is Q and A from the ACCA Membership.
This could be about anything. Operations, Suppliers, Memorialisation, Rights of Interment, Grief and Bereavement, etc. We want to hear from you about real questions that come up at your cemetery from time to time that you would like to put to the rest of the ACCA Membership. And we will seek out feedback and answers for you from your fellow ACCA Member colleagues. Here's the very first one!
Question from an ACCA Member
We have recently had requests for the purchase of three consecutive plots where the executive rights holder has the intentions for only two interments – with each interment divided between the three plots.
Cemetery fees are between $3 -7K per Exclusive rights per plot and interment fees are around $900 per interment.
However if there is only two interments per 3 plots the cemetery is at loss of $900 interment income.
We would be interested to know how others have approached this issue.
Feedback from fellow ACCA Members
What a great question! This reminds me that our communities won't always just want to choose from what appears to be available. They will think outside the square and bring new requests to us from time to time. Here are some of my thoughts in answer to your question:
- Photo 10A-152 is an example of what can happen. This case, the family bought 4 plots for 3 burials. It has created a maintenance issue to the left and right of the monument. It does reduce the income from further burials but it also eliminates the costs for further burials.
- Another example photo 10A-470. In this example an Asian family purchased 2 plots for a single burial. We insisted that the void space on either side of the monument had some treatment. The concern here is that the future holds a different maintenance issue when the family stops visiting and weeding these void areas.
It does seem to be a cultural preference, however we have many more Asian families that conform to two burials in two plots. These plots do have accommodation for two further interments that will never take place as illustrated in photo 10A-461.
How the family uses, or doesn't use, the space they have purchased just has to be absorbed by the cemetery. There are many unused plots in cemeteries around the country. Some of which families don't even know they have entitlement to and where there is no contact details available.
Each administration would be well advised to adopt a policy on whether it will allow such use of space. In the question put forward here, it would seem that the Cemetery will get a return on three plots for the two burials. If space is not a critical issue, such an arrangement could be achievable.