An Overview of Cemeteries and What Services They Offer

Cemeteries are the traditional location for burial. Most cemeteries offer the options of ground burial or entombment in a mausoleum crypt. If you plan to bury cremated remains, cemeteries have columbariums (mausoleums for cremated remains) and urn gardens where ashes can be buried.

Cemetery responsibilities

Cemeteries will:

  • Prepare the burial site
  • Place the body in the grave, mausoleum space, or crypt
  • Close the grave, mausoleum space, or crypt
  • Install a headstone or grave marker

In addition, cemeteries will obtain the necessary licenses to bury the body and will keep the burial record. After the burial, the cemetery will maintain the gravesite, including maintaining any grass and landscaping around the grave.

Types of cemeteries

There are four types of cemeteries:

  • Public cemeteries, the most common type, which are for-profit cemeteries (independently or corporately owned).
  • Religious cemeteries, which are non-profit cemeteries owned by a religious organization.
  • District or municipal cemeteries, which are non-profit cemeteries owned by the city or county.
  • National or veterans cemeteries, which are government-run cemeteries for the burial of veterans and their families.

To learn how to find the type of cemetery you want, see our article How to Choose a Cemetery.

To find a cemetery, use our resource Guide: Finding a Cemetery.