Navigating Your Rights: Funeral Home Choices in Privately Owned Cemeteries

By: Danny Amorucci
Thursday, May 16, 2024

Making decisions about funeral arrangements can be a daunting process, especially during a time of grief. For those who have taken the thoughtful step of pre-planning by purchasing a cemetery plot in a privately owned cemetery, a common question arises: "Am I obligated to use the funeral home associated with the cemetery?" This blog aims to shed light on this question, providing clarity and empowerment for funeral pre-planners, funeral directors, local community members, and grieving families.

Understanding Privately Owned Cemeteries

Privately owned cemeteries are operated by individual owners or corporations, distinct from public cemeteries managed by local government entities. These cemeteries have their policies and guidelines, which can sometimes lead to confusion about the rights and responsibilities of plot owners.

The Relationship Between Cemetery Plots and Funeral Homes

A critical point to understand is that owning a plot in a privately owned cemetery does not necessarily bind you to use the funeral services they may offer or are associated with. This distinction is crucial for families who may have a preferred funeral home based on personal, cultural, or religious reasons.

Benefits and Considerations

Advantages of Choosing Your Preferred Funeral Home

Selecting a funeral home of your choice allows for a more personalized and meaningful service, respecting the wishes of the deceased and their families. It also opens the possibility of broader service options and pricing flexibility, which can be important factors for many families.

Considerations for Families

When opting to use a different funeral home, it's essential to communicate effectively with both the cemetery and the chosen funeral service provider. Coordination between the two entities ensures that all arrangements are seamlessly handled, respecting the family's wishes and the cemetery's policies.

Regulatory and Legal Aspects

Local and state laws can influence the selection of funeral homes in conjunction with cemetery plots. While most regions promote consumer choice, understanding any contractual obligations or exclusive agreements between the cemetery and specific funeral homes is essential.

Practical Advice for Cemetery Plot Owners

If you're considering using a preferred funeral home, here are some practical steps to follow:

  • Research and Understand Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding funeral services and cemetery operations. Knowledge is your best tool for informed decision-making.
  •  Review Your Cemetery Contract: Look for any clauses that may limit your choices regarding funeral services. If in doubt, consult with a legal professional for clarity.
  •  Communicate Early: Engage in discussions with both the cemetery and your chosen funeral home well ahead of time. Clear communication can prevent misunderstandings and ensure that all parties are aware of your wishes.
  •  Consider Costs: Be informed about any potential costs associated with using a non-affiliated funeral home. Transparency about expenses from both the cemetery and funeral home will help in planning and budgeting.


Owning a plot in a privately owned cemetery provides a sense of preparedness and peace. It's empowering to know that this decision does not limit your choices regarding funeral services. By understanding your rights, considering your options carefully, and communicating clearly with all involved parties, you can ensure that you or your loved one's final farewell is conducted according to your wishes.

We encourage you to share this information with others who may find themselves navigating these decisions. Together, we can support each other through informed decision-making during life's most challenging moments.

For additional information - please call Willowbrook Cemetery. Our team can help you select a peaceful final resting place for your cherished one at our cemetery. You can contact us via the form or number on this page.

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