Pennsylvania Cemetery Cremation and Funeral Association

Common Questions

Cemeteries

community mausoleumAre cemeteries running out of space?
Some old, small cemeteries have run out of space, however most still have adequate space especially with the popularity of mausoleums.
Are cemeteries required to be licensed?
Generally yes, they are licensed by the Pa. State Real Estate Commission. The licenses must be posted in the cemetery office. An exception is made for those owned by bona fide church or religious organizations.
Why don't some cemeteries have tombstones?
Some cemeteries only permit upright monuments, others only flat memorials, and others permit both but only in certain sections of the cemetery.
What is Perpetual Care?
"Perpetual Care" usually refers to the correct terms Permanent Care or Endowment Care. These Care funds are collected with each Interment Space sale to maintain the grounds, roads, and buildings of the cemetery.
How much is charged for Endowment Care?
Endowment Care is charged at the rate of 15% of the gross amount of the funds arising from the sale of lots in the cemetery or the construction cost of each mausoleum crypt or niche.
Are permits required for burials?
Yes, permits are required for burials as well as cremations and disinterments.
Do burial errors ever occur?
People do make mistakes and occasionally burial errors do occur. The State of Pennsylvania requires that if the cemetery becomes aware of a burial in the wrong lot, the cemetery has the duty to identify the casket and reinter it in the correct lot. The cemetery must give notice to the next of kin and the owner if they have so requested.
If I buy a monument or vault now to be used in the future, how do I know it will be purchased when I die?
If you buy now (pre-need) the items to be delivered in the future are provided for by a State of Pennsylvania law requiring the seller to deposit 70% of the sale amount of the item in a trust fund to be used to supply the item when the death occurs.
fall_cemetery
Why does the cemetery require a vault?
Although not a law, most cemeteries want to prevent the ground from caving in above the casket and to keep the ground relatively level.
Who owns the interment right when the purchaser dies?
If all of the interment rights are not used when the purchaser(s) dies, unless specifically covered in a will, they descend to the heirs according to Pennsylvania State Law. You should contact an attorney to be sure. One example is if both parents (the purchasers) die and there is still one interment space left, that one interment space is owned jointly by all of the surviving children.
Why do people buy mausoleum crypts?
Some people prefer to be above ground. Some feel that since a vault is not required and a smaller marker is used that it is economical.

Funeral Homes

RevelationsMust a Funeral Director be licensed?
Yes, Pennsylvania Law requires that every funeral establishment have a Funeral Director licensed by the State Board of Funeral Directors of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The license must be posted in the funeral home.
Why is embalming necessary?
Embalming is not required by law, however it may be required for viewing or transportation purposes. It also may be required for mausoleum entombment.
Who does the embalming?
Only a licensed funeral director is permitted under Pennsylvania law.
Must traffic stop for a funeral procession?
Although common courtesy implies that traffic would stop, people often do not stop for funeral processions. Pennsylvania does have a statute requiring vehicles to stop for a funeral procession HOWEVER many drivers are unaware of the law. Caution while driving in a funeral procession must be taken seriously as accidents and injury have occurred. Do NOT assume other vehicles will stop for the funeral procession.
What is a GPL?
A General Price List is a list of charges which a funeral director must provide you with explaining his charges for various individual types of services and merchandise.
Must I buy caskets, vaults and monuments from a funeral director?
No, there are other vendors who supply these items as well as many funeral directors.
What are cash advances?
These are items such as newspaper obituaries and death certificates which the consumer reimburses to the funeral home.
Why does every funeral home seem to be named after a person?
Under Pennsylvania law, every funeral practice must be conducted under the name of a individual, with a few exceptions, licensed within the State of Pennsylvania
Can you purchase funeral arrangements in advance?
Yes, but funeral services can only be purchased in advance from a licensed funeral director. Merchandise may be purchased from a variety of vendors.
If I buy a funeral plan now to be used in the future, how do I know it will be available when I die?
If you buy now (pre-need) the merchandise items to be delivered in the future are provided for by a State of Pa. law requiring the seller to deposit 70% of the sale amount of the item in a trust fund to be used to supply the item when the death occurs. The service items to be delivered in the future are provided for by a State of Pa. law requiring the seller to deposit 100% of the sale amount in a trust fund or have an insurance policy to cover the items sold as such.

Still have questions?

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