Pros and Cons of Side-by-Side Burial Plots
Side-by-side burial plots (also known as companion plots) are gravesites and/or cremation niches that allow two people to be buried in close proximity to one another. Traditionally, these plots were designed for married couples who wished to be interred together. In our era of modern-day blended families, however, many of these plots go on to be used for children, extended relatives, and even close friends.
Depending on where the cemetery is located and what kind of burial options they offer, some of these companion plots might even allow for a double depth burial. In this process, two caskets are buried on top of one another (as opposed to side-by-side), and use one burial container between them.
If you are pre-planning a funeral or making arrangements for a loved one, you may be asked if you’d like to purchase one of these plots. Here are the pros and cons to keep in mind.
Pros of Side-by-Side Plots
- Lower Potential Costs: Oftentimes, cemeteries will offer discounts if you purchase more than one plot at a time. If you opt for a double depth burial, you can potentially save even more on the outer burial container. The same is true for a single headstone as opposed to two separate ones.
- Advance Planning for a Second Parent: When one parent dies, it often makes sense to buy a double plot for the second parent as a way to take advantage of pre-planning options.
- Proximity to Loved Ones: Visiting loved ones becomes easier when all the gravesites are near each other (either in a companion plot or a family plot).
- Peace of Mind/Comfort: Many people derive comfort from the prospect of being buried next to a loved one, which means a companion plot can be part of the grieving process.
Cons of Side-by-Side Plots
- Strained Relationships: A widow or widower might remarry and wish to be buried next to the new spouse. A divorce could require that one party buy the other party out of their share of the plot. Any time a relationship ends (or a new one begins), it could make the burial plot issue complicated.
- Difficult to Sell: In the event of divorce, a long-distance move, or a change in future burial plans, it can be difficult to resell a second plot. This is especially true for double depth plots, which may not have any resale value.
- Fewer Options: Once you have committed to burial or cremation in a certain location, there’s less room for you to change your mind at a future date.
Which Burial Option is Right for Me?
Only you and your loved ones can decide for sure whether or not a side-by-side plot is a good idea, so always take the time to talk through any decision you have planned. And if you’re at all hesitant, try to find a cemetery that makes it easy to resell a second plot so that you always have alternate options for the future. You can even get the option in writing as part of your contract so you have legal recourse.