Perpetual Care

The Benefits of a Perpetual Care Cemetery

What to do with a full cemetery

The state of Tennessee is made up of 42,169 square miles. This gorgeous state is broken up into 95 different counties, and within those counties, there are 189 registered cemeteries. However, there are actually thousands more that are not registered. The beautiful thing about Tennessee is that we have plenty of space, which allows the opportunity to cultivate more burial grounds and memorial parks.

It’s always difficult for anyone to envision a cemetery after all vacancies are full. We have to consider who takes care of the cemetery for the long term. I can assure you, even those of us who run cemeteries, like our own Sunset Park Memorial Gardens, have trouble picturing a time when our allotment is full. However, it is a reality that we must plan for.

Cemeteries have two lifetimes

We at Bills-McGaugh & Hamilton Funeral Home & Crematory know that there are two lifetimes of a cemetery: the active interment lifetime and the dormancy period. It is during the dormancy period that the perpetual care fund of a cemetery becomes an integral part of its maintenance.

  • Active interment lifetime is when burial plots are being sold and filled
  • The dormancy period is when all burial spaces are filled

Right now, we are in the active interment lifetime of our memorial gardens, meaning graves are still being sold. This essentially means that our cemetery is still young. We take great pride in its upkeep. At all times we ensure that it looks beautiful whether that involves cleanup, replanting, trimming trees or the grass, and so on.

Our ultimate goal is to ensure that the level of care we take now is matched when we eventually move into the dormancy period. This is where the perpetual care fund comes into play.

Perpetual care funds cemetery upkeep

The International Cemetery, Cremation, and Funeral Association (ICCFA) define perpetual care as, “the providing of funds, to be held in perpetual trust, the income of which is to be expended in keeping up forever the necessary care of the individual lots and graves, and the maintenance, repair and future renewal of the borders, drives, water and sewer systems, enclosures and necessary buildings.”

During the active interment lifetime, the funds to maintain the cemetery exist because revenue is still coming in. So often, no perpetual care trust is set up and the graveyard ends up in a state of perpetual disrepair. You can probably picture how a lack of care can leave a graveyard looking dilapidated or forgotten.

Nobody wants their loved ones’ final resting places to end up forgotten and unkempt. We wouldn’t want that for our own family, and we certainly don’t want that for yours. Our vision at Higgins is that we can maintain our cemetery to look this pristine even 100 or 500 years from now.

What perpetual care means for your family

Luckily, as a registered cemetery, Sunset Park Memorial Gardens maintains perpetual care funds. For you and your family, this means that we have already planned to take care of your final resting places for as long as our memorial gardens have a place in our community. A portion of every niche and grave purchased is invested to ensure that the niches and graves will continue to be properly maintained.

  • A portion of your grave purchase is invested to fund maintenance when the cemetery becomes dormant.
  • You get peace of mind by choosing a burial site that will be cared for for decades to come.

It’s an unfortunate event to behold when a cemetery falls into the hands of the state due to a lack of funds. The government lacks the creativity of an independent cemetery operator. We have already planned to prevent that from happening.

You can place your trust in our perpetual care cemetery for the long term and know that your loved ones’ final resting places won’t fall into a state of disrepair.

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