Luxury Services for the Afterlife

The Sun Sentinel recently published an interesting story on the growth of luxury services for those making funeral and burial decisions. While it may seem strange to some for such focus on high-end items in the afterlife, those familiar with estate planning appreciate the intensely personal nature of these decisions.

For example, the article includes an interview with one man who decided to build a large mausoleum where dozens of his family may one day be buried. The retiree explained: “I was making good money, and I could afford to do that for my family. It was the idea that most of my family preferred to be buried above ground rather than in the ground.”

Industry insiders working on these burial details note that there is a significant market for more high end plots and amenities. Some include large indoor mausoleums, granite-walled locations and even entire private burial estates with air conditioning provided for visiting guests.

If you want to get a feel for the range of options out there, you can check out a popular site––where everything from the standard choices to the extravagant can be viewed. Some options are very personal, reflecting the preferences or memories of the specific individual. The website offers the example of one family who had a small children’s playhouse built in a nearby cemetery after the tragic passing of their 4-year old daughter.

As one might expect, the largest and most complex products are very pricey. The owner of one high-end tomb company notes that a standard mausoleum can begin at $40,000 but quickly rise into the millions–particularly if entire families will be buried together. The largests tombs can fit upwards of twenty individuals, allowing for several generations to rest in one place.

However, these amenity-filled resting spots are not necessarily only for the super wealthy. Some public mausoleums offer the same services (air conditioning, carpeting, elevators, etc) at a fraction of the price. These spaces can be reserved for a couple hundred dollars and a monthly fee. One man looking into this public mausoleum option explained, “Very few people will be able to make a big enough impact on this world to leave a permanent mark on history. But a unique and grand mausoleum will allow me to make my mark and give recognition to those who have contributed to making mine a wonderful life.”

While it may seem that these elaborate symbols to recognize a resting place are done for status reasons, most explain that it instead reflects a wish for friends and family to have a comfortable and recognizable place to visit.

For help ensuring all of your long-term wishes will be carried out–from inheritances to funeral and burial arrangements–consider contacting the NY estate planning attorneys at our firm today.

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