Thursday, May 15, 2014

Forgotten Death Planning - Buy Cemetery Plot Early

When people talk about death planning, 2 common things that you often hear are insurance and will witting. You rarely hear about buying cemetery plot as part of the package. Is this because of superstition and people are not comfortable with this topic or simply a forgotten death planning that we all don't prioritize?

It came into me how important of this when a relative of mine died in all sudden at very young age. It was unexpected, so many things became chaos at that time. Without a will is one thing (which I believe many have already known), buying cemetery plot is the one people often ignore it. This is essential because it is like a real estate or property. It appreciates every year.  The later you buy, it is more expensive. So one key take away for me in this incident is - "We Need to Buy Our Cemetery Plot Early".

However, I still haven't brought mine yet but have bought it for my parents in law. My parents are still in discussion stage. I think before you buy for your own, you need to buy for your parents first and this makes sense right? But be prepared for open discussion with them. :)

Where to Buy Cemetery Plot?

Depending on your preference, you can either choose to be buried or cremated. I think this also depends on what religions you're. Different religions do it differently. Since I don't have a religion, I go for the cheapest solution with cremated and we found this non-profit organization in Sungai Petani. It is called "Beng Siew Hall (明修善社)".

The building looks like it is only meant for Buddhism or Taoism but I think it should be independent because I have seen other religion cemetery's plots here (such as Christian and others). All the money that you buy for the cemetery plot is donated eventually.

When you go inside this building, you will see something like this.

There are total of 3 floors (if I remember correctly). This is in the middle section of each floor. There are sections that are facing east or west (facing the sky). Depends on your needs especially if you have Feng Shui considerations.

This is how the empty plot looks like and the prices. The one in middle and below eye level is usually the most expensive one. In this example, the highest level starts with letter A until the lowest letter J. The middle section is between number 9 and 15.

You can also buy the plaque (which is used to cover this box and also for displaying purpose). You need to decide what words that you want to put there. If you (not you obviously) want to buy it later on, it is okay too. Depends on your religion or your belief, there are also certain rules or requirements like how many words that you need to follow but this is totally up to you.


In my experience, buying cemetery plot is much or less very similar to buying a property. You need to choose the best location that best suits you or your parents but it is not necessary must be Feng Shui related considerations. For instance, you don't want your cemetery located at the unreachable area. On the other hand, it is also like an investment because the later you buy, the less choices you have with higher price. Isn't that it sound like buying a property?

The tricky part is, not everyone is comfortable in discussing this topic especially if you try to discuss this with your parents while thhey are still alive! It depends how open minded your parents are. In their perspective, it is like assuming they're going do die soon or you want them to die, that's why you discuss this with them. :)

Also, what I find strange here is I haven't heard of any financial planners talk about this topic at all. They often go for will and insurance when talk about death planning. It seems like none of them talking about buying or investing in cemetery plot. At least, I think they don't pay high attention in this area, do they?

Have you thought about this thing before? If no, I think we should all start to plan for it. Ultimately you don't want your kids suffering financially to find a home for you after your death. :) Personally, I have not yet do this for my parents and myself. It is one of my to do list. Things get harder now since I have migrated to Australia because I totally not familiar here.

I hope this article is useful. If you have any experience to share, feel free to leave your comment here.


maveric said...

Hi CD,

Glad to know that you are well in down under! What an interesting topic - can I put it as an active role in deciding your own funeral arrangement ..!

Firstly,I think the Chinese generally has the most expensive funeral arrangements among all.This stem from beliefs and customs especially Tao's ones that nobody question!It is so common to hear people spending tens of thousands for funeral arrangements...& that is for the burial plot only!

I always admire the Muslims..very practical & pretty clinical in their funeral arrangements therefore cheap in Ringgits & cents! Christians & Hindus are 'in between'..I think.

I believe I am a rational liberal with a Buddhist bias and I do not believe in leaving any 'physical/tangible things' to perpetuate one's memory for your descendants..reason being it is simply that in the infinite passage of time,you will be insignificant and completely forgotten 2 generations from now..! ( My 'grands' graves,both paternal & maternal are already deteriorating in different stages of neglect.My parents generation is all gone & the current '2nd Gen' is all 'No Actions' due to disunity,indifference,different faiths/beliefs & financial constraints ..etc2 to rectify things..! Well! ..a definite tying up or is it a mere coincidence jiving with an important Buddhist's doctrine of impermanence here.. )

My wishes are pretty clear here when I exit..1) cremation 2)no wake or maximum 1 night only 3)no noisy rituals ..( preference soothing Buddhist chants which I do not understand anyway & do play my favorite stuffs from Elvis.Beatles,BeeGees ..etc2 as that would make many 'attendees' happy too..! )

& finally 'throw or scatter' whats left of me into the sea..!

Sorry for being a bit lengthy but those are my thoughts lei..!


ChampDog said...

I heard the Tao's one is quite complicated. They actually hire people to cry which I think is definitely not something I will do. This is just one aspect of it that I know but I think it is already not making sense. Sorry, not mean to insult, just am opinion.

Buddhism is the simple one, not sure about the rest. Looks like from you explanation, Muslims is the simplest and cheapest. Can I use Muslim method although I"m not Muslim? Just curious, if can I will consider!

Interestingly I talked to my mum last time, she also wanted to "throw or scatter" what is left into the sea. I'm not sure if she was kidding or not. I think I need to ask her again to confirm! :)

If I can make the choice (you know sometimes this is not up to you), the simplest & cheapest is the best solution. Maybe I don't need anything at all, not even the 3 steps that you mention! If someone can make use of my body, just take it! Something like organ donation or surgery experimental for doctor students. Think of it again, maybe I don't need to buy my cemetery plot at all, do I? I can just sign an agreement with hospital to fully make use of what I have left. :) As you said, you will be forgotten in 2 generations, why still border?

m said...

Well,who am I to pass judgement on certain religious rituals/beliefs but we should be able to distinguish a right or wrong thing..& that's what education is all about! Things perpetuate due to our 'fear' & ignorance.This of course lead to practically everybody to be literally led by the 'nose'by these shamans/priests..advocating dogmatic customs/rituals!

What I meant when I said I admired the Muslim concept is ' the speed and simplicity' it closes the funeral process ..normally the same day or within 24-hours latest, & of course,one need not be a Muslim to subscribe to this concept!

I vividly remembered my decision to cremate & to 'scatter' my dad's remains in the sea in his passing 25 years ago! This was of course viewed with horror from the peripheral relatives circle as these were never done before..!

The belief was and still is that one need a 'physical/tangible thing'to perpetuate an ancestor's memory to ensure a decent & wealthy life for the descendants..! It is part of 'Feng Shui' said the shamans & I say you can bet here that these 'descendants' will have a tough,miserable & poor life trying to pay off all the debts incurred in putting up all these 'rituals,physical & tangibles' things demanded by them..!

As you are aware,I am blissfully retired & I must say that it has got something to do with me not 'over-spending' 25 years ago & of course not being crippled by all these dogmatic beliefs.

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