Fees and Charges:
1. Can a cemetery charge me however much it wants for services provided?
A. Every cemetery company must have a price list which shall be posted by the cemetery company in its office or another conspicuous location at the cemetery and filed with the New Jersey Cemetery Board. A cemetery company cannot charge a fee for a service that is not on the price list filed with the Board office, except when the service provided is unique or highly specialized.
1. How can I contact the New Jersey Cemetery Board’s office?
A. New Jersey Cemetery Board
124 Halsey Street
P.O. Box 45036
Newark, New Jersey 07101
2. Does the New Jersey Cemetery Board regulate all cemeteries in New Jersey?
A. No. The New Jersey Cemetery Board licenses and regulates cemetery companies that are considered nonsectarian or nonreligious corporations.
3. Does the New Jersey Cemetery Board have jurisdiction over religious societies or organizations that purchase graves in bulk for its members?
A. No, it does not. However, the Board may have jurisdiction over the cemetery involved if it is nonsectarian or has applied to be under the Board’s jurisdiction.
4. Can a complaint be filed against a cemetery?
A. Every consumer has the right to file a complaint against a cemetery company that possesses a Certificate of Authority issued by the New Jersey Cemetery Board. Complaints may be filed by contacting the:
New Jersey Cemetery Board
124 Halsey Street
P.O. Box 45036
Newark, New Jersey 07101
or by downloading a complaint form at:
5. What is the cost of a grave?
A. Plot prices may vary widely between different cemeteries and different locations in the same cemetery. There is also a fee for opening and closing the grave. Be sure you understand what you are getting and that for which you are paying. The New Jersey Cemetery Board is not authorized to establish the prices at which graves may be sold or the charges for services rendered by cemeteries.
6. Can money be withdrawn from the cemetery’s Maintenance and Preservation Fund?
A. Every cemetery company shall establish an irrevocable trust fund, called the Maintenance and Preservation Fund, the income from which shall be expended for the maintenance and preservation of the cemetery for perpetuity. As the Fund is an irrevocable trust fund, money cannot be withdrawn from the corpus of the Fund.
7. Must I purchase a burial vault?
A. New Jersey law does not require that you buy a burial vault or outer container to surround the casket in the grave. However, each cemetery has the right to establish its own rules and regulations regarding this subject. Many cemeteries require that you have such a container to help prevent the ground from sinking and to protect the casket and the remains. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements.
8. Can my pet be buried with me?
A. No. By statute codified as N.J.S.A. 45:27-2, “cemetery” means any land or place used or dedicated for use for burial of human remains or disposition of cremated human remains. A cemetery, by definition, may not accept pets, unless it is exclusively a pet cemetery.
9. How can I find out in which cemetery someone is buried?
A. Contact the N.J. Bureau of Vital Statistics and Registration.
1-866-649-8726 (a toll-free call nationwide)
10. How can I find information about an old cemetery?
A. Contact the Historic Preservation Office.
11. Who can I contact regarding a Catholic cemetery?
A. The Office of Catholic Cemeteries.
40 Jackson Road
Medford, NJ 08055
609-654-8208 x 15
12. How can I get a copy of the N.J. Cemetery Board’s meeting agenda and minutes?
A. Go to the NJ Cemetery Board Web site:
or contact the Board office @(973)504-6553.
13. Can a monument/vault company sell graves and maintain cemeteries?
A. No. By statute codified as N.J.S.A. 45:27-16c, the sale of graves and the maintenance of cemeteries by monument/vault companies is prohibited.
14. May I hire an outside contractor to care for my parents’ graves or take care of the graves myself?
A. Yes. By statute codified as N.J.S.A.45:27-31, you or an outside contractor may maintain the graves provided that the maintenance is subject to the supervision of the management of the cemetery company to insure compliance with the rules and regulations of the cemetery. You may be charged a reasonable fee for such supervision.
15. I want to sell back to the cemetery graves that I purchased years ago, but the cemetery will not purchase them back. Is this legal?
A. Cemeteries in New Jersey are under no obligation to purchase back graves. If a cemetery does purchase them back, it does not have to pay the current going price of similar graves.
16. Can I be buried on my private property?
A. No. The only place that burial can take place in New Jersey is on land that is dedicated for cemetery purposes. For your property to be used for burial, you would have to apply to the New Jersey Cemetery Board for a Certificate of Authority to operate as a “cemetery company.”
17. If I donate graves to a charitable organization, would a deposit to the Maintenance and Preservation Trust Fund have to be made?
A. At the time of the donation, no deposit would have to be made. However, when the charitable organization sells, transfers or assigns a grave, a donation to the Trust Fund would have to be made.
18. What is the Maintenance and Preservation Trust Fund that is required by the N.J. Cemetery Board’s statutes and regulations?
A. It is an irrevocable trust fund the income from which shall be expended for the maintenance and preservation of the cemetery. A cemetery company shall collect and pay into the Maintenance and Preservation Fund the following fees and charges:
(1) On the initial sale by a cemetery company of each grave, 15% of the gross sales price;
(2) 10% of the initial sales price of a crypt or niche in a public mausoleum or columbarium;
(3) On bulk sales of graves, 15% of the current retail gross sale price of comparable graves;
(4) On bulk sales of crypts or niches, 10% of the current retail gross sale price of comparable crypts or niches;
(5) on transfer/resale of a grave, 15% of the current gross sales price of equivalent graves, less any amounts previously paid to the Maintenance and Preservation Fund on sales of that grave;
(6) on transfer/ resale of a crypt or niche, 15% of the current gross sales price of equivalent crypts or niches, less any amounts previously paid to the Maintenance and Preservation Fund on sales of that crypt or niche;
(7) For each interment or for the placement of cremated human remains, 3% of the charge for the interment or placement or $20, whichever is more;
(8) For a foundation, base or installation, 10% of the charge for the foundation, base or installation, or $20, whichever is more.
19. Are there any regulations in New Jersey concerning monument specifications and dimensions?
A. N.J. Cemetery Law does not require specific dimensions for monumentation. The regulations of a particular cemetery regarding the specifics of memorials are usually provided by the cemetery to the monument dealers. If your local monument dealer does not have the cemetery's regulations, he/she should request a copy from the cemetery.
20. Are there any limitations as to what is reasonable and customary for foundation and installation fees for monuments or markers at a cemetery in New Jersey?
A. The fee for the installation of foundations varies from cemetery to cemetery; there is no set or customary fee. The only requirement for cemeteries under the jurisdiction of this Board is that their most current price list of service fees must be filed with this Board office before the fee can be charged to consumers.
21. With reference to the "Maintenance and Preservation Trust Fund" required for all cemeteries, does the "trust" need to be in writing? Are there any regulations regarding the trust funds? Are the trust funds supervised by the State and, if so, how are they supervised?
A. A trust is an agreement between the cemetery and a financial institution and, for the most part, trusts are put in writing. The Cemetery Board's statutes and regulations govern trust funds. The Board has oversight over these funds. Every cemetery under the jurisdiction of this Board must file an annual report that shows the condition of the fund. The annual reports are audited by the Board.
22. Is it possible to see the filed cemetery rates for plots and services on your Web site?
A. Service fees charged by cemeteries are not posted on our Web site. Each cemetery must file its service fees with the Board office. If you are interested in a specific cemetery's fees, you may contact the Board’s office at 973-504-6553 and we will supply you with a copy.
23. Does New Jersey have any statute, regulation or policy regarding nature preserve/green cemeteries?
A. New Jersey does not have any statutes, regulations or policies regarding this type of burial.