Wandering around Italy in recent weeks makes one conscious of the place of cemetaries and public mausoleums in the community. These must be one of the most extreme examples of how up front fees have had to last more than a lifetime of maintenance costs. As financial consultants, we know that a series of payments in perpetuity has an equivalent lump sum. We can help with the investment of surplus funds.
It is going to get a lot more complex. The Cemetary Trust could run a crematorium to cater for social preference changes. They may be faced with running out of ground and having to close to new interments. Space can be more intensively used with memorial gardens and walls.
I never knew this, but some graves can be reused after a certain number of years. Or you could move headstones to the edges and use as a park. In Paris, they cleared out many chuch and public cemetaries and stored the bones in a catacombe observatory. It makes a spooky tourist attraction these days.
Behind all these decisions are financial planning decisions for the Cemetary Trust. Please let me know if you come across any of this work. I would be happy to be involved on a public spirited basis as long as the time investment wasn't going to turn out to be a grave undertaking.
The next blog will be on a more cheerful topic - TAX!
The NetActuary Team