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What is Better Place Forests?

Researching end-of-life planning options can feel a little overwhelming. You might be asking a myriad of questions like: How do I want my family to remember me? How can I choose the best end-of-life option that aligns with my values? What is the most affordable? Is there a greener, more natural end-of-life option that I can feel good tying to my legacy?

Better Place Forests can help guide you through these questions. We’re here to help make your end-of-life planning be as stress-free as possible. Learn more about Better Place Forests, common questions about choosing a memorial forest, and how we ensure the planet and your legacy are protected for generations to come. 

What is Better Place Forests? 

Better Place Forests is a natural alternative to cemeteries for people who choose cremation. Within one of our 10 memorial forests, you can select a memorial tree as a final resting place from among a variety of sizes and species. Multiple family members and even pets often share a tree. 

Our forests are located within a comfortable driving distance of major metros — accessible yet distant enough to provide peace and immersion in nature. Before you need your tree as a memorial, you are able to visit the forest with friends, family, and pets on a leash. Once ashes have been spread, a personalized marker is placed at the base of the tree and loved ones can visit this location throughout the year. 

Our team of arborists and forest stewards maintain these beautiful outdoor spaces, while our advisors and customer care team are here to help you choose a memorial plan that honors you and your family’s legacy for generations to come. 

Is Better Place Forests legit?

Yes! This may be a common question because we’re a new concept. Better Place Forests has been conserving forests and serving families since 2015. Co-founder Sandy Gibson founded the company at that time with his childhood best friends –– in memory of his late parents. You can learn more about us in the New York Times, Fast Company, or the Today Show.

Is Better Place Forests a cemetery? 

No, Better Place Forests is a sustainable, natural alternative to a cemetery for those who choose cremation. Instead of a traditional burial, Better Place Forests offers a more natural option. During a memorial ceremony, ashes are mixed with native soil at the base of your chosen memorial tree, where you will become part of a healthy, thriving forest. 

Does Better Place Forests offer cremation?

Better Place Forests does not provide cremation services. You can find trusted partners by searching for local funeral homes or crematoriums.

How do you protect forests?

Better Place Forests is committed to conserving forestland, maintaining healthy forests, and protecting your memorial tree for generations to come. Protecting your legacy is our top priority and something we don’t take lightly.

Our forest protection process includes:

  • The purchase of land for the express purpose of protecting it from development
  • Committing to our customers and communities to protect the land from development
  • Launching a stewardship trust to fund long-term care and maintenance
  • Eventually placing a conservation easement on the property

When you choose a tree with us, you can do so with peace of mind knowing your family will always be able to come and honor your memory. 

To maintain our forests, we do extensive preventative work to make sure our memorial trees and forests are as healthy as possible. When selecting future forests, we find forestland with high conservation value and community support to help protect it. We then hire local arborists and foresters to help us understand the unique ecosystems of each forest.

Our arborists regularly assess the forest for potential issues (like disease), while also pruning individual trees to ensure safety and accessibility for you and your loved ones. We go through this meticulous process with each of our forests to make sure your memorial tree will grow with your family. 

How much does a memorial tree cost? 

Pricing for each tree is based on several factors, including location, setting (such as views and water features), tree type and size, and the number of spreading rights. Our multiple ash spreading policy allows the right to additional ceremonies (including pets) to be added at any time. 

We intentionally structure our pricing with flexibility, transparency, and affordability in mind so you feel confident in your decision in choosing one of our beautiful forest spaces to honor your memory. 

While an average burial, plot, and headstone costs around $15,000 per person, Better Place Forests offers a range of prices for any budget, at less than half the cost of a traditional burial. We save you time, money, and stress, so you can plan your memorial with peace of mind. 

Do I get to pick my own tree, or does Better Place Forests choose it for me? 

Yes, you get to pick your own tree. Choosing your final resting place is a deeply personal decision, and we think the honor of choosing your memorial tree should be yours. There may be something that strikes you about a particular tree, the view, or its surrounding landscape. That’s what makes choosing your tree such a special experience. We have various tree sizes, locations, and forests to help you pick a tree that’s uniquely yours. Read about how our customers, sisters Susan and Mary, chose their tree

Can I access my tree by foot?

Each of our forests is maintained with your safety and accessibility in mind. Most of our trees are a short walk from the visitor center, but others are more off the beaten path. If your tree isn’t easily accessible for you, or if you require additional assistance, we offer a mobility quad to help you access your tree as needed. We work with guests to find the best, and most accessible, tree for them to visit for years to come.

What if my tree dies? 

If your memorial tree dies, we’ll plant a new tree in the same spot, or close to, your original tree if that’s feasible. If your tree dies but ashes have not yet been spread, we’ll help you choose a comparable tree within the same forest or allow you to transfer forests. If there’s a fire or natural disaster, we commit to replanting your tree or doing everything we can to restore or repair the damage. 

We work diligently with local experts, following forest management best practices to ensure that we’re not only choosing the best possible sections of the forest for your memorial but also preserving the longevity and health of your tree.  

What does it mean to have a memorial tree at Better Place Forests?

Choosing a tree with Better Place Forests is an incredibly special way to choose an end-of-life option that allows you to protect the planet and the people you love.

A memorial tree within one of our forests can represent a lifetime of happy memories and a place where your family can return to feel close to you. It can also provide a comforting sense of closure and peace knowing that at the end of your life, you’re becoming a part of nature and will forever be connected to the natural world. 

Legacy planning can feel daunting — but it doesn’t have to be with a trusted team behind you. Book a free online forest tour to learn more about how Better Place Forests can help you get started.