Your Questions About Making Additions to an Existing Headstone, Answered

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Alecia Milano
Posted by Alecia Milano on January 17, 2023

There may come a time when you need (or want) to add a name, date or other information to an existing headstone after it has been placed in a cemetery. While making updates are fairly common, it’s okay if you aren’t familiar with the design possibilities and overall process for making additions to an existing headstone.  

Whether you want to add final dates, other names, personalized designs or meaningful memorial quotes, additions can be made easily to almost any memorial.

To help make this process efficient and easy, we’ve answered the top five questions we hear when asked about adding information to an existing headstone.

What Information Do I Need Before Updating an Existing Headstone?

Before adding to an existing memorial, you will need to know if there is enough space for the lettering or designs that you would like added to the memorial.

At Milano Monuments, we keep a file on most of the memorials we’ve created for our customers. If we created your headstone, we can easily find the design in our database and let you know right away the correct lettering style that needs to be added and if there is space for your addition.

To make additions to headstones, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • The lost loved one's first and last name and/or the name on the memorial.
  • Name of the cemetery.
  • Location of the headstone in the cemetery.
  • A recent picture of the memorial.
  • A description of what you want added to the memorial and placement

If we determine there is sufficient space for your addition, one of our specialists will make a rendering of where we think it fits best and then send you a design of the option(s) available. This ensures you know exactly what’s being added and how the stone will look before it’s altered.


Example of a sketch showing where new information can be added


Note: Adding a name to a headstone or final dates in the predetermined space is much simpler than adding new emblems or inscriptions, and may not require this approval process.

How Long Does It Take To Make Additions to a Headstone?

The timeline for adding to an existing headstone depends on how long it takes…

  • The customer to provide payment and information about the cemetery and the location of the memorial.
  • The memorial company to visit the headstone and get a tracing of the stone if needed (weather permitting).
  • The memorial company to receive approvals on the addition from both the cemetery and the family.
  • The memorial company to make the addition. More complex designs and lettering take more time, and cold temperatures, rain and snow can delay the process.* Weather permitting, it generally takes 60 days to complete.

*In Cleveland, Ohio these are typically only completed June through September.

Celebrezze_Companion_Memorial_Holy_Cross_CemeteryThe more information you can provide about the cemetery, specific plot location, what the memorial looks like, what needs to be added and even a clear picture of its current state, the faster the addition can get started.

Are Headstone Additions Made in the Cemetery?

Regardless of the type or size of the new lettering, headstone additions can almost always be made onsite at the cemetery.

Headstone Lettering Sample_1

Our specialists can complete engravings onsite to match the quality and style as if the memorial was just created for the first time at our Cleveland facility. Oftentimes, we can also add a plaque to a headstone onsite.

However, if the lettering or design is complex or needs to be etched, the memorial is brought to our climate controlled production facility to be updated.

For older headstones that may have experienced some paint fading, additions may stand out against the rest of the stone. If you are concerned this may happen to your headstone, we provide services for memorial cleaning and general touchups, including repainting.*

*Keep in mind, not all memorials are designed to have paint in the letters. 

Zmuda - Companion Monument

What Approvals Are Required to Add to an Existing Memorial?

Once you approve and pay for the headstone addition, the following authorizations must be obtained. 
  • Signature from a responsible party. Whether it’s a funeral director or family member, the addition must be approved. This includes signing off on a visual model of the change with the correct spelling, dates and designs (if applicable).
  • Cemetery notification and/or approval. Some cemeteries require a notification that a change is being made to an existing memorial, and some even require approval of the exact change. This typically requires a signature from the responsible party or a description of the addition.

How Much Does It Cost to Add a Name or Other Information to a Headstone?

Adding additional information to a headstone can cost as little as $285, but can increase based on several factors:

  • Total number of additions (date, name, quote, symbol, photo)
  • Type of lettering style and finish.
  • Size or length of the addition.  
  • Complexity of the added design.

The image on the left is a headstone created by a different monument company. The family was unhappy with the original result and brought it to Milano Monuments for additional work. Milano Monuments’ in-house artist, Peter Viyuk, completely transformed the memorial with the diamond hand-etched nature scene you see on the right. 

To receive a quote and more information about adding to an existing memorial, reach out to one of our memorial specialists today.

Submit a Request for a Headstone Addition

Ready to add a name, date or other inscription to an existing headstone? Submit your headstone addition information here and our team will respond with an estimated cost. Please keep in mind, the more information you’re able to provide, the quicker we can provide an update for you. 


Submit a Request for Headstone Additions

Topics: Memorialization

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