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Should You Really Put a QR Code on Your Headstone?

The funeral industry has been expanding to include alternatives that are sometimes downright funky, like biodegradable coffins and cremation-ash diamonds. One of the less drastic variations available for people planning their funerals is the quick-response (QR) headstone, a cemetery marker with a QR code for smartphones. The idea is that visitors would be able to access additional information and pictures about the dead person through their smartphones and a website. However, is this a good idea? Intent is one thing, but practicality is another.

Technological and Commercial Change

The biggest issue you face if you pay extra for a QR code on your headstone is change. The cemetery you're buried in could ban the codes (some have already), the technology used for QR codes could change and become obsolete, and the company managing the code could close and not transfer the care of the codes and websites to another company. That would leave you with a very strange-looking and useless code plunked on your headstone. If you're okay with taking this risk, then go for the code if you want that extra information available. But if you're not okay with that, don't let a salesman talk you into adding the code.

Hacking, Malware, Vandalism, Theft, and Security

Anything computer related is going to have to take security into account. Your memorial website could be hacked, the code could be linked to malware that downloads onto people's phones, the code plate could be scratched, and so on. You'd have to go with a company known for excellent security, but the technology is still so insecure that it would be a risk.

Final Control

You can always design the website (i.e., provide the information you want) that connects to the QR code. But the final content will rest in the hands of your heirs, who will have editing powers. If you trust your heirs to leave the text alone, that's good. If you worry that your kids might put up photos of you that they think are funny but that you don't like, that's not good.

Detailed Memorialization

Headstone QR codes aren't all bad—they do let people know more about the deceased and can provide comforting memories and videos for mourners. It would be very expensive to add lots of engraved details to your headstones. If you do have any important messages for people after you die, the QR codes can help you get those messages out there.

It does look like QR codes on a headstone might not be something to jump into. However, because they do have the attractive point of providing information you want people to know, you may want to keep your eye on the technology. Talk to a headstone and funeral planner such as Maurice Moore Memorials about getting updates regarding this technology.