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A Place of Rest
My father’s late cousin, Lawrence Edwards, was a busy man around Pasadena/Altadena
in the 60’s and 70’s. He was busy selling graves for Rose Hills Memorial Park. So busy that he won a number of sales awards. He had a saying: ”You rest when you die.”
Choosing a place of rest, a final resting place, is one of the decisions family members make during the funeral arrangement process.
Whether one chooses a church, chapel, or graveside services, there is still another step. What will be the disposition of the deceased? Or how will he or she be interred? In America it is customary for interment to take place in a cemetery. Our options are burial in a grave, entombment in a crypt or mausoleum, or cremation (with burial in one of the aforementioned sites, or burial at sea).
The choice of a cemetery is driven by family preference and involves location and aesthetics, as does the selection of a grave or crypt in a particular cemetery. Some cemeteries have beautiful gardens, fountains, statues, and artwork. Some have scenic views and ponds. The more charming the location of the interment space, the more costly it generally is.
Most of our local families choose to inter in the following cemeteries:
Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Glendale or Covina Hills, Live Oak Memorial Park in Monrovia, Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles, or Riverside National Cemetery, in Riverside (for veterans and their spouses only).
You can purchase a single or double (for two) interment space at most burial grounds.
The cost of a single grave purchased through a cemetery in L.A. County, can range from $2100.00 to several thousand dollars. Prices vary widely from one cemetery to another.
Once you purchase an interment space, it is important to note that there are additional costs and purchases, some required and some optional: 1) opening and closing , 2) endowment care-usually a one time perpetual grounds keeping fee, 3) cemetery escort to/attendant at the site, 4) vault and vault placement fee, 5) marker and marker placement and endowment fee and inscription of the marker, 6) flower vase, 7) fee to witness lowering and or the backfill of the grave, etc..
Graves or crypts can be paid for well in advance, just as funeral arrangements can be; paid for in full or on a monthly basis. The additional items mentioned above can also be paid for in advance at most cemeteries, through a life-insurance based pre-need plan.
On-site cemetery counselors are available to give you a tour of the lawns and sections with interment sites available, and to assist you with the necessary paperwork. Richard Bell III, is such a counselor at Rose Hills Memorial Park. He encourages people to “buy cemetery plots before they are needed, as a gift of love and peace of mind.” In a recent interview he shared that Rose Hills has a special on fully-developed double depth graves in the Sycamore Valley section of the park, for $3775.00. This a good price, as single graves in many cemeteries, costs that and more.
Cemetery plot brokers are also resources for the purchase of cemetery property. They sell interment spaces for people who no longer plan to utilize them, for various reasons, at a lower cost. A wider selection of locations and the price break, can make it worthwhile. Sue Estin, owner of The Estin Company in North Hollywood says “the advantage of using a cemetery broker is definitely price. There will always be a substantial savings for comparable property.” It is important to make sure the company is licensed and bonded.
Thorough Advanced Funeral Planning is a two-step process: 1) Pre-planning the funeral service and 2) purchasing the interment space and accompanying items. Contact your Funeral Director for your funeral arrangements and a Cemetery Counselor or Broker, for your interment needs.
A place of rest can be decided on after a loved one passes away, but it is best when it is selected and purchased in advance. At your appointed hour, family members can be spared added emotional and financial strife, by doing so. A comforting thought, isn’t it?