Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District

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Frequently Asked Questions


What are interment rights?
When you purchase cemetery plots you, in fact, purchase the right to designate who may be interred or entombed in the plot, rather than purchasing the grave, plot or lot itself, which remains the property and responsibility of the District. Interment rights include the requirement to place a marker, the size of which is subject to District rules and regulations. A portion of the purchase price of all interment rights is invested to an irrevocable Endowment Care fund. Income from this fund is used to provide regular care and maintenance activities in the cemetery. All burial rights are subject to the cemetery rules and regulations, as well as the California Health and Safety Code.
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What is the purpose of the Endowment Care?
The Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District manages an Endowment Care Fund to ensure that there will be monies available to maintain the cemetery in the future. The establishment and management of an endowment care program is mandated by the California Health and Safety Code. It is our objective to care for and maintain our cemetery in a manner in which you and the community can take pride. To that end, we set aside more than the minimum required by law, to ensure that essential services are provided at the standards you expect and to which you are entitled. Regular care and maintenance activities include: pruning trees and shrubs, repairing and expanding irrigation systems, roads and drainage systems, etc.
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What is an interment right holder?
An interment right holder is the person(s) who own interment rights in a cemetery or columbarium. The interment rights holder has the right to specify who may be interred or entombed in the grave/lot or niche provided that the eligibility requirements, as defined in the California Health and Safety Code, are met. Written permission from the interment rights holder(s) is required prior to each interment or entombment.
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What are my choices for in-ground interment?
We currently offer in-ground plots for casket interment as well as areas of smaller plots exclusively for cremation. We offer casket burials in fully sealed vaults or in cement grave liners.
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Single Grave
A single (full) grave can accommodate one casket interment and up to two cremains. The casket interment must be the first.
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Urn Space

Urn spaces are available for those who have chosen cremation. A cremation plot can accommodate two sets of cremains provided the urns are small enough to fit. The standard plastic box urn issued by the crematory will work. The option of using a cremation vault is available. Cremains may also be interred in a casket plot. Please contact cemetery staff to discuss this option.

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How do I choose the appropriate interment rights?
Because this is a very important purchase many things must be considered. How many interments are expected to take place? Is cremation desired? If so, what is to be done with the cremated remains? Do you want the interment rights to accommodate the interment of both cremated remains and casket? How much do you want to spend on the interment rights and the required services? The Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District strongly recommends that all purchasers of interment rights view the site before buying. The Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District will make every effort to provide interment rights for all wishes and budgets. A complete list, with specific price information, is available from the cemetery office as well as the cemetery's web site.
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Does a body have to be embalmed before it is interred?
No. Embalming is not a requirement in California. It is entirely your choice, and may depend on such factors as whether or not there will be an open casket with viewing of the body (currently NOT permitted on cemetery property); if the body is to be transported by air or rail; the length of time prior to interment,etc.
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Is a casket required?
Yes.
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Can I inter cremated remains in a grave?
Yes. We have special cremation sections with plots that can accommodates 2 sets of ashes. However, cremated remains may also be interred in a casket plot. One casket plot can accommodate as many as 3 cremated remains or one casket and 2 cremated remains.
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What if I prefer casket burial, but my spouse prefers cremation?
This need not be a problem. One solution is to purchase a casket grave, which would allow for the interment of a casket followed by an urn containing cremated remains.
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What is included in the interment fee?
The interment fee includes administration and permanent record-keeping (determining ownership, obtaining permission and the completion of other documentation which may be required, entering interment particulars in the interment register, maintaining all legal files); opening and closing the grave (locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space); leveling, tamping, re-grading and placing a white rock cover on the grave-site. Any other supplies/and or services which may be required at the time of an interment would be an additional cost.
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Must I put a memorial marker on my grave?
Yes. The Cemetery District does mandate the placement of a marker on all grave sites. District regulations specify the size and most aspects of how the monument is set. The California Health and Safety Code prohibits public cemeteries from participating in the sale of markers and monuments.
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How soon after an interment must I provide a marker?
A marker conforming to the Districts rules must be provided within one (1) year of interment.
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May I put flowers on my grave?
Either natural or artificial flowers may be placed on graves providing appropriate containers are used. Please use plastic containers, as glass or pottery is easily broken and becomes a safety hazard to both visitors and staff. Flower containers should not extend beyond the headstone area.
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May I leave a candle burning at the grave?
You are welcome to light a candle or an incense stick while you are visiting the grave-site, provided you extinguish it and take it away with you. Please do not leave a burning candle or incense at the grave when you leave. An unattended flame poses a great safety hazard to both visitors and staff, as well as to the surrounding property. Glass and plastic candleholders left on the grave will be removed. Such items are easily broken and pose a safety hazard.
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May more than one person own the interment rights on the same grave?
Yes. Interment rights can be owned by one person, or by more than one person as joint tenants or as tenants-in-common.
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What is the difference between the various types of ownership?
Sole ownership means one individual, the interment rights holder, owns the interment rights. Upon the death of the interment rights holder, his/her estate retains ownership of the interment rights. Any future interments, transfers, etc., would require legal documentation to be filed at the Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery office. Joint Tenants are two or more individuals owning interment rights. Upon the death of an interment rights holder, the surviving interment rights holder, his/her estate retains ownership of the interment rights. Again, any further activity with these interment rights will require the filing of legal documentation with the Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District. Legal requirements and the Cemeteries Act require us to obtain written authorization from the interment rights holder(s) for permission and/or direction before any interment rights can be utilized.
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Can someone other than the interment rights holder be interred in a grave?
Yes. Anyone may be interred in any grave with the permission of the interment rights holder(s) provided they meet the eligibility requirements laid out in the California Health and Safety Code.
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May I designate the future use of my interment rights now?
Certainly. You may make allocation for future use interment space. Allocations may be changed or canceled at any time by the current interment rights holder(s). Again, any such allocation must meet the eligibility requirements as set forth in the California Health and Safety Code.
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May I sell interment rights to someone else?
No. The Cemeteries Act prohibits the private resale of interment rights. You may, however, transfer your interment rights to a third party. This would require you to surrender your Interment Rights Certificate to the Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District so that the transfer of ownership may be recorded.You may also sell your interment rights back to the District for exactly what you paid for them. Please contact our staff for further details.
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What will happen to the remaining interment spaces when I die?
Interment rights held by a person who dies become part of the estate of the deceased. It is, therefore, important to contact the Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District as soon as possible following the death of the interment rights holder(s) to establish signing authority relative to the future use of the interment rights. Certain documentation will be required, and since these vary according to the type of ownership and whether or not a will exists, a call to the Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District is most important.
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May I make necessary arrangements in advance?
Yes. You may reserve a plot for future use by paying the plot and endowment fees, which locks in their cost at today's prices. The plot price you pay will be refunded to you should you change your mind; however the endowment fee is not refundable. You may also enter into a pre-need contract with us to prepay actual burial charges. The pre-need contract locks in your choices and their cost at today's prices. You or your legal representative are the only people who may change the burial arrangements, and they may not be changed after your death. A 10% fee is retained in the case of pre-need contract cancellation. By planning ahead you will be able to consider the many options available for commemorating a life. You will have the opportunity to make an informed decision about your funeral and cemetery arrangements, and the form of memorial you prefer. You will be able to make choices that are meaningful to both you and your family, and you will gain peace of mind knowing your family and friends will be relieved of the emotional and financial burden often associated with making arrangements when a death occurs. By pre-arranging your funeral and cemetery services, you benefit by purchasing at today's prices, free from inflationary pressures in the future. Whether or not you choose to purchase in advance, we recommend that you discuss your preferences with your family before you finalize them. Not doing so can cause anxiety if your wishes conflict with what your family or survivors feel is appropriate.
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Do I have to use a funeral director?
No. In fact, California law permits people to look after all arrangements themselves, provided all legal requirements (permits,certificates, etc.) are met. Some organizations known as "transfer services" will provide a simple, dignified internment, entombment, cremation or memorial service. This would include the completion of all necessary documents to carry out the interment, entombment or cremation, provision of a simple container to enclose the body, removal of the deceased from the place of death and transportation to the cemetery, mausoleum or crematorium. The provision of more traditional funeral services (such as embalming, casket selections, visitation and the rental of vehicles for a procession to the cemetery, mausoleum or crematorium) is only available from funeral homes.
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May I use the chapel?
Yes the chapel can be used for a funeral/memorial service for an interment or inurnment in the cemetery. For graveside services, we provide a small number of folding chairs at the grave site upon request. All other arrangements (for clergy, etc) are up to the family.
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How can I be sure my wishes will be followed?
Entering into a pre-need contract is the best way to assure that your burial wishes are followed. In the absence of this, clear, written instructions should be given to the person who will be responsible for your funeral and cemetery arrangements. In California, these written instructions are not legally binding. Under current law, the final decision will rest with your executor(s), even taking precedence over the nearest relative's choice. It is important, therefore, to choose a person whom you can trust to carry out your wishes.
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What payment options do you offer?
We accept Visa and Mastercard.
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How can I get more information?
The staff of the Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery would be pleased to answer any questions you might have, without obligation. The cemetery office can be extremely busy on occasion. You may wish to make an appointment, at your convenience, to ensure a minimum of delay. We can be reached at 760-367-9316 or by email at admin@29palmscemetery.org. Our office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday. The office is closed on the weekends and on those holidays observed by San Bernardino County.
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Twentynine Palms Public Cemetery District

5350 Encelia Ave.
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
PHONE 760-367-9316 FAX 760-367-0117
e-mail: admin@29palmscemetery.org
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