FAQs


1. What are interment rights?
2. What is the purpose of the Endowment Care?
3. What is an interment right holder?
4. What are my choices in ground interment?
5. What is a Single-size Grave?
6. How do I choose the appropriate interment rights?
7. Does a body have to be embalmed before it is interred?
8. Is a casket required?
9. Can I inter cremated remains in a grave?
10. What if I prefer casket burial, but my spouse prefers cremation?
11. What is included in the interment fee?
12. Must I put a memorial marker on my grave?
13. How soon after an interment may I place a memorial marker?
14. May I put a small hedge or fence around my grave?
15. May I put flowers on my grave?
16. May I leave a candle burning at the grave?
17. May more than one person own the interment rights on the same grave?
18. What is the difference between the various types of ownership?
19. Can someone other than the interment rights holder be interred in a grave?
20. May I designate the future use of my interment rights now?
21. May I sell interment rights to someone else?
22. What will happen to the remaining interment spaces when I die?
23. May I make necessary arrangements in advance?
24. Do I have to use a funeral director?
25. May I use the chapel?
26. How can I be sure my wishes will be followed?
27. How can I get more information?

 

1. 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 right to place a marker or monument, the size of which is subject to District rules and regulations. A portion of the purchase price of all interment rights is invested in 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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2. What is the purpose of the Endowment Care?
The Murrieta Valley 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: maintaining turf, pruning trees and shrubs, repairing and expanding irrigation systems, roads and drainage systems, etc.
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3. What is an interment right holder?
An interment right holder is the person(s) who own interment rights in a cemetery, mausoleum, or columbarium. The interment rights holder has the right to specify who may be interred or entombed in the grave/lot/urn space/crypt 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 placement.
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4. What are my choices for in-ground interment?
We currently offer standard in-ground plots for casket interment as well as smaller plots exclusively for cremation. Our standard plots allow for interment of 1 casket and up to 4 sets of cremains. The District does not require the installation of markers and/or monuments but does reserve the right to regulate the size, materials, and method of setting should a family choose to have a monument installed. “Double-depth” burials, where 2 caskets, and up to 4 sets of cremains, are interred in a single plot, are becoming more and more popular. Almost all of our casket plots can accommodate double-depth burials. All casket and/or cremation interments must be placed in a vault.
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5. What is a Single-size Grave?
A single-size grave can, in most cases, can accommodate two casket interments, one at extra depth and the other at standard depth, and up to 4 sets of cremains. The Murrieta Valley Cemetery District allows only flush markers on all burial plots, up to a maximum of three markers per plot.
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6. How do I choose the appropriate interment rights?
Because this is a very important purchase many things must be considered. What kind of marker do you prefer? 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 caskets? How much do you want to spend on the interment rights and the required services? The Murrieta Valley Cemetery District strongly recommends that all purchasers of interment rights view the site before buying. The 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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7. 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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8. Is a casket required?
No. What is required is an enclosed, rigid container to allow for the dignified handling of human remains. The District also requires the use of a vault for any interment.
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9. Can I inter cremated remains in a grave?
Yes. We have designated cremation plots that will accommodate up to 2 sets of cremains. However, cremated remains may also be interred in a standard in-ground casket plot. One casket plot can accommodate as many as 6 cremated remains. However, the markers(s) on the grave, or plot, are still limited in size to the single size. For more information on marker sizes, please refer to our marker policy. If many inscriptions are desired, you should take that into consideration in the design of your marker. Even graves which no longer have room for casket interments can accommodate the interment of one or more urns. If space permits on the marker, and with the permission of the interment rights holder(s), you may be able to add an additional inscription on an existing marker.
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10. 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 (with vault) followed by up to 4 cremated remains (with vaults).
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11. What is included in the interment fee?
The District’s fees are divided into 2 parts. The interment rights cost, (with endowment fee), and the burial costs. The interment fee includes administration and permanent record-keeping: determining ownership, obtaining permission for interment, completion of other documentation which may be required, entering interment particulars in the interment database and maintaining all legal files. Burial fees include: locating the grave and laying out the boundaries, excavating and filling the interment space, leveling, tamping, grading, replacement of sod on the grave-site and placement of a temporary marker and one flower vase. Any other supplies/and or services which may be required at the time of an interment would be an additional cost, such as an additional vase.
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12. Must I put a memorial marker on my grave?
No. The Murrieta Valley Cemetery District does not mandate the placement of a marker on a grave site. In general, we do not permit the placement of a marker or monument on a grave site until at least one interment has been completed in the plot in question. Should a family choose to have a marker installed on a plot, the District reserves the right to regulate the size and all aspects of how the marker is set. The California Health and Safety Code prohibits public cemeteries from participating in the sale of markers and monuments.
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13. How soon after an interment may I place a memorial marker?
This is entirely a matter of choice. The marker can be ordered as early or as late as you like. Most markers can also be ordered in advance of need. We recommend waiting at least 2 weeks to give the ground time to adequately settle.
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14. May I put a small hedge or fence around my grave?
No. District policy prohibits placement of any plants, trees or shrubs on, in or around any gravesite. However, the District does accept tree donations. Please refer to the District Tree Policy.
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15. May I put flowers on my grave?
Either natural or artificial flowers may be placed in the District-placed in-ground vases. Flowers are removed every Wednesday. However, District staff attempts to only remove them when they become unsightly. Please refer to the District Flower Policy.
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16. 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 gravesite, 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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17. 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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18. 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 Murrieta Valley Cemetery District 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 Murrieta Valley 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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19. 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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20. May I designate the future use of my interment rights now?
Certainly. You may make allocation for future use of both interment space and inscription space on an existing marker. 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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21. 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 Murrieta Valley 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 (less the non-refundable endowment fee). Please contact our staff for further details.
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22. 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 Murrieta Valley 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 Murrieta Valley Cemetery District is most important.
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23. 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, (less the non-refundable endowment fee), should you change your mind. The District does not at this time make provision for pre-need burial arrangements. You may, however, stipulate your preferred arrangements in your will. You, or your legal representative, are the only people who may change the burial arrangements, if set up in this fashion. 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 marker 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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24. 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, inurnment, 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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25. May I use the chapel?
We currently do not have a chapel facility. For graveside services, we provide an awning and 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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26. How can I be sure my wishes will be followed?
Stipulating your desires in a will 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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27. How can I get more information?
The staff of the Murrieta Valley Cemetery District 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 951.677.4223 or by email at www.murrietacemetery.org. Our office hours are 8 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday thru Friday. The office is closed on the weekends and on those holidays observed by Riverside County.
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