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Places to Be Buried

They may not be able to take it with them, but many people are choosing burial locations that leave enough behind to remember them by. America's wealthy are buying up some of the country's most prized real estate in order to provide themselves with a pristine spot for their and their loved ones places of eternal rest.

Paying for the View

A burial plot overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara Cemetery fetches around $83,000 in the current market. A few steps back from the water, a plot may be had for $20,000. Those prices outpace the typical cost of burial plots around the rest of the country, which run around $1,000. However, the California cemetery is a bargain for people interested in an ocean view, even if they will not be the ones to enjoy it. Good deals are likely to be few and far between in the near future, as cemetery space is becoming more dear all over the United States.

Land in Demand

Despite the rise in popularity of cremation services and other alternatives to internment in the last decade, many people are still looking to be buried in traditional plots. Years ago, California led the way in cemetery design with Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Hubert Eaton designed and built the first Forest Lawn, which has expanded to seven locations in Southern California. A standard plot costs $8,000, but a mausoleum in a premium location on the grounds may run up to $825,000. The attraction of the location is rooted in Eaton's vision of a lush, manicured landscape that retains the integrity and beauty of the California landscape. Other exclusive cemeteries across the U.S. include:

Glenwood Cemetery, Houston, Texas; established in 1871. Price per plot: $7,000 and up. Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park, Dallas, Texas. Price per plot: $5,635. Green-Wood, Brooklyn, New York. Price per plot: $1,500. Private Mausoleum: up to $300,000.

Shaarey Pardes Accabonac Grove Cemetery, East Hampton, New York. Price per plot: Unknown.

Emotional Choice

Old-money families used to have their funeral arrangements squared away well in advance with family plots and mausoleums established in the 19th century. People who acquire wealth in their lifetimes, rather than through a legacy, often wait to make plans or leave the decision to their loved ones. When the time comes, this is often an emotional choice based more on what a loved one hoped their family member would have wanted rather than on economic principle.

Trend Away From Terra

Over 30 percent of funeral services in the United States today are cremations. In California, Hawaii and Arizona, that statistic climbs to 50 percent. According to cremation service providers like the Neptune Society of Florida, it is not exclusively about the money. While it is true that cremation carries a considerably lower price tag than a burial plot, other factors apply. Americans are not as deeply rooted to a single location anymore. Generations do not necessarily live in proximity to one another. For many Americans, keeping a cemetery plot, even a beautiful one, makes no sense if they live too far away to visit it.

Exclusivity a Draw

It is possible that today's cemeteries will come to represent another commodity that is available mainly to the well-off. Tony locations on the East Coast have developed complex schedules that dictate how many plots may be bought at one time and what the interval between purchases must be. For many of America's wealthy citizens, a final resting spot among an increasingly exclusive set is now a must-have acquisition. The opportunities to lie beside other rich, famous and otherwise distinguished dead people is diminishing. In the near future, burial plots may become another representation of the class divide among 21st-century Americans.

Category: Get Ordained Funeral

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