Tag Archives: cemetery property

So, you think you own cemetery property that can be left to someone in your will do you?

Wills-and-Estates1 

 

Whether you are looking to buy cemetery property, or you are a cemetery  looking to sell cemetery property, or you think you own cemetery property because you have a deed for some graves, all would be wrong.  What people are actually buying are burial rights to a piece of land that is always owned by the cemetery.  The deed that is issued is warranty deed for land that can be used for one specific purpose…a place of interment.  In simple terms, you are buying the rights to bury the human remains or cremains of an individual in a specified location within a cemetery.

Although everyone talks about “cemetery property”, it is important to be aware of the semantics involved, especially when preparing your will.  Many people come to a cemetery at the time of need with a copy of a will that says they get all of mom’s or dad’s personal possessions.  The interment process is often delayed as we point out to presumptive heirs that a court order may be needed, depending on the language in the will, before a burial will be made.  Simply stating that all my stuff goes to whomever, cemetery property needs to be flushed out.  The will must include language that defines exactly the details of said property, or as mentioned above, burial rights.  Language that says you get the cemetery property does not work as the will must state something to the effect of:

My cemetery property burial rights on Deed _______  at Calumet Park Cemetery,

Section ____, Block ____, Lot ____, Grave_____

must be defined and without such specifics, Calumet Park may require a court order to allow the use of the graves as the owner of the deed intended.

It would be best to have your will reviewed by a lawyer if you refer to cemetery property in it.  A death has enough pain and fear of the unknown attached to it.  It would certainly be to your advantage to have this piece of the final arrangement puzzle written into your will to eliminate the question of what the deceased truly wanted done with any unused graves upon their passing.  When burial rights are not assigned before the death of the deed holder, the State of Indiana has some very specific laws as to who gets to be buried in them.

If you are not sure about what rights are attached to the purchase of grave space at Calumet Park Cemetery, feel free to bring your paperwork in (deeds, wills, power of attorney) for Daniel Moran, the General Manager of Calumet Park, to review and offer an opinion – free of charge.  Or, call 219-769-8803 for help with any of your cemetery, funeral, or cremation questions.

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If you think you own cemetery property, you don’t!

gray monument

Although we say a person owns cemetery property, nobody owns the property except the person or corporation who owns the cemetery. In actuality, a person buys the rights to bury someone in a grave and that is how a cemetery deed is written.

This is an important distinction when preparing a will. Since your graves are not real property in the legal sense, they do not fall under normal lawyer speak of inclusion in a broad statement of “all my property goes to” when your will is prepared. In fact, the language used in a will is of utmost importance when it comes time to use the graves after the original purchaser dies.

When individual graves are not assigned prior to the death of the deed holder(s), the legal question arises when a need for a burial in one of the unused graves presents itself as to who has the right to be buried there. Sadly, oftentimes, the only solution then is to get a court order to have the burial take place. There are too many possibilities to include in a 300 word article, so please call your cemetery for clarification. To have to go get a court order right after a person dies is emotionally trying, and can be prevented.

To avoid problems after you are gone, ask your lawyer to include the following language in your will which eliminates any legal challenges in the future as to your intent for the use of the graves: I leave my cemetery property at (list name and address of your cemetery here) , section _____, lot _____, graves_____ to (and then designate a name, address etc. of that person or those who I want to have the graves).

If you have any questions, feel free to call 219-769-8803 for clarification.  Visit us at calumetparkcemetery.com

 

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Filed under Calumet Park Cemetery, Calumet Park Funeral Chapel in Merrillville Indiana, feature stories