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Your final resting place may already be occupied

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What to do if your burial plot has been resold

While the resale of burial plots is rare, it does happen. Here’s how to protect yourself and what to do if your plot is sold:

PREVENTIVE MEASURES

  • If you’ve made pre-arrangements and bought burial plots, let family members know where the deeds or contracts to the plots are located.
  • The best way to prove ownership is with the proper documentation, whether that’s a contract or deed. Keep those records in an easily accessible place.
  • If you own cemetery spaces, especially those purchased a while back or ones you inherited, contact the cemetery to confirm the lot locations and see whether the plots still show you as the owner. If necessary, physically look at the plot to make sure it is still yours and is not occupied.
  • If you inherited plots, contact the cemetery to let it know about the change in ownership.
  • If you move, give the cemetery your new address so you can be notified in case there is a change in ownership at the cemetery or new procedures and policies are put in place.
  • Make sure the cemetery has updated records of who owns the burial rights and how they can be contacted.

 

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR PLOT HAS BEEN RESOLD

  • Ask the cemetery how it will rectify the problem. The usual solution is to offer similar spaces, without any cost to you.
  • If you’re unable to work out a solution, you should be able to get proper compensation. Most cemeteries have their own liability insurance to cover such situations.
  • If you’re unable to work out an agreement with the cemetery or its insurer, contact the state agency that oversees cemetery matters. In Georgia, it’s the Georgia Board of Cemeterians, which oversees such complaints, or the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, which oversees all matters related to cemeteries and funeral homes. Contact the cemeterian board’s Professional Licensing Division in Macon at 478-207-2440 or the Secretary of State’s Office at 404-656-2881 or log on to www.sos.ga.gov.
  • If that doesn’t work, call Bob Fells at the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association at 1-800 645-7700.
  • As a last resort, you may have to hire an attorney.

 

Source: The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association

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