A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

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Latest post Wed, Aug 24 2016 10:07 AM by DanWard. 13 replies.
  • Fri, Apr 8 2016 8:40 AM

    • DanWard
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    A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    Is this the right forum to ask a question about burial plot deeds and related issues?

    If not tell me to proper forum.

  • Fri, Apr 8 2016 12:26 PM In reply to

    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    This is as good a place as any. Keep it here since you already started the thread. It'll keep going to the top of the active list whenever there's a reply and everybody will see it.

    In anticipation of the discussion I'll tell you that (generally) you don't actually "buy" the burial plot, you buy the use of the plot.

    The contract (also generally) provides that, if you decide you don't want it anymore, you have to sell it back to the cemetary for a fraction of what you paid for it. You don't get to put it on Craigslist and sell it to whoever answers the ad. :-)

    So, make sure you read and understand the contract before you buy.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Fri, Apr 8 2016 1:06 PM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    I won't use quotes since no one else has commented.

    a. Can the cemetery make up their own rules or are there laws to protect consumers? I found out today that someone I know quit their job at the local cemetery because, as a Christian, they did not think the actions of one office employee was ethical. Exactly what it was I do not know right now. This cemetery is owned by a large company 600+ miles away. I doubt they know what is going on down here, day to day. Do they have to go by laws in our state or the state where they are incorporated?

    b. Why are there so many plots for sell on Craigslist? Most include a vault. The cemeteries they bought from already made their money from the plot and vault sale way back when.

    c. My parent bought two plots in their name and somehow the cemetery acquired the will. They say the will left the two plots to two of the kids. Of course the parent was buried in one of these leaving the other one co-owned. I have a photo copy of what looks like the deed, and it is stamped with a cemetery stamp that resembles a round notary stamp. One child wants their name off of it since they have their own plot in the same cemetery and they are told there is a processing fee to remove their name. We thought, and I thought, that we co-owned the plot and could sell or give away to another family member. Is this fee standard?

    d. I did not have a copy of the contract. What happens if the cemetery refuses to give me one since my name will be the only one on the deed (which is not really a deed)?

    e. The other child has explored selling theirs but they have only verbally agreed that they won't sell it on Craigslist. That leaves them the Facebook page for the cemetery where people are selling plots, as well as other relatives who might want to buy it, or the local paper and other sale outlets beside Craigslist.

    f. Once this processing fee is paid and the second name removed, who holds the official, one and only one, deed / document? I assumed it was like a title to anything. The person named holds it and it is presented at the time of death so that person can be buried there.

    g. They might make more money if they let us sell a plot that was going to sit vacant. If I leave it vacant for whatever reason they lose the sale of vault, marker, etc. If I could sell it they do not lose those sales items.

    h. Can the cemetery force us to buy a vault in the case of cremation. They are already forcing us to buy our vault from them and only use the markers that they sell.

    If one of the questions is stated unclearly, then sorry. I may have an intent that is not clearly stated.

  • Fri, Apr 8 2016 1:49 PM In reply to

    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    DanWard:
    Can the cemetery make up their own rules or are there laws to protect consumers?

    South Carolina has two statutes regarding cemetaries:

    Chapter 43 of Title 27:

    http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t27c043.php

    Chapter 8 of Title 40:

    http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t40c008.php

    I'll leave it up to you to read them and glean what you can from them.

    DanWard:
    Do they have to go by laws in our state or the state where they are incorporated?

    The have to obey the laws of the state in which they operate the facility. But that's true of any business that operates in a state in which the corporate HQ is not located.

    DanWard:
    Why are there so many plots for sell on Craigslist? Most include a vault. The cemeteries they bought from already made their money from the plot and vault sale way back when.

    I can only guess that the plots were legally conveyable by deed, or the conveying of the use of the plot allowed by the cemetary, or maybe there are just lots of scammers on CL in South Carolina. You'd have to examine each ad and verify whether or not the interest in the plot can be legitimately sold.

    DanWard:
    My parent bought two plots in their name and somehow the cemetery acquired the will. They say the will left the two plots to two of the kids. Of course the parent was buried in one of these leaving the other one co-owned. I have a photo copy of what looks like the deed, and it is stamped with a cemetery stamp that resembles a round notary stamp. One child wants their name off of it since they have their own plot in the same cemetery and they are told there is a processing fee to remove their name. We thought, and I thought, that we co-owned the plot and could sell or give away to another family member. Is this fee standard?

    I imagine that the fee is for the processing of whatever internal paperwork is necessary to change the records. I looked at a few CL ads here in AZ and many also mention a transfer fee charged by the cemetary.Wouldn't surprise me that a transfer fee is a standard practice wherever transfers are allowed.

    DanWard:
    .I did not have a copy of the contract. What happens if the cemetery refuses to give me one since my name will be the only one on the deed (which is not really a deed)?

    I have no clue. Why not just go to the cemetary and ask for a copy rather than anticipating trouble where there might not be any?

    DanWard:
    The other child has explored selling theirs but they have only verbally agreed that they won't sell it on Craigslist. That leaves them the Facebook page for the cemetery where people are selling plots, as well as other relatives who might want to buy it, or the local paper and other sale outlets beside Craigslist.

    There's no question in there but I'm sure you're aware that an agreement not to do something is not enforceable. I can't imagine why CL would be an issue. You can just as easliy end up with a low-life next to you for eternity no matter how you advertise it.

    DanWard:
    Once this processing fee is paid and the second name removed, who holds the official, one and only one, deed / document? I assumed it was like a title to anything. The person named holds it

    That would be my guess. Like anything "owned" by anybody, the person who owns it should be the one possessing documentation of ownership.

    DanWard:
    They might make more money if they let us sell a plot that was going to sit vacant. If I leave it vacant for whatever reason they lose the sale of vault, marker, etc. If I could sell it they do not lose those sales items.

    That doesn't make sense. You've already implied that you CAN sell it so the question of somebody not letting you sell it seems a bit strange. Besides, whoever buys it might still have a lot of years left before they need to occupy it.

    DanWard:
    Can the cemetery force us to buy a vault in the case of cremation. They are already forcing us to buy our vault from them and only use the markers that they sell.

    That depends on the laws (which I am not going to take the time to read), and the cemetaries policies (as long as they are not prohibited by law).

    DanWard:
    If one of the questions is stated unclearly, then sorry. I may have an intent that is not clearly stated.

    No problem.

    The statutes might clear up a lot for you between now and your next post.

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Fri, Apr 8 2016 3:08 PM In reply to

    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    adjuster jack:
    There's no question in there but I'm sure you're aware that an agreement not to do something is not enforceable.

    Not correct. A contract in which one party has agreed to refrain from doing something are indeed enforceable. Such contracts are entered into every day. For just one example, consider contracts in which a party agrees not to reveal trade secrets, terms of a settlement, or some other information that the other party wishes to keep confidential. An contract not to sell some particular item may also be enforceable. As always, the details of the particular agreement and the applicable state law matter. If the agreement does not rise to the level of the contract or there is something about the terms that are objectionable under the law (e.g. violates public policy, etc) then of course it may not be enforceable. But your general statement that agreements not to do something are enforceable is clearly wrong. Certainly some are enforceable.

  • Fri, Apr 8 2016 3:15 PM In reply to

    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    Let's start by emphasizing that the comments made by adjuster jack may or may not be true in any given situation or any particular state.

     

    DanWard:
    Can the cemetery make up their own rules

    Yes.

     

    DanWard:
    are there laws to protect consumers?

    Yes.

     

    DanWard:
    Do[es] [the corporation that owns the cemetery where your friend used to work] have to go by laws in our state or the state where they are incorporated?

    Any operations in your state are subject to the laws of your state, regardless of the laws in the corporation's state of incorporation or the state where its principal place of business is located.

     

    DanWard:
    My parent bought two plots in their name and somehow the cemetery acquired the will. They say the will left the two plots to two of the kids.

    Who are "they"?  Your parents?  Or some persons who work for the cemetery?

     

    DanWard:
    I did not have a copy of the contract. What happens if the cemetery refuses to give me one since my name will be the only one on the deed (which is not really a deed)?

    There's no way for anyone here to anticipate what might happen under the hypothetical circumstances you described based on the vague facts provided.

     

    DanWard:
    Once this processing fee is paid and the second name removed, who holds the official, one and only one, deed / document?

    Logic dictates that all persons involved should have a copy.

     

    DanWard:
    Can the cemetery force us to buy a vault in the case of cremation.

    Depends on who does the cremation and what is done with the "ashes."  If the cemetery has a crematorium, it could refuse to do the cremation unless you also buy a vault, although that seems awfully unlikely since some folks keep the ashes in their homes.

  • Fri, Apr 8 2016 5:16 PM In reply to

    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    Taxagent:

    adjuster jack:
    There's no question in there but I'm sure you're aware that an agreement not to do something is not enforceable.

    Not correct. A contract in which one party has agreed to refrain from doing something are indeed enforceable.

    OK. I should have written that the agreement by the relative not to sell the plot on Craigslist is not likely to be enforceable.

    Taxagent:
    But your general statement that agreements not to do something are enforceable is clearly wrong

    Seems to be a word missing in there. :-)

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Tue, Apr 12 2016 10:05 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    Cemetery says that a plot was willed to kids and co-owned.

    Here is all we see in the will:  section VII - residue disposition to be the section that says everything other than personal and household effects should be acquired by both. No other info ( outside the will) relating to the plot.

    Does that mean the plot was co-inherited or is the cemetery trying to get a processing fee to leave the plot in one person's name?

  • Tue, Apr 12 2016 1:19 PM In reply to

    • DOCAR
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    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    If no other provison of the will deals with the cemetary plots, then they pass under the terms of the residuary clause. That is the purpose of the residary clause to take care of everything not passing specifically under the will.  So the plot is co-owned under the terms of the will.

  • Tue, Apr 12 2016 10:28 PM In reply to

    • wrabbit
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    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    I don't see the point of going to the trouble and expense of having the name removed. Is it causing trouble in some way? Or costing something, upkeep perhaps? It is not like having both names on there means that both of you have to share a bed when the time comes.

  • Wed, Apr 13 2016 6:30 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    wrabbit:

    I don't see the point of going to the trouble and expense of having the name removed. Is it causing trouble in some way? Or costing something, upkeep perhaps? It is not like having both names on there means that both of you have to share a bed when the time comes.

    If it is co-owned then for person A to be buried there person B has to sign a form. That form to be signed could encounter long delays due to where person B lives. While the cemetery waits the deceased person A can not be buried in the co-owned plot. That is the story given to us by the cemetery and person B believes them and we are going to share the cost of the $95 processing fee. This cemetery is private and can do anything they want as well as raising prices. For those who have relatives buried there and want to be buried near their relatives, they are forced to pay the higher prices or be buried in another cemetery. In this case our city has a real nice cemetery outside the city limits but parent chose the one that is privately owned. They make the rules and set their own prices.

  • Wed, Apr 13 2016 6:37 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to ...

    Is it common for someone who has bought plots for themselves and others to give the cemetery a copy of their will?

    They have our parents will and the parent died 5 years ago. They wait 5 years to tell us that there is a possible issue with a co-owned plot. I asked sibling how they got the will and was told "parent must have given them a copy." We're talking about a co-owned plot that was boguht for $300. So half of that is $150. I am skeptical of why the parent left the plot co-owned since they knew 100% that my sibling already had their own plot. Trying to divide every last thing they owned all the way down to a $300 plot seems curious to me. As it turns out it was the lowest valued item (the plot) they owned. I know they wanted to be fair and divide everything but to be succesful in dividing everything exept for a $150 half of a plot would not have caused my sibling to cry foul.

  • Thu, Aug 4 2016 12:31 PM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

     

    In anticipation of the discussion I'll tell you that (generally) you don't actually "buy" the burial plot, you buy the use of the plot.

    The contract (also generally) provides that, if you decide you don't want it anymore, you have to sell it back to the cemetary for a fraction of what you paid for it. You don't get to put it on Craigslist and sell it to whoever answers the ad. :-)

    So, make sure you read and understand the contract before you buy.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I read the state statutes and did not see anything that explains the lack of clarity on this issue.

    I'll start over with the latest developments. We paid the $95 to have name #2 taken off the deed leaving #1 as the deed holder. The original deed not a copy will be received in 3-4 weeks. They say they will keep a copy and we'll have the official and real copy.

    So now what. we're both sitting there and I wanted a copy of the contract / agreement terms, and I was told they can not give me one because I never bought anything. They offered to sell me a plot right there. 

    The plots 1-2 were bought by parent. Plots 3-4 were also bought by parent but put in the name of the other child. If we co inheritted the plot why didn't we inherit a copy of the contract? I wanted to read every word of it to see the terms.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The issue is what can I do with the right to use the plot. The cemetery person (pushy sales person to be more accurate who takes advanatage of grieving families) told me that I can give my plot to anyone I want, I can sell to anyone for any amount and the cemetery does not buy plots from people who won't use them.

    This sell or give to anyone at any price is curious if not suspicious. Why would they be so free on letting me do what I want with the plot? 

     

  • Wed, Aug 24 2016 10:07 AM In reply to

    • DanWard
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    Re: A question about burial plot deeds & laws pertaining to them

    Too bad that when someone does not like a question, they hide and ignore. 

    The state office that handles burial and cemetery laws was all ears wanting to talk on the phone to be off the record.

    We prefered an e-mail to explain the matter clearly.

    ------------------

    Hi, The cemetery had sold plots to parent many years ago........ So, we all meet and do the paperwork to get the deed in one person's name, and the deed is supposed to reach me in 3-4 weeks and I'm told I will have the orginal not some copy. I asked for a copy of the contract or the agreement with the terms. They told me they could not give that to me because I had not bought anything. It would not be difficult to just hand me a current blank contract for a plot or give me a copy of a blank contract. I wanted to read the contract and terms. I was advised to read the contract to have my questions answered. I asked a forum lawyer what happens if they won't give me a copy of the contract and they said, wait until that happens. It has. What are the rules in S.C. as far as plot contracts and what can a person do with a plot that they will not be using? Thanks,

     

    No reply almost a week.  What is this person or this agency hiding? ..........Maybe the receive $$ from the cemteries. We should have a right to see the terms of the plots and what we can and can not do with them.

     

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