As part of the estate planning process, many of us consider purchasing a burial plot in order to help ease our families with making difficult decisions regarding final disposition. Some of us already have burial plots that have been passed down through the generations as our grandparents bought plots for the entire family. However, situations such as divorce, family disputes, changes in religious beliefs, relocations or other life events may affect whether the previously purchased plot is still desirable. If you would like to dispose of a cemetery plot, there are various options that may be available.
First, state laws should be reviewed to determine whether it is lawful to sell the plot. Sale or transfer of a plot varies greatly depending on the jurisdiction. Also, there may be state agencies that regulate cemetery oversight and plot transfers. Second, it is necessary to examine whether the individual cemetery where ownership is held has specific requirements that must be met in order to successfully transfer the plot. Finally, it is best to understand the market in which you plan to sell. The areas deemed to net the best return is where there is a high retirement population, such as California, Florida, Arizona and Texas. Also, you can search online for a particular locale to see if there are existing advertisements. If an area is flooded with cemetery notices, then the inventory will remain high, decreasing the likelihood for a profitable sale.
Once you determine the best method to transfer, you should then contact the cemetery to find out the process to complete the transaction. Generally, the cemetery sexton, or manager, will be able to advise on the necessary requirements. Some plots may have deeds while others may have contracts to reflect the actual ownership. The cemetery may allow a buyback of the plot, whereby it will purchase it back from the owner. While the cemetery is not required to buy back a plot, it may be the best option in order to get rid it. The price will be dictated by factors such as the demand of the public for burial a particular cemetery or the fair market value.
Other options include selling the plot online through Craigslist or eBay, or working through a brokerage service. There may be transfer costs or recording fees, but are typically necessary to obtain a profit. Finally, you may be able to see if the plot can be donated back to the cemetery or to a church, if you are interested in a no consideration transfer. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can advise you how to handle the ownership of a burial plot as it affects your overall plan and the estate administration after you pass. Therefore, it is important to consider the pre-planning of your affairs, and to ensure that your plan evolves as your life changes.