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Funerals/ownership of plot and right to bury


My dads family purchased a plot in Massachusetts in 1892. The owners were two women with a different last name than my dad's family, but we suspect they are all related because they are buried there along with my dad's family. Since this was 100 years ago, I don't know what the relationship of the owners were to our family. I have the deed but the cemetery  still won't let me bury my dad there unless I can tell them what the relationship was between him and the original owners.

Should I just make something up? Is this a legal request since I have the deed? They say its state law that I tell them or they can't open the plot.

There is nobody left in the family, alive, that knows who these original purchasers were. We suspect they were cousins on my dad's side of the family.

Ask to see the law. I know of no such law. And the fact that you have the deed is clearly on your side. You could make up something like cousins which might actually be true or tell them they were your grandfather's mistresses. LOL

Did you try searching on the Internet? I wonder if the death certificates or birth certificates of either would help?

You could also threaten to report the cemetery to the Probate Court for interferring with a deed-owner's burial. How did you get the deed, by the way?


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Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

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