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Funerals/private cemetery certificates


We have created a non-profit family cemetery in a rural area.  When a plot is sold, what kind of documentation or "certificate" is necessary to give to the purchaser?  If possible, can I get a sample?

Thank you in advance for your response.


Hi Laurie,

Cemetery rights are generally transferred VIA a deed, just like other rights are. You should do some solid research here - talk to other cemeteries in your county and see what they do. You can visit some of the local Churchyard or Pioneer cemeteries and they'll probably help you out.

Because cemetery laws vary from State to State, and County to County, you're best sticking close to home for models with the basics. This is definitely a question for the county, just in case. They may actually have some old deeds recorded, and if money changes hands you'll want to find out if they need to know.

It's good that you're going to spell things out in writing - families don't always do that, and that can make things tricky down the road.

There is no cemetery board in Utah. Here's the State code that's easy to find online:

I recommend getting the book Final Rights by Lisa Carlson and Josh Slocum. There's a little bit of info on each state, and a good third of the book is general information that you'll find helpful. They say: "there is no statutory protection for pre-need cemetery transactions. Therefore, money you spend for vaults, markers, and cemetery services may be spent by the cemetery right away. If you later change your mind, or if the cemetery goes out of business, you're out of luck."

Utah has extremely lax laws regarding cemeteries. Consequently, while you have a lot of freedom, you also don't get very good guidance about what could and couldn't go wrong, especially with a family cemetery. So, the best thing is to talk to everyone you can in your area, make good friends, and take care of each other.

Good luck!



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Cynthia Beal


Typical questions include 1) Where can I go for a natural burial? 2) What types of coffins, urns and other "packaging" are best for natural decomposition? 3)How do I plan for a natural funeral? 4) Do I have to be embalmed? and other questions in this vein. I'm available to answer general consumer questions about natural burial, home and natural funerals, and sustainable cemetery management. I answer questions about general cemetery matters, and offer suggestions about how to deal with remains, cremated or buried, interment rights, rules for cemeteries and plot owners, covering conventional as well as alternative options. I also answer questions from professionals, home funeral guides, and family members about how to manage a natural funeral either in the mortuary or at the home, how to best use natural coffins and urns, and how to convert cemeteries to natural, sustainable practices. I will answer questions from volunteer cemetery managers about how to offer natural burial in their rural, Pioneer, or non-profit cemeteries. If I don't know an answer I'll refer the questioner to someone who does. DISCLAIMER -- I am a certified pre-need sales person in the State of Oregon. I am not a licensed attorney, tax adviser, estate planner, funeral director, embalmer, accountant, public official, or any other professional that may be associated with issues the question brings up and any answers I provide should not be relied upon if such expertise is required by the asker (as per the All Expert suggestion). I provide my own personal opinions, based on my experience in business, Nature and its systems, and with human beings after 55 years of life on the planet.


Natural burial and sustainable cemetery management experience: I'm the founder of the Natural Burial Company and a member of the Cemetery Association of Oregon. Over 25 years in the natural products industry, and over a decade of running the Natural Burial Company, founded in 2004. I've done some consulting for existing and start-up natural cemetery operations. I'm currently an instructor at Oregon State University, facilitating the creation of a program in sustainable cemetery management and stimulating research in cemetery-oriented processes and functions, and I own two historic cemeteries the feature natural burial, based in Oregon.

ICCFA - International Cemetery, Crematory and Funeral Association Green Business Network Funeral Consumers Alliance

American Cemetery Magazine; Funeral Business Advisor; Real Goods Source Book; American Funeral Director Magazine, etc.

There is no degree in natural burials or funerals, and no accredited education provided for sustainable cemetery management. We're developing a program at Oregon State University but it hasn't fully launched yet.

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