Funerals/grave plot


Mother passed away. Four sisters in family, one is the power of attorney.  Can the sister who is power of attorney keep the other sisters from putting a marker on the grave  In other words, who owns the plot?
Thank you.

Hi Barbara,

The details of plot ownership and the subsequent control of the rights is best answered by the cemetery where the grave has been purchased (I'm assuming the grave is already purchased?). The first place to start with your question about who can install a marker is at the cemetery itself.

There are different types of 'power of attorney', and those are different from the executor of the estate - each has a limited area of things that they can act upon, and a timeframe in which to do it. There's often a power of attorney associated with medical issues, and that can sometimes extend through the final disposition (the actual burial or cremation), but usually ends at the moment of death. Since the person who's died no longer exists, the POA may have expired. It depends on what sort of instructions were left regarding disposition.

Here's a good article from Pennsylvania Extension on end of life planning in Pennsylvania. --- it helps explain the Health Care Power of Attorney and what it does and does not do.

It's unclear from your question whether or not the sister is currently blocking the desire of the others to supply a marker, but cemeteries are used to dealing with disagreements in this area so again, your best resource is the cemetery.  I'd be curious to know if one of the sisters was able to block the installation of a memorial there so post a follow-up if that turns out to be the case.




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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.

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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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