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Funerals/title transfer of deceased parents cemetery plots

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Question
My father left me his paper work on two plots he purchased in 1963 for my mother and father... they divorced and both have died and I have the death certificates on both of them... we never transfer the title on the deed now my four sisters what to sell them no one what's to use them... do we have to pay to transfer the title now and when we sell them... the Mortuary said they have to be in our names or one of our names and we will be charged a $200.00 transfer fee for each plot to the new owners... they the memorial park does not buy back... what is the cheapest way to sell them... I'am trying to get the best way for us to do this???

Answer
Hi Jeri,

In this case, the cheapest way is the probably the most efficient way:

1) Identify what you have to do before you can sell (you've started this, however as far as I know, whoever inherited the deed has control of the interment right and if the Mortuary is telling you that you have to transfer the title into your name first in order to sell the plots, I'd call the mortuary and cemetery board in your state to confirm this. Get the mortuary to put the process in writing for you first; go to the Board to verify what they say is true. It seems unlikely that you'd have to pay a transfer fee upon inheritance and then again upon sale)

2) Identify the costs of sale (the cemetery business - owned by the Mortuary, in your case? - will tell you their costs, and there's no getting around those cheaply. Additional costs might be advertising, paying a service to list the plots for sale, identify who in the family is going to answer all the questions, etc.). Make an agreement with the family who's going to do the work and who's going to get the money.

3) Advertise to sell in whatever ways you can. Selling a plot (an interment right) is a lot like selling a used car or anything else you might have! Find out what the going rates for the plots are. Know what's included with the plot so you can talk about it. Get a copy of the cemetery's current policy and contract so you've got those to share, too. Take some pictures of the views from the plots and of the plots. Post on Craigslist and other places - search the internet for places where you can sell. Remember, you're most likely to sell to local folks, so consider that, as well - how about flyers in the post office or at the senior centers? You can also look for gravestones located next to the ones you're currently selling and see if you can find local family members who might be interested. And you should definitely make a flyer and give one or two to the cemetery and the pre-need salespeople; they can still sell the merchandise and services and might like to know that your plots were available.

Hope that helps!

Cynthia

Funerals

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Cynthia Beal

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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.

Experience

Natural burial and sustainable cemetery management experience: I'm the founder of the Natural Burial Company and a member of the Sustainable Cemetery Management Group. Over 25 years in the natural products industry, and 9 years running the Natural Burial Company. 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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
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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