Cemetery deeds across generations

JHZR2

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Anyone care to explain how that works? My understanding is that in Europe, often cemetery plots are only granted for a limited time, to the extent that without paying more for it, a plot that someone was put into in the 60s or 70s may have already been repurposed for another person. In the U.S., my experience has been that a plot is bought, and deeed. My grandfather died this year, and they went to the deed, looked at the plots, and decided where to put him. The space and number of spots was all deeded. But the question is really about cross-generations. A deeded plot gets filled. There are no more spots, or maybe there are. Do these become part of an estate, to be inherited and taxed? Does someone "own" unused cemetery plots that someone before them (eg whomever bought the family plot) purchased, that remain unused? The reason I'm asking Isnt because I'm looking for a burial plot. Rather im tracking down some ancestors, and we have found the cemetery. I've even found the stone. But I'd love to gain access to the deeds to see details. Not sure if once the plot is full, if it just belongs to the cemetery for care, or what. I'm assuming records from the 20s and 30s still exist... Thanks
 
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OT My grandpa worked as the town clerk in Canfield, OH, in 1940. He sold himself a cemetery plot in a city owned graveyard. He was bragging about this shortly before his death. We put him in it in 2009! Some Canfield Parks & Rec employees in city-uniform t-shirts and jeans lingered around the corner to run the backhoe after my family left. I'm unaware of the deceased having to ever pay taxes or maintenance.
 
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My father owned a grave site in which he was buried in IA. I am the oldest son and I paid ~$70 to have ownership transferred to me. The cemetery upkeep is paid by taxes in the County.
 
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Cemetery lots are not taxed for obvious reasons, (i.e., the dead are beyond the point of paying). The deal you make with the cemetery is basically an agreement of trust, (with legal strings attached - for an example of a breach of that trust, google "Hollywood Forever" cemetery out in lovely California). Unused lots can be inherited if they are included in the estate of the person who has died. If they have not been included, someone has to take it upon themselves at their own personal expense to petition the court to act as a representative of the estate to claim the lots. Once these lots have been claimed, heirs must be tracked down to determine how they are to be distributed and in what manner, (I'm currently working on this myself with my Grandmother's estate - she died in 1979 leaving six vacant but unassigned lots in her estate). An appeal to the court can also be made as to the assignment of these lots, which will then be sold and monies distributed accordingly. The grey area are "family cemeteries" and little out of the way, back in the wood "Church cemeteries." While most professional cemeteries have what is called "perpetual care," the care of smaller graveyards is often left to the whims of whatever group manages these areas. A good example is when I lived in Alabama. Every May, the community had "grave decoration day." Families would arrive and clean the graveyard, mow the grass, rake and clean, place flowers and generally spruce up the place to make it look nice. But there was no low requiring this, it was simply something that was done by tradition. Usually with small cemeteries, once family and friends either die off or move away, the graveyard falls into disrepair and neglect. But since it is a graveyard and contains human remains, it is protected by Federal law. Good luck in your search, I know from personal experience, it can be a real pain and very frustrating when other family members get involved thinking "big bucks" are in their future.
 

JHZR2

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The cemetery my grandfather is in, is in a family plot, deeded, a number of extra spots are there, etc. The ancestors (like great-great and 3x great grandparents) are also in cemeteries current use and overseen by someone active (a cemetery association, don't believe they have any relation to the state/county). I really just want to see the old deed documents and plot assignments, since one has a big main stone but no identification of who is laying where in the plot... But since I'm many generations distanced and don't have the same surname, not sure how much help they will be...
 

JHZR2

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Originally Posted By: LT4 Vette
Maybe your county Court of Clerk might helpful in finding out this info.
The cemeteries are actively managed and the data is there, they know and provide a map of exactly where the people are. I just want a bit more...
 

JHZR2

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Originally Posted By: GreeCguy
C Unused lots can be inherited if they are included in the estate of the person who has died. If they have not been included, someone has to take it upon themselves at their own personal expense to petition the court to act as a representative of the estate to claim the lots. Once these lots have been claimed, heirs must be tracked down to determine how they are to be distributed and in what manner, (I'm currently working on this myself with my Grandmother's estate - she died in 1979 leaving six vacant but unassigned lots in her estate). An appeal to the court can also be made as to the assignment of these lots, which will then be sold and monies distributed accordingly.
interesting. Thanks for that info. Im not looking to chase pilots or attempt to find some financial outcome from it. But thats a process if I need an avenue to seeing more info. Thanks!
 
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I would suggest as a first step checking out the will of those who have died. Once the individuals have died, wills become a matter of public record and can be viewed at that county courthouse. If the lots have been assigned in either a will or trust, then basically, the story ends there. If they have not been assigned in the will, they still belong to the estate and are in a kind of "limbo." Since they are not taxed, they cannot be "sold for taxes." But since they have not been claimed, they cannot be used. As far as tracking down "who is buried where," that depends on what kind of cemetery it is. If its a perpetual care deal, then they must, by law, keep very accurate records and can tell you precisely where everyone is located. If its an old Church graveyard or family plot, records are suppose to be kept. The problem however is that often times these records either become lost, misplaced or destroyed. And example would be the old cemetery where my great grandparents and old family members are buried from back in the 1800's. We know "about" where they are buried, but not exactly. My grandfather kept the records to this graveyard, but they were destroyed when his house burned down back in the 1920's. So now, who is buried where is a matter of oral tradition passed down from generation to generation. If you do decide to claim them, be aware that you must locate all the surviving heirs, (and heirs of heirs and heirs of heirs of heirs) as they will all have a "slice of the pie" so to speak. Depending on why you are claiming them, some will be more than happy to assign ownership over to you. Others however will see only dollar signs and complicate the process. In my situation, my Grandmother was heavily dedicated to her Church. That same Church has now stared a school and needs money to finish additional classrooms. I knew these lots existed and felt that Grandma would be more than happy to "donate" these lots to the Church who could them sell them and use the money for their new classrooms. So far, about 75 percent of the "heirs" have agreed with my plan, 25 percent, however, feel these lots are worth a fortune and want "their" money. Good luck in your search - it can be a very interesting journey.
 

JHZR2

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Im not trying to claim anything. I just want to be able to access all the records, which for something that was my 3x-great grandfather's with nothing but genealogy papers attaching me to, well, Im just not sure what the cemetery office will show...
 

dnewton3

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I can only speak for situations in IN, but I would guess other states are similar. Two differeent concepts to discuss: 1) who owns what plot 2) who cares for what When it comes to ownership, much of this depends upon where the plots are located, and what one can prove via paperwork or recorded entries at the County offices, etc. - Private cemeteries are required (and have been for many decades) to keep records of plot sales; also the purchaser gets a printed deed to a plot. These can indeed be passed from gen to gen via estate reconciliation, either in wills, trusts or probate court. - Plots in public cemeteries are controlled by the governmental entity that oversees such land; Federal, State, City, County, etc. They must follow the same record protocol as private cemeteries. These are awared or sold in limited terms; no rights succeed to the best of my understanding. When it comes to physical care of facilities, in IN, there are again private and public plots. And there is a hybrid situation. They are managed differently. - Any private entity that operates for proffit must establish an perpetual (eternal) care fund that will sustain the expected costs. So something like "Peacful Rest Cemetery" owned by some individual or LLC must establish an eternal fund to pay for upkeep of grounds, personnel, etc. That is part of the reason these plots cost so much; they have the enternal costs built in. - Public entities also must have care full funds established, but they are funded publically. This would be governmentally owned such as National Cemeteries, City cemeteries, etc. - The hybrid situation can even be split into active or passively managed concepts ... (NOTE - I am going to disucss churches here, but this is NOT an invitation to discuss religion; a no-no here on BITOG). Actively managed: A church cemetery that has available funds to be cared for by the church can be done as such. These funds comes from the church management from the offerings, etc. However, for active churches that do not have the money to pay for upkeep, they can defer the costs to the Township Trustee (an elected office in IN) to pay for services to maintain the grounds via property taxes he can levy; it is part of Indiana Code (law). I am the Predident of Board of Trustees of a very small church and we have a small cemetery as part of our platted land (our church was established in the 1860's; long before cemetery laws were established). We cannot afford the grounds upkeep, so the Township pays the maintenance costs. However, we still have sole control over the Cemetery and who gets burried there (again, by law). Our only obligation is to keep records of the plots and permission for burrial. Because we do not sell the plots for proffit, as a religious entity, we are not required to have an established perpetual care fund. Passively managed: And then there are those small cemeteries that no one or group has any managed control over any longer; these are all those little cemeteries that you see sitting at the roadside, in farm fields, etc. These, too, are cared for by the Township Trustee, but by law no new enternments can be made because there is no one to manage the records for plots, etc. These are cared for, but locked down in terms of no new burials. If ownership can be proven for any plot, then it can be passed in estates from gen to gen. However, if the platted land is unmanaged, then they are blocked; this type thing would be very limited and rare, IMO. .
 
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