What types of documents would I need in order to prove lineage?

I am in possession of a cemetery plot that once belonged to my grandmother (my mother’s mother). My mother passed away 11 years ago and I was executor of her estate; however, no mention was made of the cemetery plot in her living trust. I recently came across the cemetery plot deed while going through some of her old possessions. I called the cemetery and they advised that I should retain a cemetery plot broker to handle the sale. I then called a broker and they advised that I needed to prove lineage to my grandmother in order to list the plot.

Asked on October 10, 2014 under Estate Planning, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You said that the cemetery plot "once belonged to your grandmother."  In whose name is the plot now?  IF the plot was in the name of your grandmother then showing her descendants would be the first step.  You can ask the Cemetery if they will accept an Affidavit of Heirship, where some one other than a family member (but close to your Family) can explain the lineage by swearing to it in an affidavit. There are other records that may be helpful, like church records, Bible entries or any documentation showing a listing of lineage. Something as simple as a school record showing parentage might be a plus.  And while none of these maybe "legal" proof alone, together one can assume that in the totality they prove more than disprove.  Good luck.

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