How to determine the ownership of cemetery lots?

My mom and dad bought some cemetery lots; they were in both their names. My parents divorced and my dad remarried and had 3 other children. He did not change the names of the lots so they are still in my mom’s and dad’s names. My dad died 20 years ago but he was not buried there. He had no Will and the graves were not included in his estate when he died. Now my mom is getting old and the other 3 children are saying they want to sell the lots because they are theirs too. My mom says they are hers only since my dad died and his other children have nothing to do with them. So who is the legal owner of these lots? What does any child have anything to do with them if my Mom is still living if they are hers? The cemetery says if she wants to do any thing with them as far as changing ownership, she has to have the children sign-off on them giving permission. Why and what children?

Asked on June 11, 2012 under Estate Planning, Georgia


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Without knowing how the property is listed, a definitive answer cannot be given. At least your mother's lot is not up to these other children. Your mother is in privity of contract with the cemetary, not children who are the product of another marriage. If your parents owned these as tenants in common, then arguably only your father's may be up for grabs unless the contract doesn't allow for separation of the lots. You should review the contract and speak with an estate attorney or consult with the state attorney general about your rights.

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