Do I have legal rights to my family burial plot?

UPDATED: May 30, 2012

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Do I have legal rights to my family burial plot?

My mother bought a family burial plot in the 1950’s. I am the only surviving daughter/sibling. When my sister died my nephew had the stone removed saying it was being cleaned but when it was returned he had his surname added to the front, with our family name, making it look like he owned it. For years I have always taken care of the plot they never did. Now when I plant flowers my nephew removes them and plants what he wants there. Do I have legal rights to be buried there now if he has the deed? Can I will this to my children? Can I have his name removed from the front of the stone? I am 80 years old

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The laws of all states with respect to aparticular burial plot lies with the holder of the deed to the land. If you are not on title to the deed to a particular family plot, then you have no legal rights to it as far as burial.

As to a plot where a family member is buried as to any dispute over planting and the like, the deed lies most likely with the person who was buried in the plot. The best way to resolve the planting and stone issue is to contact the company that maintains the cemetary for guidance on the issue. Under the laws of all states, most perpetual care cemetaries have funds held in trust to maintain the site. You should also consider consulting with an attorney experienced with the laws pertaining to cemetaries and their maintenance.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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