Who owns my deceased sister’s headstone?

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Who owns my deceased sister’s headstone?

My sister died in 01/07 and her husband bought a headstone with both their names engraved on it. He later remarried and subsequently (a year ago) he also passed away. His new widow opted to not allow him to be buried next to my sister, then later had his name and info covered with a metal plate, permanently damaging the marker with holes drilled in it. His widow claimed that he owned my sister’s headstone and since she was his widow she inherited the headstone when he passed away. The DA has declined to prosecute and we (the family) need advice. Who has legal right to her headstone?

Asked on October 25, 2010 under Estate Planning, Kentucky

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your troubles here. This sounds like a horrible situation to be in.  Burial plots can be considered an asset and if your brother in law owned the asset it passed to his estate upon his death.  If his new wife inherited his estate (and if he did not Will the asset to another upon his death) then she may indeed be correct.  But the situation is really not the proper way to let things lie. Have you considered negotiating with her to purchase the headstone and the plot?  It may be a better way to deal with the matter.  Defacing the headstone seems like a horrible thing to do but there is no accounting for manners in this world.  Good luck.  


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