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Cemeteries

Title And Rights Of Owners Of Plots, Grounds, Or Graves

The purchaser of a plot in a cemetery is generally regarded as having obtained only a limited property right. He or she acquires a privilege, EASEMENT, or license to make burials in the purchased plot, exclusive of all other people, provided that the land remains a cemetery.

The plot owner's interest is a property right entitled to protection from invasion and the title is a legal estate. The owner's rights are subject to the police power of the state as well as the rules of the cemetery and any restrictions made in the contract of sale.

A cemetery corporation may cancel the contract of sale of a plot where regulations of the corporation that are part of the contract are violated by the sale due to a MISTAKE OF FACT.A purchaser may, in turn, rescind the contract where substantial misrepresentations have been made by the corporation.

Plot holders cannot be prevented by cemetery owners from erecting markers, entering the grounds, or interring family members in the plots they own. If a plot owner dies intestate, the rights to the plot pass to the heirs in the same manner that PERSONAL PROPERTY passes in the absence of a will. A gravestone or marker is the personal property of the person who places it near a grave and its ownership is passed to this person's heirs.

ABANDONMENT is the only way in which the use of land as a cemetery may cease. It takes place either by removal of all the interred bodies or by neglect to such a degree that the property is no longer identifiable as a cemetery. The removal of bodies may be ordered by public authorities when necessitated by the public health. The owner of a cemetery may opt to discontinue the sale of plots as initially planned, but permission to do so from government officials might be a prerequisite.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Robert Lee Carter - Further Readings to Child MolestationCemeteries - Establishment And Regulation, Location, Title And Rights Of Owners Of Plots, Grounds, Or Graves