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We want to double up cremation urns in some plots, but they say we will have to purchase additional interment rights (besides all the other charges for opening and closing sites, etc.). Could regulations have changed since we made the original purchase? Does anyone have experience with this? Thank you!

Sunny, I know this is complicated. One would think if they bought a cemetery plot that they own that piece of land. They don't.

The cemetery owns all the land within the cemetery and a client can purchase the rights to be buried. Were burial locations chosen back in 1973? Usually the cemetery would give the person who bought a location a document saying within what section and what plot number was purchased.

Sometimes were are mix-ups if no one comes forward for almost 50 years. The cemetery could have thought those plot locations had been abandoned, thus sold to some one else. You should be able to pick a new location within the cemetery.

As for burying the urns, that depends on State laws and the rules of the cemetery. Some cemeteries will allow one casket and one urn in one plot. And allow 2 urns in one plot. Some allow only one name per plot.

Some cemeteries have a special metal box container that can be purchased just for urns. These metal box containers remind me of the wall of mail boxes in an office building. These are less expensive than a regular cemetery plot.

Yes, there will be fees for "opening and closing" the plots, normally there is a separate "grave digging" company who does this work, separate from the cemetery. The cemetery will do all the logistics involved.

Hope everything works out.
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worriedinCali May 14, 2019
Around here, there isn’t a separate “grave digging” company. It’s done by the cemetery......they have all the equipment and staff on site.
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You should have deeds. If so, hen they have to give you the same number a plots. I had a friend that went to see his lots and someone else was buried in them.

Yes, you have to pay to have any grave opened. Used to be they would allow a cremated person to buried in the plot of a relative. But with more people opting for cremation, those laws have changed.
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Sunny

The death industry is in transition but laws are fairly stable.
It is true that you don’t *own* the property. You own the right to inter someone on the property. This isn’t new.
Read the Deed you purchased. It should explain what you are buying. Look up your specific state laws. Understand that cooperate owned cemeteries might have different rules than private or church cemeteries.
For instance, some cemeteries require flat markers (for ease in maintenance) while others allow an assortment of styles.
Also know that not every employee knows the rules. There is a high turnover in many cases while in small towns you might find an employee has been there for many years. Also large corporations will buy out a private cemetery, not change the name on the building but change the method of operation. You might still find the old empkoyee there only now they will be badmouthing the new rules.

If it turns out your lot is in a cemetery owned by a corporation, call the headquarters and discuss your situation. They will most likely honor the terms of any contract (as they have to). Just google your cemetery and check their website.
The person managing the cemetery may not have the authority to make any concessions that only the corporation can.

So just know that there are state laws, possibly additional county or city requirements and individual cemetery requirements to consider that might not have been discussed at the time of your purchase, not necessarily a new rule or law.

These type questions come up from time to time so you can do a search on this site as well to see issues others have experienced.
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This is interesting. In New Orleans we purchase family plots. Everyone can be buried in the plots forever!

There is a fee for opening the plot, which the cemetery does here. I called not long ago and it’s about $2000 but she would not allow it to be prepaid. She also said the price can go up at anytime.
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Sadgirl59 May 17, 2019
Exactly! My mother in law bought five plots and we have buried four. No hassles.
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I think you misunderstood what you bought back in 1973. It sounds like you bought 3 burial plots/interment rights. That means you bought the right to bury ONE person in each plot. If you are now trying to double up cremation urns, you do in fact have to buy an internment right for each set of remains.
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sunnydayclouds May 18, 2019
But, somehow, they want no less than $6000 dollars from us. That doesn’t seem in line which prices other people are mentioning.
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this is what I went through with my mom. First my paternal grandma bought four plots together. One for grandpa, he died when dad was 3. One for herself, then one for my dad and one for dads wife. Mom was the only one cremated. When we were preparing for moms funeral ( she had ALZ) we asked the cemetery office if mom could be placed on top of dad as they only require 3 feet, not 6 feet. They said yes and it would be $400. We thought great. My brother could have the 4th plot because he lived in California, and was close to the cemetery and I lived out of state. Well, when we received moms cremains, we were told that it would cost us $800 to put her on top on dad or we could put her in the plot next to him for $400. We were upset but due to monies, we put her next to dad. In a 3” hole. We tried to make arrangements for my brother to put him above mom but they said laws could change and prices too. (this was in 2007) So when the time comes, I will deal with that. In my opinion it seems to be all about the money. So sad.
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I am thankful you posted this because I am just cremating with no plots. My father's ashes remain in a cigar box ($30 on sale) which looks better than the one the funeral home tried to push on me ($1,000 for a small box). His ashes are in a china cabinet at home and there is where it stays.

Funerals are a rip off.
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Isabelsdaughter May 19, 2019
Great idea, Problem solved. And yes, funerals and cemeteries are a big rip off.
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Do you have your original contract? - look for it as they may be unaware of what it originally said but going on what is happening now - an online check of any change to the law since you bought it should have a 'grandfather' clause

FYI my great-great grandfather bought a 1/2 section in 1853 - there are 20 in it now - we have to comply with their regulations now but we OWN it outright
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sunnydayclouds May 18, 2019
No, unfortunately we haven’t located the original contract. My step sister is handling this so I don’t have all the details. She can’t find a record at the courthouse. There is a woman who works at the courthouse who used to work at the cemetery who says that they sold plots back then. Not interment rights. I know this sounds crazy, but I think my step sister said the cemetery told her that they keep the deeds. There’s too much to worry about without stressing over this, but thank you everyone for your helpful input!
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Years ago, my mother-in-law bought two plots for my husband's brothers. When they died, the funeral home charged $1500 just to bury their urns. My husband and I said we could have snuck back up there at night and done it for free!
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You should possess the deeds for the plots. Locate them.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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I am a POA for two people and fully paid for their funerals and burial sites. Then I read the tiny print. At the time of death, there are additional (unknown prices) for digging the ground up, etc. I was in shock but finally had to give the funeral a large sum of money now while it was still there to make sure everything was paid in full. It is a bad situation but funeral homes do not always tell you this and you are shocked when it happens.
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Ricky6 May 21, 2019
You are absolutely correct about the surprise costs after death,
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I recently bought a city cemetery lot, one fee, plus the interment fees for two cremains.
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Might be worth 1. finding the original paperwork or asking the cemetery to provide a copy and/or 2. checking with an elder law attorney and/or 3. The state attorney general office re funeral laws/rules.
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