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Can a Cemetery move a body for non-payment of the opening and closing of a grave?

Richmond, IN |

My sister passed away suddenly last year in Indiana, she did not have burial insurance. A family friend donated their plot for my sister. My sisters two grown children made arrangements to make payment for the opening and closing of the grave. Apparently they have not been making payments. I live in Oklahoma, my Mother called and told me the cemetery is threatening to dig up and move my sister for non-payment. I emailed them and ask if they had the legal right to do that. They emailed me back and said, they do. My question is, if the plot is payed for, can the cemetery move my sister for non-payment of the opening and closing of the grave?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. What does it say in the funeral contract? What are the cemeteries rights in the event of a breach of contract? While this sounds like a repulsive practice, the cemetery really has very little leverage in a case like this, where they have already provided all services. They deserve to be paid for their services, just like anyone else.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.


  2. I encourage your family to decide which of you is going to deal with this and then proactively work with cemetery. They may be responsive to payment arrangements and working this out, rather than expending additional time. It is important to remain in communication and pay as agreed.

    I am licensed in Wyoming only. The legal analysis of any situation depends on a variety of factors which cannot be properly represented or accounted for on a web page. The information is intended as general information only, and is not intended to serve as legal advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. If you have a question about a specific factual situation, you should contact an attorney directly.

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