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Who owns a cemetery plot when a person dies and leaves one of the siblings as beneficiary of that policy

Richmond, TX |

Both siblings are were named co executors on the will that was never probated because Sibling 1 would not give sibling 2 the original will . Sibling 2 purchased a headstone and slab for the grave with their own money . Sibling 1 is angry because , this should have done this through the insurance policy & is threatening to sue the memorial place and sibling 2 . Sibling 1 states that permission was not given to put headstone or slab down because he is owner . . It has been over 10 years since the death . Sibling 1 never complained about the slab that was put down immediately after the death but is complaining about the headstone . Can he sue Sibling 2 or the memorial company and prevail ? Although Sibling 1 is the beneficiary , this is also Sibling 2's mother as well , what are Sibling 2's rights ?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    Ownership of the plot would determine who controls what monument or cover is used for the grave. If sibling 1 truly purchased and owns the plot then that sibling would not have to sue anyone to have the headstone removed. They simply inform the cemetery corporation that they wish to have it removed and replaced. I do not see grounds for a law suit since 1. they have no damages and 2. they can easily cure the problem.

    Whether or not someone is the beneficiary of an insurance policy or named in a Will is not ordinarily anything that would affect the cemetery plot or burial. The Will may have given the executor or executors the authority to pay for the burial from the estate but unless the Will specifically left this cemetery plot to someone then the ownership of the plot does not pass through the probate. If your mother was the owner of the plot and not Sibling 1 then Sibling 1 has no more right than Sibling 2 to control the plot. Ownership is determined by purchase and the owner is given a c ertificate of ownership. The owner can designate the use of the plot at the cemetery office or by specific gift in a Will. If they do not designate then the use of the plot is reserved for the surviving spouse of any deceased owner and then to the children of the deceased owner, in order of need. If Sibling 1 is not the owner but merely the child of the decedent that was given the money for the purpose of the burial, then they have no more right than sibling 2.

    The above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses are merely intended to provide general information about the question asked. In all cases, an attorney should be retained to review the full circumstances and deliver advice consistent with the information learned.

  2. Your question is not entirely clear. Who is the owner of the cemetery plot? If it is both of you, then you both can decide. It APPEARS that your sibling is angry because HE was given the money from the insurance policy to pay the expense and you did it anyway. If that is the case, then his anger is misplaced and he should get over it.

    The person who owns the burial plot normally has the right to dictate what goes there. It is not clear from your summary who that person is.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** 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. I hope you our answer helpful!

  3. I agree with the other answers. You will need to look at the documentation regarding the plot to determine ownership. Texas Health and Safety Code Section 711 discusses cemetary plots and defines "plot owner" as either a person whose name the plot is held under by the cemetary orgainzation's office or the person who holds a certificate of ownership or other conveyance instrument. You should contact the cemetary to see if you can find out who owns the plot. If your mom bought it for herself, it is probably owned by her, now her estate. If your sibling purchased it for your mom, it is probably owned by your sibling. Check the documents.

    Good Luck!
    Jessica Newill
    Newill Law Firm

    This answer contains general information. None of the information contained in this communication is intended as legal advice. You should neither act nor refrain from acting based on information obtained from the exchange of messages on this website. None of the information contained in this answer is privileged or confidential. You should retain an attorney to provide legal advice regarding this issue. Newill Law Firm provides estate planning and probate services. Call (210) 383-0546 for a FREE initial consultation.

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