My father passed recently and a EX stepdaughter, although he had divorced her mother when she was child and he had remarried and divorced several times since orders a headstone with inscription to place on my father's grave. This person does not have the permission of any of his children. The cemetary plot belonged to my father from inheritance.
Consult with probate law counsel please.
Thomas J. Baker of Baker & Tisdale PLLC principally practices in the Central Texas area, including Bell, Coryell, McLennan, Milam and Williamson counties. The advice given here is not and ahould not be taken as a substitute for in-personal consultation with counsel, particularly where legal documents, such as court orders need to be reviewed. I am Board-Certified in Family Law but not in any other areas of practice.
I am sincerely sorry for your loss. The answer to this question will depend on the information obtained from a couple of places, the Last Will and Testament, if one existed, and the cemetery organization's plot paperwork. You might be surprised to learn that the Texas Estates Code does not govern how cemetery plots are passed down. Absent a will that specifically describes the plots and who ownership passes to, or a written declaration executed during the owner's life (regarding ownership passage upon their death and filed with the cemetery organization's office), the Health and Safety Code governs inheritance of a cemetery plot. In Texas, cemetery plots do not pass by deed filed with a court clerk, but are entirely managed by the cemetery organizations office, so it is your number one place to check for information.
Without having more information, it is difficult to tell you who ownership of the cemetery plot has passed to, but if your father passed without a will, and without a written declaration on file with the cemetery, the right to use the plot (be buried on it) will pass as follows: (1) to the decedent's surviving spouse, (2) to the decedent's children in order of need “without the consent of a person claiming an interest in the plot”, and (3) to the decedent's heirs at law. Health & Safety Code § 711.039. The plot owner is the person possessing legal rights to add, remove, or change the headstones on a cemetery plot.
You should definitely contact a probate attorney in your area to help you get this resolved. I hope this information helps!
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