I watched a “60 Minutes Special Edition” report on 5/20/12 hosted by Anderson Cooper on cemetery problems in the United States. It was most interesting and detailed problems within the burial (final disposition) industry.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enacted the Funeral Rule in the 1980’s to help protect consumers nationally when making funeral arrangements at the funeral home level. It is still in effect today. It appears that it is time to consider such a plan for the cemetery industry. The issues pointed out by Mr. Cooper’s report should not be tolerated in that market, as consumers are being hurt at a most vulnerable time in their lives by lax oversight of the cemetery industry. The federal government should step in as it did with the funeral industry and establish rules and regulations to be applied to all cemeteries nationally.
Thank you Mr. Cooper for this most educational and informative report!
With the economy where it is today, some consumers who have purchased burial plots, mausoleum crypts or even cremation niches are trying to sell them. If you are in this category, I suggest trying to sell the property back to the cemetery if it is in a buy back position. You may be offered less money than you paid for the property, but it is an option. Next, try advertising the property in your local newspaper, let the local funeral directors know about your property, seek out burial plot brokers on the web (always make sure these type companies are legitimate) and even look for web sites that advertise this type of property nationally.
This type of real estate is not the easiest piece of property to sell, so plan on seeking out as many areas as possible to help you sell the property. If you are a buyer, always check for the title of the property, making sure the paperwork is in place, and get it verified prior to paying anyone to purchase their property from them, just like any real estate transaction.
Have questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you do if you visit a family member’s gravesite, crypt or other cemetery property, and it is not maintained? For example, there is moss or mildew growing on the monument, grass is not manicured, etc.
Review the deed to the cemetery property to see what perpetual care should be provided by the cemetery. The cemetery should be performing the care it agreed to in the purchase contract, and if they are not, this should be brought to the attention of cemetery personnel. If the deed is not available to you or if perpetual care is not discussed in the contract, then talk the problem over with cemetery management.
If you do not get satisfaction there, you could try contacting your local media (TV, newspaper), so perhaps you can get attention drawn to the situation.
Has anyone encountered this problem, and how did you solve it? Please share your experience and suggestions.
With all the wild weather occurring recently in many parts of the country, do you know who would be responsible to pay for damage to your cemetery property, especially an above-the-ground marker, due to wind, earthquake, water, or other natural force?
The following excerpt from my book, “How to Bankroll a Funeral Without Breaking the Bank” talks about this question.
Q – If an individual owns cemetery property which includes an above-the-ground type marker, who is responsible to fix it if damaged by such things as vandalism, wind or other acts of nature?
A– A review of the contract or deed for the cemetery property may explain what the cemetery will do if any of these events occur. If it is not in the contract, discuss the situation with cemetery personnel to see what protection, if any, is provided by the facility. In addition to this, a homeowner’s insurance policy may cover the type of occurrences described up to a limit of the policy coverage less any deductibles which apply to that particular insurance policy. Look for a phrase within the policy worded approximately like “cemetery plots or burial vaults owned by an insured person.” This may indicate that coverage is included in a particular policy. If it is still not clear, contact the insurance carrier for a determination of what coverage is available.
My book is available at amazon.com, and answers many of these type questions you may not have considered. Any one of these tips can easily save consumers more than the price of the book.
Copyright 2010 by Mike Boyd