The Plot Thickens   Leave a comment

Burial plots. In 1948 my father’s father bought a funeral plot with four grave spaces for $300.  He put $90 as a down payment and paid  the rest in $9 monthly installments. I know this because I found the original deed of sale in my mother’s papers.  I subsequently had to reopen my father’s estate in order to transfer ownership of the plots to my sister and me.

Technically, it was one plot with four grave spaces. The spaces were for my grandmother and grandfather who are buried there and presumably their children, my father and his sister.  When my grandfather purchased the plot, he didn’t take into account the fact that his children might marry, or decide on different burial arrangements.  As it turns out, they did. Two of the grave spaces remain unused to this day.

The cemetery will not purchase them back and resell them – so it is up to the owners to sell the burial plots. And grave spaces can run in the thousands of dollars.  I imagined it would be quite difficult and have been procrastinating this sale for several years.  As it turns out, you can sell plots on ebay and craigslist as well as a number of aggregators who provide a market to buy and sell plots in multiple geographic areas. For example:,, and to name a few.  Some cemeteries even have facebook pages.  Reselling plots is a virtual cottage industry. Who knew?

Selling a grave site can involve fees levied by the cemetery to legally transfer the deed of ownership.  Additionally, the state of New Jersey requires a maintenance and preservation fee which can equal 15% of the purchase price. This is not to maintain the actual grave, but is for maintenance and preservation of the cemetery itself.

Tips: Ideally, you would know the burial arrangements for your parents and would have the proper documentation for any burial plots, vaults, mausoleums, etc. If you are in possession of plots that will not be used, contact the cemetery to see if they will purchase the plots, or at a minimum, what the going rate is for the plots.  Additionally, you should find out what mandatory fees exist and what the legal process is for transferring title to the plots. You should also find out if the cemetery has any religious restrictions that would impact your sale.

Information found on this web site is for general informational purposes only based on personal experience and should not be construed as legal, tax or other professional advice. You should consult an experienced attorney , tax professional or financial advisor concerning your particular factual situation and any specific questions you may have.

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