Interesting Cemetery Issues

For about 15 years I served on a small cemetery association board.  Most of the time things ran pretty smooth and we had, even though they were old and handwritten, very good records of sales and interments.  We did, however, have our little problems such as when we sold the same grave spaces twice.  Both families wanted to keep the spaces because they were strategically located to their relatives.  We did, however, have to seek a legal opinion on which family would receive possession of  the lots and then we offered the other family their money back, free grave lots, free interments at the time of death, and a discounted monument.  They still were not totally happy because they would not get to be buried immediately adjacent to their relatives.

I bring that up because in the last several days I’ve seen articles about cemetery issues.  The first issue is from an article in, a Vermont publication, and deals with a burial that had to be postponed because the grave, next to the deceased’s husband, was found to be occupied with a body and vault with no cemetery records or monument to understand who the buried deceased person is.  According to the article, the cemetery in question even brought in professional underground locators who have confirmed, using radar technology,  that there is definitely something buried there.

The cemetery commission has started legal procedures to exhume the body and one buried next to it in another grave that was supposed to be empty according to cemetery records.  In order to get to the answers this process will, as with us, cost several thousand dollars to get an answer.  Cemetery officials, who believe that these bodies have been in place for years, are now worried that this may not be the only spot in the cemetery where people may be buried in graves that records show should be unfilled.

The second article I came across was in Newschief and concerned a cemetery in Ocala, Florida, that was missing over four dozen bronze flower vases from monuments the other day.  Some good police work found that the vases in question were sold for metal recycling over a couple of days the week before.  Turns out that each vase is worth about $200 and by checking with recyclers, a suspect has been identified.

So, there you have it.  Many funeral directors, especially in small communities, serve as cemetery board members.  My advice is to keep the records up to date and check and double check everything, because even a simple mistake can end up costing thousands.  And, maybe it is time to check up on your insurance and make sure that the cemetery is covered – at least in some capacity – for thefts that occur.[wpforms id=”436″ title=”true” description=”true”]



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