Selling the family plot...
May 9, 2016 5:35 AM   Subscribe

My in-laws have asked me to dispense with three burial plots in a local cemetery. How do I do this with the best outcome?

I have determined it is legal to do so in our state, and that the particular cemetery allows for such transfers of ownership. So now I'm stuck looking at what the best options for this will be. Is eBay a terrible idea? I see plots for sale there, but I've used eBay about three times in my life, and am wary of how a non-material item and needing to have deeds signed and whatnot will lead to trouble in that venue. Craigslist? One of those online plot-selling services? I'm wary of everything because I know that these types of sales would be a target for scammers (big money and likely old people involved). Online advice seems to say that the local classifieds is a non-starter.

Anyone done this?
posted by RedEmma to Work & Money (7 answers total)
Best answer: Did you ask the cemetery if they maintained a list of sellers? I know the cemetery my plot is in does. If not, you might check out or similar on-line services. When it comes to the actual sale, the cemetery may be able to help you again with deed transfer. Otherwise you may need a lawyer to help with the transfer, once you find a buyer.
posted by ubiquity at 6:34 AM on May 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

If the cemetery is in a particular faith community, the classifieds in their paper maybe an option. Some buyers are not going to be that internet savvy. Also, are they working with someone in elder law? If do, they know this will be a financial loss. People will offer, looking for a bargain, but the real purpose is preparation. If they are not in a hurry (Medicaid spend-down) take your time and the right buyer may show up.
posted by childofTethys at 8:04 AM on May 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ask for a referral to a local Funeral Director and make an appointment. Funeral Directors are often called upon to help re-sell cemetery plots.

Depending on the size of the city/town, be prepared to be told (as we were), "I have a file drawer full of cemetery plots for sale."
posted by John Borrowman at 8:53 AM on May 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: When my parents went to do the same they found widely varying estimates of how much plots could be worth. In the end they worked with the cemetery itself. It might not be top dollar, but they are in the best position to be able to find people who want to buy plots in that cemetery. If the plots are in a major city where space is tight it might be more worth trying other avenues to get more money, but my folks found that the cemetery in a small town gave a fair price for their plots.
posted by ldthomps at 10:27 AM on May 9, 2016

Huh, I just sold mine back to the cemetery. But maybe that's because there's a lot of demand (it's in Santa Barbara).
posted by languagehat at 10:28 AM on May 9, 2016

My mom and her husband just sold them back to the cemetery. They got the same amount they paid originally.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:09 PM on May 9, 2016

Response by poster: Well, since they are inherited plots and were bought in the 1930s, their worth is somewhat higher than the original dollar-price. They're just looking for a fair price in our region.

When I go take pictures of the plot, I'll ask at the cemetery office about what they can do. (The in-laws said they did so, and were told to sell them independently--but both of them are hard of hearing and nervous about such things and so might have misinterpreted what they were told.) The suggestion of funeral directors isn't something I'd thought of.

Thanks for all your help. We aren't in a retirement area or a growing community, so we'll have to see what's possible.
posted by RedEmma at 8:27 AM on May 10, 2016

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