Hello Stephanie—My parents passed away several years ago. I’ve been trying to sell my parents’ burial plots for the last couple of years.  Now, I’ve finally found a buyer interested in the cemetery property. To my surprise the cemetery is telling me that because I don’t have a probated will, all of my siblings have to sign documentation in order for me to sell the plots. I don’t talk to one of my brothers and I don’t even know where he lives. Is the cemetery statement true? Please let me know right away. Thank you, Gina from Humble, TX.

Hello Gina,

Unfortunately, this is an ongoing problem for families. If you purchase burial plots, mausoleums, lawn crypts, and/or niche from a cemetery within the state of Texas, you merely own the interment rights of the property, not the property itself; in other words, only the inner portion in which the remains are buried or interred are at your discretion. The only way to claim the interment rights after the original owner has passed away is to have a probated will with a letter of testamentary indicating that you are indeed the will’s executor or executrix.  

Alternately, the cemetery property may be claimed through a combination of a will and signed documentation known as an Affidavit of Heirship. The Affidavit of Heirship is provided to the cemetery where the property was purchased, indicating the decedent’s surviving relatives along with a quit claim. The quit claim is a legal document that grants permission of the owner or heir to transfer the rights from the owner to the new purchaser. Both of these documents must be notarized.

Hope this proves helpful, Stephanie Salcedo

If you or someone you know is interested in learning how to purchase a funeral or cemetery plot at a discounted rate, please call Secure Your Legacy at (832) 953-4229.

If you or someone you know wishes to learn more about cemetery transfers and/or funeral prepaid policies, please contact the Texas Department of Banking.