How to Write a Letter Deeding Over a Cemetery Plot

By Brette Sember, J.D.

How to Write a Letter Deeding Over a Cemetery Plot

By Brette Sember, J.D.

There are many situations in which you might need to transfer ownership of a cemetery plot. A common reason is divorce: you've decided not to be together in life and you'd prefer not to be in death either.

Woman flipping through documents

A cemetery plot can be sold or transferred much the same way you would transfer any other piece of land. You can transfer ownership with a deed or by writing a letter of conveyance. Each jurisdiction is different though, so it's important to understand the laws where the cemetery is located so you can meet all the requirements. It's also important to check with the cemetery to determine its requirements. You may need to provide written notification or file a written application to transfer the plot to someone else.

Your Ownership Rights

When you buy a cemetery plot, you don't actually own the land—the cemetery itself does. Instead, you buy a license or right to use the land under certain conditions. Generally, you receive the right to use the plot for burial and placement of a headstone as well as the right to vote at lot owner meetings.

Each cemetery has its own set of rules and regulations that must be followed by the plot owners. If you want to transfer your ownership, the rules explain the procedure you must follow to do so, which can include notifying the cemetery or submitting an application to sell the plot. Some cemeteries require that you offer them the right to purchase the plot before you can sell it to anyone else. If they do not purchase it, they will send you a written notice.

Many cemeteries allow you to transfer ownership within a family—parent to child, for example—or through your will without approval. These situations are not considered sales and generally are not subject to the same legal hoops as a sale of the plot would be.

State Laws and Sales of Cemetery Plots

Cemeteries are regulated by state laws. Each state has its own governmental agency that oversees cemeteries. In Florida, for example, cemeteries are regulated by the Division of Funeral, Cemetery, and Consumer Services, while California has a Cemetery and Funeral Bureau. Once the cemetery chooses not to purchase your plot from you, you need to submit the written notice from the cemetery to the state agency and request an application to transfer the plot. Most states do not charge a fee, but you most likely need to have your application notarized. Once the state agency approves the application, you are free to transfer the plot by writing a letter of conveyance.

Writing Your Conveyance Letter

When you are ready to transfer your plot ownership rights, you can write a letter of conveyance to the new owner. The letter should include the following:

  • Your name and the purchaser's name
  • The purchase amount
  • The date of purchase
  • The plot or lot legal description, which you can copy from the deed or letter of conveyance you received when you bought the lot
  • A statement that you are transferring all of your rights in the plot (list the rights you received when you bought the plot) to the new owner
  • A statement that the new owner is subject to the cemetery rules and regulations
  • A statement that the sale is based on a notice of ratification of sale by the cemetery and approval by the state agency

Once you receive the funds from the buy, the transfer of ownership is complete.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.