One issue arising more frequently in estate planning is what to do with cemetery plots purchased decades ago that the owner no longer wants. While many seniors already own cemetery plots, they are finding their last wishes have changed and they no longer intend to use the plots they own. There are many reasons this is happening.
First, cremation is being chosen more often as part of memorial preferences. While burial used to be more popular 50 years ago, today, cremation is gaining greater acceptance. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, in 1960 the cremation rate in the United States was only 3.56 percent. By 2012, it had risen dramatically to 43.2 percent.The plots are often located in family plots or in small family cemeteries. A lot of seniors have moved far away from where their cemetery plot is located and they can no longer envision that location as their final resting place.If you own a cemetery plot but do not intend to use it, you may be wondering what to do with it now that your last wishes have changed. You may also know a relative or friend that wants to get rid of a cemetery plot they do not need. A common question that becomes part of estate planning discussions is how much can you get for a cemetery plot and how do you go about selling it.
Selling a Cemetery Plot Online
If you plan to sell a cemetery plot on your own, using an online cemetery plot broker is a way to get the most exposure for your listing. There are many different plot brokers on the Internet. However, before listing a burial plot online, be aware of the risks.Unfortunately, there are people that may try to take advantage of the personal information you post online. Before providing your personal information online, carefully consider your options. When you list your cemetery plot with a plot broker on the Internet, you will typically be asked to include your name, telephone number, and email address in the listing. This personal information is displayed on the Internet for anyone to view. There are several steps you can take to protect your personal information. For example, instead of giving out the email address you use for all your other communications, you may want to set up a separate email address just for your cemetery plot advertisement. Also, if you have a business name and a business telephone number, that may be preferable to giving out your own name and home telephone number.
If anyone contacts you about your cemetery plot listing, be cautious about sharing personal information. People may try to get information about your family history that they can use for illegitimate purposes. If you are concerned a prospective buyer is trying to commit wrongdoing, contact the cemetery plot broker and let them know your concerns. Follow all guidelines offered by the plot broker to ensure you sell your plot to a qualified buyer and receive the purchase price agreed upon. If you have an estate planning attorney, ask your attorney to review all documents related to the proposed transaction. See finding an attorney.Internet fraudsters may try to engage in a fraudulent transaction with you or commit some other scam that could cost you a lot of money. Be very cautious about any documents you sign for the sale of your cemetery plot and verify that you have received full payment before you transfer the plot.To see more tips on burial options, final arrangements, and memorial preferences, check out our free funeral planning guide.
Tips For Selling Your Cemetery Plot
1. Set realistic expectations for how much you can get for the cemetery plot. While you may have many facts to support a particular sales price, it still may not be possible to find a buyer willing to agree to your terms. In fact, it may be difficult to find any buyer at all for your cemetery plot because so many people are choosing cremation.2. Establish a timeline for selling your cemetery plot. For example, you may want to set a particular number of months or years during which you are going to list it at your desired sales price. If it does not sell within that time frame, have a backup plan in mind for what reduced price you would be willing to accept and how long you are willing to wait to obtain that price. Having this type of timeline in place will help you remain firm on your price during any negotiations with a prospective buyer. It will also help you avoid spending an indefinite amount of time trying to sell your cemetery plot at an unrealistic price. 3. Contact the owner or manager of the cemetery to discuss whether you can resell the cemetery plot to the cemetery owner. While in many cases the cemetery owner may not repurchase plots, it will help define your options. Ask for information about any restrictions on selling your cemetery plot to a third party so you know the restrictions before moving forward.
4. Let others in your family know you have a burial plot or plots available for sale. Memorial preferences do not come up often in conversation. One or more of your relatives may be interested in your burial plot, especially if it is in a family plot.
5. If the cemetery plot is located near a church, contact the church office to let them know about the plots available for sale. A member of their congregation may be interested in burial options nearby.
6. If you are unable to sell your cemetery plots and are interested in a tax deduction as an alternative, consult your tax advisor about donating the plots to a charitable organization as part of your charitable giving.
What is Your Cemetery Plot Worth?
A good way to find out how much your cemetery plot may be worth is to review online ads for plots in the same cemetery or in cemeteries in the same county or city.
The Plot Exchange is a website that allows you to search by zip code for cemetery plots for sale. Cemetery listings provide detailed information about the plots, including location, asking price, and what is included for the price.
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