3.00 Cemeteries And Burial Grounds


In General

Cemetery property is governed by special and restrictive state statutes or common law. The purpose of cemetery law is to protect, through rather intricate restrictions and dispositions, against subsequent changes or disturbance in the use of dedicated cemetery property. If a piece of land is dedicated or established for cemetery purposes in accordance with common law or statutory procedure, it will remain perpetually devoted to cemetery purposes until removed by statutory procedures or by judicial proceedings. The act of dedication has a significant effect upon the rights of the present owners, and also upon the possible rights of subsequent purchasers, mortgagees, and claimants. If any reference in any instrument, plat, or a physical inspection of the premises provides any indication of a cemetery, grave site, burial ground or other place of interment, please contact a Senior Underwriter.State law must be carefully researched and considered in connection with any request to insure cemetery property. Any request to insure cemetery property must be approved by a Senior Underwriter.


Insurance Of A Cemetery

Proposed Cemeteries

Prior to the dedication or establishment of the land as a cemetery, title to the property can be insured without any additional requirement or exception. In all cases, the policy shall have to be dated prior to the commencement of any dedication.

Existing Dedicated Cemeteries

State law must be scrutinized in order to determine requirements for sale, mortgage, lease, or encumbrance of lands dedicated for cemetery purposes by the appropriate state agency, if any.

In some states, cemetery properties cannot be mortgaged, and in others, statutory or case law is generally adverse to their sale or mortgage, and in some cases, the whole matter is left in a generally unsettled condition.

If authorized by statute, the insurance of the sale mortgage, lease, or encumbrance of any existing dedicated cemetery property must contain the following specific exceptions:

  • Rights, interests, and easements of any and all person(s) or legal entity(ies) who have purchased burial lots or parts thereof located in the premises.

  • Easements for driveways, alleys, walks, and other ways upon and over the premises or any part thereof.

  • Statutory rights and powers of the State of _________, county and municipality to regulate and control the use of the premises as a cemetery and also to regulate and control the interment or removal of such remains in or from the premises or any building located thereon.

  • Legal limitations and restrictions imposed by the laws of the State of __________ in connection with land dedicated for cemetery purposes.

Insurance of Cemetery Space or Plot

The Company must decline any request for the insurance of a cemetery space or plot.

The purchaser of a cemetery lot, notwithstanding the form of deed or language of the certificate of burial, sepulcher or interment thereof, does not acquire a fee title, but only an exclusive privilege, easement, or license to burial in the lot, subject to all regulations governing the cemetery and the other lots.


Abandonment - Reversion Of Cemeteries

Statutory procedures for the abandonment of cemetery property are extremely complex and state law must be fully scrutinized. Abandonment, in cemetery law, does not encompass the total and complete disinterment of all the bodies previously interred therein. Additionally, reversionary rights are not always contemplated or considered under state law.

Any request to insure abandoned cemetery property must be referred to a Senior Underwriter before issuing any title commitment or title insurance policy.


Exceptions of Land Used as a Cemetery or Burial Ground

Exception should be taken for any cemeteries or burial grounds delineated on any plat of record or if referenced in any instrument or discovered in any physical inspection or survey. (See link to Standard Exceptions, above.)