Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When I purchase a lot, single grave, crypt or niche, will I own the real property?
A. No. Cemetery property is owned by the cemetery corporation. The real property is not sold. The lot “owner” receives three privileges: the right of burial, the right to memorialize and the right to vote at lot owner meetings.
Q. What will I receive as a record of this purchase?
A. Once the contract is paid in full, you will receive a Certificate of Ownership for the burial right purchase. This sometimes is referred to as a deed and some Certificate issues will have this title.
Q. Are multiple Certificates issued to multiple owners?
A. No. Only one Certificate is issued and at the time of purchase, the owner must provide us with the primary contact person's name and address.
Q. If I buy a lot, single grave, crypt or niche in the Cemetery, must I be the sole owner or may I own it with others?
A. You may own it as an individual, or you may share the ownership with others, depending on which course seems best for you and your family.You and your co-owner (s) may be either:
(1) tenants in common, or (2) joint tenants, or (3) tenants by the entirety.5.
Q. What are “tenants in common?
A. Each person who shares ownership of the property as a “tenant in common” is entitled to all the rights and privileges of an individual owner. So long as graves are available, each co-owner is entitled to be buried there and each may bury his wife (or husband), his children and his parents there. The owners may designate others for burial, but in such a case all owners, and the husband and wives of deceased owners, must sign the designation forms.
Q. What happens when one of the “tenants in common” dies?
A. That person’s descendants will inherit his/her interest in the same manner as an individual owner. Suppose for example that you and a brother buy as “tenants in common.” If you inherit a lot with others, you are also a “tenant in common.” Your brother dies and his two children inherit his share. There are now three owners – you and the two children, each with all the rights of a co-owner.
Q. How do “joint tenants” differ from “tenants in common”?
A. During your lifetime “joint tenants” have all the rights of “tenants in common,” but if one joint tenant dies, title passes automatically to the surviving “joint tenants.” Suppose, for example, that you and your brother buy burial rights in a mausoleum or lot as “joint tenants.” If your brother dies he can of course be buried there. His wife may be buried there too. His descendants, however, will have no rights to be interred there by Will or otherwise. You become the owner and your descendants will inherit use of the burial rights in the lot.
Q. What are “tenants by the entirety?”
A. This is a form of joint tenancy. It applies only when a husband and wife purchase property in both names. On the death of one, the other becomes sole owner.
Q. When several persons share in the ownership and possession, care and control of burial property, who makes decisions regarding the lot?
A. All such co-owners must share in such decisions and the Cemetery will require signed consents of all co-owners approving important decisions concerning the lot.
Willowbrook urges such persons to select one of their number to represent the group and will provide a form to allow one owner to deal with the Cemetery. If this is not done, the Cemetery may designate such a representative as provided in N-PCL § 1512 (e)(2). Upon the death or disability of such lot representative, all surviving co-owners must re-designate and appoint one of them to represent the lot.
Q. May a co-owner release his or her interest in a lot?
A. Yes. A co-owner may release his or her interest but only to all of the other joint or co-owners. A co-owner may not release his or her interest to a third party.
Q. May a surviving husband or wife who has a right of interment in a lot that was owned by his or her deceased husband or wife release his or her right of the lot?
Q. May an owner convey by affirmation or devise by Will his right and title in and to any lot, plot or part thereof to the Cemetery?
A. Yes. Although for this to be recognized, a copy of the Probated Will must be provided to the Cemetery.
Q. What happens if we move?
A. It is very important that you notify us of any change of address so we may assure that you receive any important information we may mail out.
Q. If a wife and husband are separated and own a lot together, do they still share equal ownership rights?
A. Until or unless one or the other releases his or her rights, either by Divorce Decree or with the Cemetery’s form, they will share the ownership rights.
Q. Who may authorize a burial in a lot or crypt?
A. If the deceased is an owner, anyone can sign. If the deceased is a non-owner, all existing owners must sign. If the deceased is a spouse of an owner, anyone can sign. If the deceased is listed on a designation form, anyone can sing. As this can be somewhat confusing, at the time of any interment, we will assist the family with this issue.
Q. If I am the sole owner, who besides myself, has the right to be interred?
A. Your husband or wife, your children and your parents have the right to be buried there during your lifetime, unless you file an objection in writing with the Cemetery 30 days before the death of any such husband, wife, child or parent. After your death, your husband or wife will continue to have this right, except where all available space has been previously designated by you for the burial of others.
Q. If I am separated from my wife (or husband) would she (or he) still have the right to be buried in my lot?
A. Yes, unless you file a written objection with the Cemetery at least 30 days before the death of such a person.
Q. In addition to my surviving spouse, children, and my parents, may anyone else be interred in the lot?
A. Yes. You may designate persons or classes of persons – such as members of a church or other organization – who may be interred there during your lifetime or after your death. In making such a Designation you may make it Revocable during your lifetime, or you may make it Non-revocable. The Cemetery will prepare or provide the necessary forms, which to be effective must be singed by all parts and filed with the Cemetery with a moderate filing fee.
Q. May I change the names of persons I have previously designated for burial?
A. Yes, but only if your designation is Revocable. If the designation is Non-revocable you may do so only if all the designated persons or class of persons have died and are interred elsewhere, or have renounced the right of interment by an instrument acceptable to the Cemetery.
Q. How old does an owner or co-owner of a lot have to be to legally sign a Grave Designation?
A. Age 18 or over. If such co-owner is under the age of 18, the Grave Designation may be executed and acknowledged by the parent or general or testamentary guardian on behalf of the minor. However, a place of interment must remain available in the lot of each owner or co-owner under the age of 18 years.
Q. May a body interred in a lot or crypt in a cemetery be removed?
A. Yes, but only by following strict requirements. The Cemetery has a special form of consent that must be executed by the owners of the lot, the surviving wife, husband, children, if of full age, and parents of the deceased person (if living).
Q. When I die, who will inherit my lot or mausoleum crypts?
A. If you die without leaving a Will, or without specifically mentioning in your Will the persons whom you wish to inherit your cemetery lot, it will be automatically inherited in equal shares by your descendants, who are defined as “living children and children of the lot owner’s deceased children at the time of lot owner’s death.” If there is only one descendant, he or she becomes the sole owner. If there is more than one descendant, they become equal co-owners. A residuary clause in a Will to certain persons will not legally devise your Cemetery Lot to them. Your husband or wife will still have the absolute right to be interred and so will anyone else for whom you may have filed a Non-revocable Designation; or filed a Revocable Designation which you have not changed or revoked during your lifetime. Any such Revocable Designation becomes Non-revocable upon the Lot Owner’s death.
Q. Suppose I leave no surviving descendants?
A. Then your husband or wife, if living, will inherit the property as sole owner. If you leave no descendants, or husband or wife, your next of kin, who would be your heirs at law, will inherit it.
Q. Should I name the people who should inherit my burial property when I make my Will?
A. That is a personal preference and usually done only if you do not wish your descendants to become the owners. You must specifically name these persons in your Will. A certified copy of such a Will must be filed in the office at Willowbrook.
Q. May a co-owner devise or release his or her interest in a lot by Will?
A. Yes, but only to those persons specifically named as devisee of the lot. A joint owner may also release his or her interest in the lot to other joint owners by Will and the Will may specify pertinent conditions. A certified copy of such a Will must be filed in the office at Willowbrook.
Q. When I buy the right of burial in a cemetery lot in Willowbrook, will it be maintained and preserved by the Cemetery with no additional charge?
A. Yes. Willowbrook is required to provide all lots with the general care necessary to maintain and preserve the Cemetery without charge, if within its financial means. This includes regular mowing, weed wacking, the closing of plots from adjacent interments, tree care (those that are planted by the cemetery) and leaf mulching and removal. The Cemetery has been required to deposit not less than ten (10%) percent of the gross proceeds of any sale into a fund known as the “Perpetual Fund,” (a trust fund established by statute) and the income is used to preserve the Cemetery, including all of its lots.
Q. May a lot owner contract with the Cemetery to provide special care for his or her lot?
A. Yes. Lot Owners who desire to invest in a higher level of special care for their Lot may contract with the Cemetery for annual or endowed care. Contracting with the Cemetery for annual or endowed care does not guarantee the continued health of the plants and sod receiving such care, nor does it entitle the lot owner to their replacement in the event they deteriorate from natural causes or are damaged or destroyed by the weather.
Q. May a cemetery refuse to contract for care of part of a lot?
A. Yes. When the part is not readily distinguishable or when partial care is not practicable.
SALES OF LOTS
Q. Are prospective purchasers entitled to copies of the Rules and Regulations of Willowbrook?
A. Yes, a copy of the Rules and Regulations of Willowbrook or copies are delivered to the prospective purchaser at the time of delivery of the contract and upon receipt of the Certification of Ownership.
Q. May a lot be purchased by the executor or administrator of a decedent from estate funds for the burial of the descendent?
Q. Does Willowbrook sell monuments?
A. Yes. Please call the sales office for pricing details.