Cemeteries are supposed to be peaceful and even sacred places, but there are made out of real estate and business. The business generates income by selling burial plots -which is not the same as selling real estate in most places. Eventually, all the plots will be sold. Cultures have developed different ways of dealing with this problem, from emptying graves to stacking more coffins on top. But what if the business of the cemetery goes bankrupt?
If the process of a foreclosure or a bankruptcy starts, the rest of the operations at the cemetery screech to a halt. So the maintenance of the grounds, the burial of individuals who prepaid for their plots, and other day-to-day goings on stop while the courts and banks work out what will happen next to the business and land.
Families and friends of those who prepaid for their burial end up faced with a difficult decision. They can wait for the bankruptcy or foreclosure issue to be resolved, find and purchase a new burial plot elsewhere, or, if the courts allow it, hire someone with the machinery to dig the grave in the plot they already paid for. Care of loved ones’ graves also falls to them during that time.
From here, what happens next varies widely on a case by case basis.
Laws and customs for dealing with bankrupt or abandoned cemeteries vary from country to country, and from state to state. The procedure for those already buried there can be quite complicated, depending on many factors. Today I Found Out goes over the problems of sustaining cemeteries through unexpected circumstances.