When Death and Dirt Collide: Legal and Property Interests in Burial Places

7 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2016

Date Written: March 25, 2016


Burial places are real property, but they are a special kind of real property. Thus, while the law with respect to land perpetually dedicated to the disposition of human remains is rooted in the general common law of property, there are unique doctrines that apply only to burial places. Moreover, although disputes occur with alarming frequency and the doctrines are rich and fascinating, the law of burial places has long been neglected by practicing attorneys and legal scholars. As a result, this unique niche of the law is not well understood, and it is a difficult area for the uninitiated to navigate. The purpose of this article is therefore to illuminate and explain the doctrinal framework of legal and property interests in burial places so readers are better prepared to confront these issues when they arise.

Keywords: cemetery, burial, grave, common law, property

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Marsh, Tanya D., When Death and Dirt Collide: Legal and Property Interests in Burial Places (March 25, 2016). Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Journal, 2016, Wake Forest Univ. Legal Studies Paper No. 2754780, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2754780

Tanya D. Marsh (Contact Author)

Wake Forest Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

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