One of the things I always tell my estate planning clients is to make sure that a few people know where you want to be buried. Well, a lawyer up in Bluemont has taken that advice to the extreme by getting the Wall Street Journal to write a story about his burial requests.
According to the article, Brad and Tandy Bondi purchased Old Welbourne outside of Bluemont a few years ago, and have since spent a lot of time and money restoring it and fixing it up. One thing that was not included in their purchase, however, is the chunk of the yard containing the Dulany family cemetery. The family, which founded the Old Welbourne estate in the early 1800s, retains ownership of it, and still hosts reunions at it to reminisce and raise money for its upkeep.
Bondi is now letting surviving members of the Dulany family, know he and his wife would like to be buried in the cemetery when they die. There are 20 spots left in the cemetery, but only one person not related to the Dulany’s have ever been laid to rest there. There is hopefully a good amount of time for Bondi to make his case, or establish his own family cemetery on the estate, as he and his wife are only in their early 40s.
This story is pretty unique, but it is not really that unusual. Many families have historic cemeteries located on property that they no longer own, and people are once again starting to think about being buried on their own land, a practice that fell out of favor as the nation industrialized and more people abandoned their farming roots.
If you have an unusual burial request, the sooner you talk to an attorney about it the better. For example, if there is an old family or organization-owned cemetery where you want to be buried, you may have to apply to the cemetery trustees to get a spot. Leaving money to the cemetery in your estate plan may be a requirement for being buried there. If you want to do something a bit more out there, like establishing your own cemetery, it can take a lot of prior legal planning and paperwork.