Be a Smart Shopper When Looking for a Final Resting Place

Old lady gardeningA Sarasota, Florida cemetery was warned by county officials to bring the grounds up to code or be fined. Recent reports had described overgrown grass and weeds at Sarasota Memorial Park; however, after a news article appeared, workers were seen mowing the lawn, weeding, and edging around tombstones.
WTSP 10 News recently published a story, “Protecting your loved ones last resting place,” which reported on the problems discovered during Memorial Day weekend. Residents walking their dog nearby noticed the overgrown cemetery. They complained to the property manager and filed a complaint with the county’s code enforcement department about the tall grass and trees on the graves.
The dog walkers even called on volunteers to mow Sarasota Memorial Park. They mowed a section one morning until they were told to leave. However, their complaint to the County Code Enforcement Department resulted in a warning to the cemetery property owners. They were ordered to clean up the cemetery or face a notice of violation and fines.
Cemetery maintenance is contractual, and it’s expected when you pay for a plot. But a contract is only as good as the company behind it. Like anything else you purchase, you need to look carefully when making a decision about a burial plot.
Research the reputation of the cemetery you’re considering. Remember: just because the cemetery looks good now—like Sarasota Memorial Park—doesn’t mean it will stay beautiful forever. Prior to making a plot purchase, ask how much is in the endowment trust fund.
In Florida, state law dictates that 10% of the purchase price be placed in a trust fund for maintenance of the property, which is monitored by the state. Also, Florida State Statue §497.262 says that cemeteries are required to be “well cared for and maintained in a proper and dignified condition.”
Be selective, and keep a digital record of the cemetery's conditions—take a photo of it the day you buy a plot and any time you visit in the event you need to file a complaint.
Reference: WTSP 10 News (June 27, 2016) “Protecting your loved ones last resting place”


Richard Attenborough’s Final Resting Places

Bigstock-Love-Heart-Made-Of-Ash-51901699Lord Richard Attenborough made a name for himself as an actor and director. Now that he has passed away, he is making another name for himself by where he wishes his remains to rest.

Richard Attenborough passed away in August of last year, and his estate's probate records have recently been made public. They reveal that his estate in the United Kingdom was worth approximately £1.5 million, although this does not include the value of his foreign assets and any assets held in trust.

However, his will also revealed that Attenborough requested that his body be cremated.

His wish was that one-third of his remains be placed at his Scottish estate and another third be taken to an estate in France. The final third of his remains he wants intermingled with the remains of his daughter and granddaughter at a church near Attenborough's estate in the UK.

The daughter and granddaughter perished in the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004.

The Telegraph has more on this story in an article titled "Richard Attenborough's last request: place my ashes with my daughter and granddaughter." One thing that this story illustrates is that a will can be more than just a dry, legal document that divides property. In fact, a will can also be used to create an emotional legacy and let people know what is important to you.

As any father would be, it is clear that Attenborough was deeply affected by the tragic loss of his daughter and granddaughter. By using his will as the vehicle by which he dictated how his remains were to be treated, Attenborough shared that with the entire world.

Contact an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure the important details of your last wishes are legally covered.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Telegraph (October 4, 2015) "Richard Attenborough's last request: place my ashes with my daughter and granddaughter."

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