DEAR ABBY: My 87-year-old mother recently discovered that the mausoleum site she had reserved for herself next to my father's grave -- and paid for when he died -- was occupied by my uncle's ashes and headstone. Mom had moved away 20 years ago and had not visited the cemetery in all that time.
My cousin's explanation, when confronted by my tearful mom, was that it was a "temporary solution" as the mausoleum was full at the time of my uncle's death. They were planning to move him. Apparently, it has taken 14 years for them to get around to it.
Mom had to send a notarized letter to the cemetery asking that my uncle's remains be removed. My cousins, who are wealthy and successful people, saved $800 by using my mother's prepaid site. Should Mom charge them rent? -- BEWILDERED IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR BEWILDERED: I don't think your mother should ask your cousins for "rent," but I do think your mother should contact the owners of the cemetery and ask what they plan to do to compensate her for her distress. Frankly, I don't understand how they could have allowed your uncle's ashes to be placed in her reserved site. The ball will then be in their court -- and if they are ethical and responsible, they may offer free opening and closing costs at the time of her death.