Cash-strapped Wash. residents selling their grave sites

Cash-strapped Wash. residents selling their grave sites »Play Video
BELLEVUE, Wash. - More and more money-strapped Americans are deciding that cash in hand now is more important than a casket in the ground later.

So - in the newspapers and online - there are plenty of ads placed by people trying to sell their personal burial plots.

Daisy Berrisford of Bellevue is one of those people.

She, like many others, once saw a prepaid burial plot as an investment that provided peace of mind. But she needs money to live now - instead of money for burial later.

Daisy currently spends hundreds of dollars a month on medications. She has no running car. And now, she's afraid of losing her home.

"Oh yes, Dec. 16, they could come and sell the house," she says. "So yeah, I'm a little bit nerved right now, a little bit shocked with that happening."

Daisy's unemployed son and his family live with her. She's also taken in other boarders.

"I need the money right now," she says.

So Daisy is doing something her parents never dreamed of. She's trying to sell the burial plot her parents purchased for her - right next to their own.

There are two plots left. She's trying to sell each one for $10,000 - or $18,000 for the pair.

Those in the burial business say Daisy's case is becoming more common.

"Yes, definitely," says Jill Larson of Smart Cremation.

Larson says societal and economic changes mean more people are choosing cremation over burial.

She says a burial can cost around $10,000 to $12,000, while the price of a cremation in King County is about $1,500 to $1,600.

"So it's much, much less," she says.

But selling burial plots is not that easy - as Daisy's experience shows. She says she's had zero responses to her ad so far.

With all of the financial pressure she feels, however, Daisy will not rest easy until she has the extra cash in hand.

Those in the burial business say people also are cutting back costs on memorials and services.