How did Trump get to bury his ex- on a golf course?

Probably looking for someone familiar with New Jersey law here, but I don’t get how Trump was allowed to bury his ex-wife on a golf course. Was it (somehow) designated as a cemetery before Ivana Trump died on July 14? Did he apply to have it so designated AFTER she died? Is any rich New Jerseyian allowed to declare his property as a legal burial ground unilaterally? Can I bury my family in my front yard in Jersey? Aren’t there zoning laws in NJ? You would think (I would) that it’s a big deal to turn one’s property legally into a cemetery, but apparently not. There seem to be big advantages to getting property designated as a cemetery (tax breaks, and judgment-proofing among them) so it would be desirable, as well as convenient (no long drives out to the country to visit old Papa’s grave–you just need to walk out the back door!) So how did he swing it? (“Long drives” and “swing it” completely unintentional puns.)

Differing information on this can be found online.

The New Jersey Cemetery Board says:

But, this website, on New Jersey Funeral laws, says, among other things:

It sounds like it’s possible (depending on local zoning), but broadly, he likely would have had to get a certification for the land as a “family cemetery.”

And, it’s entirely possible that he had been planning this for himself and his family all along, and had arranged for this designation years ago.

I’m also interested in how he got to decide where she went, since they’d been divorced for years. I assume actually it was up to the kids (Ivanka, Eric, Don Jr.)?

Does a plot in a real NYC cemetery cost so much that it’s a real cost savings?

Either her children or she herself may have specified that this was what she wanted.

I have to imagine that Ivana had made arrangements for all of this ahead of time, through her lawyer or executor. Even though she and Donald are divorced, she (or her lawyer) may still have been working with Donald.

WAG: Private plots let the family control access to the gravesite(s). I have to imagine that, given the number of people who strongly dislike her ex-husband and kids, if Ivana were to be buried at a public cemetery, her gravesite would likely be subjected to frequent vandalism.

My bet is that there are large tax breaks involved somehow.

So he has been judgment-proof all along (if he had this done years ago)? I wonder why every rich grifter hasn’t thought of this scam, as a way out of worst-case-scenario some court ruling that you must surrender all your assets. “Oh, yeah, judge? Everything I own is on cemetery grounds, ha, ha!” You don’t even need to bury anyone there (if Trump had this done ages ago)–presumably, Ivana’s his first burial at Bedminster.

I wouldn’t think so; I doubt that creating a private “cemetery company” would grant that sort of immunity from other issues (otherwise, you’re right, it would have quickly become a common dodge for rich and unscrupulous property owners).

How did Trump get to bury his ex- on a golf course?

That’s going to cause a hell of a big divot.

Hardly unprecedented though.

If it is anything like Arizona law, the body belongs to the next-of-kin so yes the children have ultimate say. When my dad died, for reasons we kids let my uncle make all of the arrangements and dispose of the body so given the circumstances the may have opted to let dad take care of it. Or perhaps a long time ago Trump had part of the golf course designated as a family cemetery and so she’s buried there as to be close to her kids when they pass.

Googling, the resort is 520 acres, of which some is used for growing hay or raising goats. So it’s not just a “golf course.”

You know Virgil thought of this first, right?

And of course when Arlington was confiscated from Robert E. Lee because the taxes weren’t paid, he went to court to get it back because the reason the taxes weren’t paid was the tax collector refused to accept the payment and Lee got his home back. In the meanwhile, the US Government had put a national cemetary on it so long story short it ended up in the US Government’s hands anyways.

Here’s an article from 2017 that says he got approval for the small private cemetery in 2014. It appears he also got approval from the town for a larger public cemetery in 2016 but had not applied for state approval when the article was published.

I just checked my county’s zoning map, and both privately owned cemeteries and privately owned country clubs are lumped into the “municipal” category. Whatever health regulations may apply, zoning laws don’t seem to be a factor.


Here’s a tweet from someone knowledgable on the subject:twitter

I’m hoping there’s someone with more clarification because the person in the tweet acknowledges they don’t know much about New Jersey law and there’s people disputing them in the comments.

I read an article earlier today, I’ll see if I can find it. Trump has been trying to designate parts of his golf course(s) in NJ as cemeteries for quite a while. Apparently, NJ law allows for tax exemptions for cemeteries.

No doubt the kids said, “Hey Dad, lets bury mom here, and get the tax breaks.”

Found it

The mausoleum would have included “four imposing obelisks surrounding its exterior and a small altar and six vaults inside,” according to But, after encountering opposition from city officials who called the design “overwhelming and garish,” Trump floated the idea of redesigning the structure as a “mausoleum/chapel,”…

Plans for the large-scale mausoleum were ultimately scrapped and Trump proposed several other cemetery redesigns, including a 284-plot portion of the golf course with burial sites available for purchase.

But my question that nobody seems to answer is how much tax breaks is it? I see people (including the Twitter thread) claiming it gives the ENTIRE golf course a tax break but others claim it only relieves taxes on whatever plot of land the cemetery actually occupied.