senate Bill S5831

Relates to the reacquisition of abandoned cemetery plots by a Catholic religious cemetary corporation

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 17 / Jun / 2013
    • REFERRED TO RULES
  • 20 / Jun / 2013
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1518
  • 20 / Jun / 2013
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 20 / Jun / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 20 / Jun / 2013
    • REFERRED TO CORPORATIONS, AUTHORITIES AND COMMISSIONS
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • DIED IN ASSEMBLY
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • RETURNED TO SENATE
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CORPORATIONS, AUTHORITIES AND COMMISSIONS

Summary

Relates to the reacquisition of abandoned cemetery plots by religious cemetery corporations.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7610A
Versions:
S5831
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Corporations, Authorities And Commissions
Law Section:
Religious Corporations Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง93, Rel Corp L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5831

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the religious corporations law, in relation to the
reacquisition of abandoned cemetery plots

PURPOSE:
To give Catholic religious cemetery corporations the same ability as
not-for-profit cemetery corporations to obtain approval, under
specific circumstances, to reacquire, re-subdivide and resell old
lots, plots or parts thereof which are determined to be abandoned.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
This bill would add a new Section 93 to the Religious Corporations Law
to allow a Catholic religious cemetery corporation - upon application
to, and approval by, a Supreme Court - to reacquire, re-subdivide and
resell a lot, plot or part thereof which is determined to be
abandoned. Applications may be made in regard to lots and plots
purchased more than 75 years ago if no burials have been made or if
all the bodies have been lawfully removed and if neither the owners
nor any person having a credible claim can be identified after a
reasonable search. Specifies the steps to be taken in conducting a
reasonable search. If a burial was made in such a lot more than 75
years ago, the corporation may apply to a Supreme Court to subdivide
the lot or plot to create new graves.

This bill would further provide that the net proceeds of any sale
shall be placed in a trust designated to provide future maintenance
of the cemetery. Specifies reimbursement options in case an owner is
subsequently identified. Provides that any monuments to be erected on
any such lot shall conform to the size, style and type of monuments
in that section of the cemetery.

JUSTIFICATION:
In 2003, Section 1513-a of the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law was
enacted to give not-for-profit cemetery corporations the ability to
reacquire and resell abandoned lots. In adopting this law, the State
recognized that there were numerous instances where such cemeteries
were filling to capacity and were facing questions and concerns about
their continued financial viability. The reacquisition of these
properties allows cemeteries to re-subdivide and resell the abandoned
lots, thereby maximizing the use of their grounds and increasing
their sustainability.

This bill would provide Catholic religious corporation cemeteries with
the same ability as not-for-profit corporation cemeteries to
reacquire abandoned cemetery lots. A religious cemetery, if not
sustainable, produces a similar financial burden for its upkeep but,
unlike a not-for-profit cemetery, such burden cannot be passed on to
the local municipality and must be addressed by other funds.
Supporting cemeteries which cannot generate additional revenue hurts
other aspects of the religious entity's infrastructure and negatively
impacts other efforts.

This bill would create in the Religious Corporations Law a similar
ability for Catholic cemeteries to reacquire lots, plots, or parts


thereof. Approval would have to be obtained from a State Supreme
Court justice. A cemetery must reasonably search appropriate records
for any burials or owners of such lot, plot, or part thereof, and the
bill prescribes under what circumstances a Supreme Court can approve
reacquisition by a religious corporation cemetery. Any revenues
obtained from such sales must be placed in a trust designated to
provide future maintenance of the cemetery.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
This is a new bill.

BUDGET IMPLICATIONS:
None noted.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act would take effect 30 days after it shall have become a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  5831

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              June 17, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  FARLEY, FELDER -- read twice and ordered printed,
  and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules

AN ACT to amend the religious corporations law, in relation to the reac-
  quisition of abandoned cemetery plots

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1.  The religious corporations law is amended by adding a new
section 93 to read as follows:
  S 93. REACQUISITION OF A LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF BY A CATHOLIC RELI-
GIOUS CEMETERY CORPORATION.  A CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS  CEMETERY  CORPORATION
MAY, UPON APPLICATION AND APPROVAL BY A SUPREME COURT, REACQUIRE, RESUB-
DIVIDE,  AND  RESELL  A  LOT,  PLOT  OR PART THEREOF UNDER THE FOLLOWING
CIRCUMSTANCES:
  (A)(I) IF THE RECORDS OF THE CORPORATION  DEMONSTRATE  THAT  THE  LOT,
PLOT OR PART THEREOF WAS PURCHASED MORE THAN SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS PRIOR TO
THE  APPLICATION  OF  THE  CORPORATION; AND (II) IF NO BURIALS HAVE BEEN
MADE IN THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF OR ALL  THE  BODIES  THEREIN  HAVE
BEEN  LAWFULLY  REMOVED; AND (III) IF NEITHER THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF THE
LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF NOR ANY PERSON  HAVING  A  CREDIBLE  CLAIM  TO
OWNERSHIP WHO HAS VISITED, MADE PAYMENTS IN RESPECT OF OR ENGAGED IN ANY
OTHER PROPRIETARY ACTIVITIES WITH RESPECT TO THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THER-
EOF CAN BE IDENTIFIED AFTER A REASONABLE SEARCH CONDUCTED BY THE CATHOL-
IC  RELIGIOUS  CEMETERY  CORPORATION,  IT SHALL BE CONCLUSIVELY PRESUMED
THAT THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF HAVE ABANDONED
THEIR BURIAL RIGHTS. A REASONABLE SEARCH CONSISTS OF A  SEARCH  OF:  (1)
ALL CEMETERY RECORDS TO DETERMINE THE NAME OF THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF THE
LOT,  PLOT  OR PART THEREOF, THEIR LAST KNOWN ADDRESSES AND ALL INFORMA-
TION AVAILABLE TO THE CEMETERY RELATING TO ANY PERSON BURIED IN THE LOT,
PLOT OR PART THEREOF AND THE NAMES  AND  LAST  KNOWN  ADDRESSES  OF  ANY
PERSONS  MAKING INQUIRY ABOUT OR VISITING THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF;
(2) A SEARCH FOR THE DEATH CERTIFICATES AND THE PROBATED  WILLS  OF  THE

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD11162-04-3

S. 5831                             2

OWNER  OR  OWNERS  OF  THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF; (3) THE POSTING OF
NOTICE BY THE CEMETERY AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE CEMETERY AND IN THE  CEME-
TERY  OFFICE,  IF ANY, OF ITS INTENTION TO DECLARE THE LOT, PLOT OR PART
THEREOF  ABANDONED;  (4)  THE MAILING OF SUCH NOTICE CERTIFIED MAIL WITH
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED TO THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF THE LOT, PLOT OR PART
THEREOF AND EACH PERSON IDENTIFIED DURING THE REASONABLE SEARCH AT THEIR
LAST KNOWN ADDRESSES; (5) PUBLICATION OF SUCH NOTICE ONCE IN  EACH  WEEK
FOR  THREE  SUCCESSIVE  WEEKS,  IN  TWO NEWSPAPERS OF REGULAR COMMERCIAL
CIRCULATION BY SUBSCRIPTION AND/OR NEWSSTAND SALE, TO BE  DESIGNATED  BY
THE  COUNTY  CLERK  OF THE COUNTY WHERE THE CEMETERY IS LOCATED WHICH IN
HIS OR HER JUDGMENT, GIVEN THE ETHNIC, RELIGIOUS,  GEOGRAPHIC  OR  OTHER
RELATED  DEMOGRAPHIC  CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF THE LOT,
PLOT OR PART THEREOF AND EACH PERSON IDENTIFIED THROUGH  THE  REASONABLE
SEARCH AND THE PREDOMINANT READERSHIP OF SUCH NEWSPAPERS ARE BEST CALCU-
LATED TO INFORM THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF AND
EACH  PERSON IDENTIFIED THROUGH THE REASONABLE SEARCH OF ANY APPLICATION
PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION; AND (6) THE  PREPARATION  OF
AN  AFFIDAVIT DESCRIBING THE STEPS TAKEN BY THE CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CEME-
TERY CORPORATION TO ASCERTAIN THE IDENTITY OF AND TO CONTACT THE CURRENT
OWNER OR OWNERS OF THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF OR NEXT-OF-KIN  THEREOF
OR  ANY  OTHER PERSONS IDENTIFIED IN THE COURSE OF THE REASONABLE SEARCH
WHO MIGHT HAVE RELEVANT INFORMATION AND THE RESULTS OF SUCH STEPS. AFTER
THE FILING WITH THE SUPREME COURT OF PROOF OF COMPLIANCE WITH THE  ABOVE
REQUIREMENTS  IN  FORM  AND  SUBSTANCE  REASONABLY  SATISFACTORY TO SUCH
SUPREME COURT AND UPON APPROVAL BY THE SUPREME COURT, THE LOT,  PLOT  OR
PART  THEREOF  MAY  BE RESOLD BY THE CEMETERY TO ANY PARTY IN COMPLIANCE
WITH THE CEMETERY RULES AND  REGULATIONS  PROVIDED,  HOWEVER,  THAT  ANY
MONUMENT  SUBSEQUENTLY  PLACED  ON  SUCH LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF SHALL
CONFORM TO THE GENERAL APPEARANCE OF  ANY  EXISTING  MONUMENTS  IN  SAID
SECTION OF LOTS, PLOTS OR PARTS THEREOF, IF ANY.
  (B)  IF  (I)  THE  CIRCUMSTANCES  DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION (A) OF THIS
SECTION EXIST EXCEPT THAT ONE OR MORE BURIALS HAVE BEEN MADE IN  A  LOT,
AND  THE  LAST BURIAL WAS MADE MORE THAN SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS PRIOR TO THE
APPLICATION, (II) THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF  CAN  BE  SUBDIVIDED  TO
CREATE  NEW GRAVES, (III) THE BODIES HAVE NOT BEEN LAWFULLY REMOVED, AND
(IV) THE CEMETERY SUBMITS AN APPLICATION  TO  THE  SUPREME  COURT  WHICH
COMPLIES  WITH  THE  REQUIREMENTS  SET  FORTH IN SUBDIVISION (A) OF THIS
SECTION, IT SHALL BE CONCLUSIVELY PRESUMED THAT THE LOT OWNER HAS  ABAN-
DONED  THE  RIGHT  TO  MAKE  FURTHER  BURIALS IN THE LOT, THE LOT MAY BE
SUBDIVIDED, AND THE RESUBDIVIDED LOT, PLOT OR PARTS THEREOF WHICH DO NOT
CONTAIN THE REMAINS OF THE DECEASED PERSONS MAY BE RESOLD BY  THE  RELI-
GIOUS  CEMETERY CORPORATION AS PROVIDED IN THIS SECTION. NOTHING IN THIS
SECTION SHALL  PERMIT  A  CATHOLIC  RELIGIOUS  CEMETERY  CORPORATION  TO
DECLARE  ABANDONED  A LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF, WHERE SUCH LOT, PLOT OR
PART THEREOF WAS PURCHASED FOR MULTIPLE DEPTH BURIALS AND WHERE  ONE  OR
MORE  BURIALS  HAS  OCCURRED OR AUTHORIZED A CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CEMETERY
CORPORATION TO REMOVE A MONUMENT OR OTHER  EMBELLISHMENT  TO  FACILITATE
THE RESALE OF SUCH LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF.
  (C) IF THE OWNER OR OWNERS OF A LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF CAN BE IDEN-
TIFIED, THE CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CEMETERY CORPORATION, WITH THE CONSENT OF
THE  OWNER  OR OWNERS OF THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF, THE LOT, PLOT OR
PART THEREOF MAY BE RESUBDIVIDED, AND THE RESUBDIVIDED LOT, PLOT OR PART
THEREOF WHICH DOES NOT CONTAIN THE REMAINS OF DECEASED  PERSONS  MAY  BE
RESOLD  BY THE CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CEMETERY CORPORATION, PROVIDED, HOWEV-
ER, IF NO BURIAL HAS BEEN MADE IN THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF, IN  THE
TWENTY-FIVE  YEAR PERIOD PRECEDING SUCH APPLICATION, THE OWNER OF A LOT,

S. 5831                             3

PLOT OR PART THEREOF HAS NOTIFIED HIS OR  HER  PARENTS,  SPOUSE,  ISSUE,
BROTHERS,  SISTERS,  GRANDPARENTS,  AND  GRANDCHILDREN,  IF  ANY, OF THE
APPLICATION TO THE SUPREME COURT, AND PROVIDED FURTHER,  HOWEVER,  IF  A
BURIAL HAS BEEN MADE IN THIS LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF DURING SUCH TWEN-
TY-FIVE  YEAR  PERIOD,  THE SPOUSE AND ISSUE OF SUCH DECEASED PERSON ARE
ALSO NOTIFIED, AND PROVIDED FURTHER, IN EITHER CASE  THE  OWNER  OF  THE
LOT,  PLOT  OR PART THEREOF SATISFIES THE SUPREME COURT THAT NONE OF THE
PERSONS NOTIFIED HAVE AGREED WITHIN FORTY-FIVE DAYS OF  NOTIFICATION  TO
PURCHASE  THE  LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF AT THE PRICE WHICH THE CATHOLIC
RELIGIOUS CEMETERY CORPORATION SHALL CERTIFY UNDER PENALTY OF LAW  SHALL
BE  THE  PRICE  AT WHICH THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF SHALL BE SOLD FOR
AFTER REACQUISITION.
  (D) UPON THE SALE OF A LOT, PLOT  OR  PART  THEREOF  REACQUIRED  BY  A
CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CEMETERY CORPORATION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVI-
SION  (A), (B), OR (C) OF THIS SECTION, THE NET PROCEEDS SHALL BE PLACED
IN A TRUST DESIGNATED TO PROVIDE FUTURE MAINTENANCE OF THE CEMETERY.
  (E) IF THE OWNER OF THE LOT, PLOT  OR  PART  THEREOF  IS  SUBSEQUENTLY
IDENTIFIED,  THE  CATHOLIC  RELIGIOUS  CEMETERY  CORPORATION  SHALL: (I)
RETURN ALL UNSOLD LOTS, PLOTS OR PARTS THEREOF IF ANY, TO THE  OWNER  IF
SO  REQUESTED; AND (II) WITH RESPECT TO ANY LOTS, PLOTS OR PARTS THEREOF
THAT HAVE BEEN SOLD PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, AT THE OPTION OF THE OWNER
OF THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF, EITHER (1) PROVIDE THE OWNER,  AT  NOT
COST  TO  THE  OWNER, WITH A LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF COMPARABLE TO ANY
LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF THAT WAS SOLD BY THE CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS  CEME-
TERY  CORPORATION  OR  (2)  PROVIDE THE OWNER WITH THE PROCEEDS FROM THE
SALE OF THE LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF REACQUIRED UNDER THIS SECTION WITH
INTEREST THEREON FROM THE DATE OF THE SALE AT SIX PERCENT PER ANNUM.
  (F) MONUMENTS TO BE ERECTED ON A LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF,  FOLLOWING
THE  RESALE  OF  A LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF, SHALL CONFORM TO THE RULES
AND REGULATIONS OR OTHER REQUIREMENTS OF THE CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS CEMETERY
CORPORATION AND SHALL CONFORM TO THE SIZE, STYLE, AND TYPE OF  MONUMENTS
IN THE SECTION OF THE CEMETERY WHERE SUCH RESALE OCCURS.
  S  2.  This  act shall take effect on the thirtieth day after it shall
have become a law.

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