senate Bill S5678

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to the reacquisition of abandoned cemetery plots

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to corporations, authorities and commissions
returned to senate
died in assembly
Jun 21, 2013 referred to corporations, authorities and commissions
Jun 20, 2013 delivered to assembly
passed senate
Jun 17, 2013 ordered to third reading cal.1404
committee discharged and committed to rules
Jun 04, 2013 referred to corporations, authorities and commissions

Votes

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Co-Sponsors

S5678 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Religious Corporations Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง8-a, Rel Corp L

S5678 - Bill Texts

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

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BILL NUMBER:S5678

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

PURPOSE: To give 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: Adds a new Section 8-a to the Religious
Corporations Law to allow a 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.

Provides 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.

EXISTING LAW: This proposed law is very similar to Section 1513-a of
the Not-for-Profit Corporations Law

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 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 to reacquire lots, plots, or parts thereof. Approval would
have to be obtained from a State Supreme Court justice. A religious
corporation 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: New bill

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:None to the State

EFFECTIVE DATE:The thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.

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

                                  5678

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              June 4, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  FARLEY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Corporations,  Authorities
  and Commissions

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 8-a to read as follows:
  S  8-A.  REACQUISITION OF A LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF BY A CEMETERY. A
RELIGIOUS CEMETERY CORPORATION MAY, UPON APPLICATION AND APPROVAL  BY  A
SUPREME  COURT,  REACQUIRE,  RESUBDIVIDE, 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 RELI-
GIOUS 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.
                                                           LBD11162-01-3

S. 5678                             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 RELIGIOUS CEMETERY CORPO-
RATION  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 RELIGIOUS CEMETERY CORPORATION TO  DECLARE  ABAN-
DONED  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 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  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 RELIGIOUS CEMETERY CORPORATION, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, IF NO
BURIAL HAS BEEN MADE IN THE LOT, PLOT OF PART HEREOF, IN THE TWENTY-FIVE
YEAR PERIOD PRECEDING SUCH APPLICATION, THE OWNER OF A LOT, PLOT OF PART

S. 5678                             3

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 TWENTY-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 OF PART THEREOF AT THE PRICE WHICH THE  RELIGIOUS  CEMETERY  CORPO-
RATION  SHALL  CERTIFY  UNDER PENALTY OF LAW SHALL BE THE PRICE AT WHICH
THE LOT, PLOT OF PART THEREOF SHALL BE SOLD FOR AFTER REACQUISITION.
  (D) UPON THE SALE OF A LOT, PLOT OR PART THEREOF REACQUIRED  BY  RELI-
GIOUS CEMETERY CORPORATION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION (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  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 RELIGIOUS CEMETERY CORPO-
RATION 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 RELIGIOUS  CEMETERY  CORPO-
RATION  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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