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This entry was published on 2016-01-15
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SECTION 8-A
Reacquisition of a lot, plot or part thereof by a cemetery
Religious Corporations (RCO) CHAPTER 51, ARTICLE 2
§ 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
thereof can be identified after a reasonable search conducted by the
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
information 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 owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof; (3) the posting
of notice by the cemetery at the entrance to the cemetery, at the site
of the lot, plot or part thereof to be reacquired and in the cemetery
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
calculated 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 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
abandoned 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
religious cemetery corporation as provided in this section. Nothing in
this section shall permit a 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 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
identified, 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 or part hereof, in the twenty-five
year period preceding such application, the owner of a lot, 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 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 or part thereof at the price which the 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. Any persons notified pursuant to this subdivision by the
identified owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof must agree
to erect a monument of reasonable uniformity to the immediately
surrounding monuments as provided in subdivision (f) of this section
before the persons notified may enter into an agreement to purchase the
lot, plot or part thereof.

(d) Upon the sale of a lot, plot or part thereof reacquired by a
religious 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 no
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
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 religious cemetery
corporation and shall conform to the size, style, and type of monuments
in the section of the cemetery where such resale occurs.

(g) No corporation shall utilize the reacquisition provisions of this
section in violation of such corporation's sectarian burial
requirements.