Dedication Of Cemetery Property
Developed in 1998 by the Government and Legal Affairs Task Force of the International Cemetery and Funeral Association
The site of a cemetery should be dedicated for cemetery purposes and a legal description of the property should be filed with the appropriate governmental entity. There should be a statutory process to ensure dedication procedures protect the interests of interment right owners.
- A map or plat of the site, subdivided into gardens or sections, and a declaration that the property will be used exclusively for cemetery purposes should be filed with the appropriate governmental entity, the filing of which should be constructive notice of dedication.
- The cemetery authority should be entitled to change the shape and size of the property for which the map or plat is filed, provided that it does not unlawfully disturb any interred human remains. If a change is made, the cemetery authority, within a specified time period, should file an amended map or plat with the appropriate governmental entity.
- Dedication of cemetery property should not be affected by the dissolution of the cemetery authority, transfer of ownership, nonuse of the property, encumbrance, any lien placed on the property, or forced sale.
- In order to protect the interests of interment right owners by ensuring that interments will not be disturbed, dedicated cemetery property should not be subject to eminent domain by any governmental entity.
- Dedicated cemetery property should be used exclusively for cemetery purposes until the dedication is lawfully removed. A cemetery authority desiring to remove the dedication with respect to all or any unsold portion of the cemetery should petition the court having jurisdiction where the cemetery is located. Concurrent with the judicial proceeding to remove the dedication, a notice of intent should be posted in a conspicuous place in the cemetery.
- The court should order removal of the dedication upon satisfactory proof that the portion of the cemetery where the dedication is sought to be removed is not sold, has no interments, and is not necessary for interment purposes.
- Once the dedication has been removed by court order, the cemetery authority, within a specified time period, should file an amended map or plat with the appropriate governmental entity.