Developed in 1998 by the Government and Legal Affairs Task Force of the International Cemetery and Funeral Association
The necessity to retain documentation relating to funeral and final disposition transactions will vary according to the type of facility, the nature of the transaction, and the type of information involved. For example, cemeteries open with the intent of lasting forever. Accordingly, permanent records should be retained for interment spaces and interments performed. Records of interment right ownership and final disposition should also be kept permanently, as should those records relating to the cremation process. However, records relating to at need funeral arrangements, prepaid contracts, or prepaid contract trust fund activities need only be retained for a limited time period following performance or termination.
This guideline is limited to record keeping considerations arising from funeral service and cemetery transactions specifically related to contracts and final disposition.
- Permanent records should be kept for:
- Each interment space sold, including information such as the specific location, interment right ownership, and the endowment care trust fund contribution;
- Instructions for final disposition of human remains;
- Authorizations for cremations;
- Each interment performed; and
- Data on each memorial installed in the cemetery.
- In the case of a transfer of interment rights between owners, information should be retained permanently pertaining to such transfer.
- Copies of all prepaid contracts and a record of prepaid contract trust fund deposits and withdrawals should be retained for a specified time period following performance or termination of the prepaid contract.
- At need contracts should be retained for a specified time period following performance.
- Records may be kept on paper or in a machine-readable form including, but not limited to, computer disks, magnetic tape, microfilm, microfiche, or digital imaging.
- The regulatory authority should have reasonable access to examine required records to determine compliance. Records should be maintained in a secure location, which may be separate from the selling location, provided that the regulatory authority is notified of such location.
- Information that the regulatory authority receives from examinations including, but not limited to, financial, accounting, and transactional records, should be kept confidential, except as required in a legal proceeding.
- The cemetery authority, crematory authority, direct disposer, funeral establishment, or similar business should be allowed to adopt reasonable rules and regulations for record content and retention, providing that such rules and regulations conform with relevant statutes.
- The cemetery authority, crematory authority, direct disposer, funeral establishment, or similar business should not be held liable for relying upon erroneous information that has been provided to them by third parties.