Most big cemeteries are classified as a “Perpetual Care Cemetery. ” That means it has a perpetual care trust fund behind it. A Perpetual Care Cemetery actually operates under rules established by statute and by the Texas Department of Banking. Cemeteries sell plots, they don’t lease them. A Cemetery has to keep a record of each interment which includes the date the remains are received, the
date the remains are interred, the name and age of the person interred (if those facts can be conveniently obtained), and the identity of the plot in which the remains are interred.
There are all sorts of rules governing cemeteries. Most can be found in the Texas Health and Safety Code, and in the Texas Administrative Code, both available online. Complaints about a Perpetual Care Cemetery can be sent to the Texas Department of Banking, 2601 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas 78705; 1-877/276-5554 (toll free); www.dob.texas.gov. Among the least known rules:
- A person who purchases a plot from a nonprofit cemetery corporation is a shareholder of the corporation and can vote on corporate matters.
- A cemetery organization cannot discriminate by race, color or national origin of a decedent.
- A murderer cannot be buried in the same cemetery as his or her victim.
- A cemetery organization may not make more than one interment in a plot unless each owner of the plot consents to the interment.
- Any person has a right to visit the cemetery or private burial grounds. The person has to provide at least a 14 day written notice to the owner of the lands surrounding the cemetery or private burial ground.
- Once a plot owner has the exclusive right of sepulture, that right is not affected by the dissolution of the cemetery organization, nonuse by the cemetery organization, alienation, encumbrance or forced sale of the property.
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Virginia Hammerle is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and an Accredited Estate Planner by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.