Thank you for taking the time to read this page dedicated to locating, identifying and maintaining the
cemeteries in Perquimans County. We are all in danger of losing a great piece of our history and heritage
if these cemetereis are not located and repaired and then maintained.
There are several North Carolina General Statutes to protect our cemeteries and I will list them all here
for you to see and read.
The North Carolina Cemetery Survey and Protective Legislation
WHAT STATUTES PROTECT CEMETERIES?
G.S. 14-148 and G.S. 14-149 outline the penalties for defacing and desecrating gravesites and for plowing over or covering up graves:
Violation is a misdemeanor and a Class I felony respectively. The fine is up to $1000, and imprisonment is between sixty days and a year.
Both penalties may result.
§ 14-148. Defacing or desecrating grave sites.
(a)It is unlawful to willfully: (1) Throw, place or put any refuse, garbage or trash in or on any cemetery; (2) Take away, disturb, vandalize, destroy or change the location of any stone, brick, iron or other material or fence enclosing a cemetery without authorization of law or consent of the surviving spouse or next of kin of the deceased thereby causing damage of less than one thousand dollars ($1,000); or (3) Take away, disturb, vandalize, destroy, tamper with or deface any tombstone, headstone, monument, grave marker, grave ornamentation, grave artifacts, shrubbery, flowers, plants or other articles within any cemetery erected or placed to designate where a body is interred or to preserve and perpetuate the memory and name of any person, without authorization of law or the consent of the surviving spouse or next of kin, thereby causing damage of less than one thousand dollars ($1,000). (b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a professional archaeologist as defined in G.S. 70-28(4) acting pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 70 of the General Statutes. (c) Violation of this section is a Class 1 misdemeanor. In passing sentence, the court shall consider the appropriateness of restitution or reparation as a condition of probation under G.S. 15A-1343(b)(6) as an alternative to actual imposition of a fine, jail term, or both. (1840, c. 6; R.C., c. 34, s. 102; Code, s. 1088; Rev., s. 3680; C.S., s. 4320; 1969, c. 987; 1981, c. 752, s. 1, c. 853, s. 4; 1993, c. 539, s. 87; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
§ 14-149. Desecrating, plowing over or covering up graves.
(a) It is a Class I felony, without authorization of law or the consent of the surviving spouse or next of kin of the deceased, to knowingly and willfully: Open, disturb, destroy, remove, vandalize or desecrate any casket, human remains or any portion thereof or the repository of any such remains, by any means including plowing under, tearing up, covering over or otherwise obliterating or removing any grave; Take away, vandalize or destroy any stone, brick, iron or other material or fence enclosing a cemetery, causing damage of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000); or Take away, vandalize, destroy or deface any tombstone, headstone, monument, grave marker, grave ornamentation, grave artifacts, shrubbery, flowers, plants or other articles within any cemetery erected or placed to designate the place where any dead body is interred or to preserve and perpetuate the memory and the name of any person, causing damage of more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). (b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a professional archaeologist as defined in G.S. 70-28(4) acting pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 of Chapter 70 of the General Statutes. (1889, c. 130; Rev., s. 3681; 1919, c. 218; C.S., s. 4321; 1981, c. 752, s. 2; c. 853, s. 5.)
G.S. 65-1 through G.S. 65-3 outline the duties of the county commissioners:
They are required to keep a list of all abandoned public cemeteries on file with the register
of deeds. A copy is also to be sent to the secretary of state's office. The county commissioners
are also required to take control of all abandoned public cemeteries and may appropriate whatever
sums are deemed necessary for their upkeep.
Care of Rural Cemeteries
§ 65-1. County commissioners to provide list of public and abandoned cemeteries.
It shall be the duty of the boards of county commissioners of the various counties in the State to prepare and keep on record in the office of the register of deeds a list of all public cemeteries in the counties outside the limits of incorporated towns and cities, and not established and maintained for the use of an incorporated town or city, together with the names and addresses of the persons in possession and control of the same. To such list shall be added a list of the public cemeteries in the rural districts of such counties which have been abandoned, and it shall be the duty of the boards of county commissioners to furnish to the division of publications in the office of the Secretary of State copies of the lists of such public and abandoned cemeteries, to the end that it may furnish to the boards, for the use of the persons in control of such cemeteries, suitable literature, suggesting methods of taking care of such places.(1917, c. 101, s. 1; C.S., s. 5019; 1939, c. 316.)
G.S. 65-7 through G.S. 65-11 describe the legal means for setting up a trust fund for the upkeep of a cemetery:
Money in amounts between $100 and $10,000 may be deposited with the clerk of superior court
as a perpetual trust fund for the maintenance of cemeteries. Trustees may be appointed by the
§ 65-2. Appropriations by county commissioners.
To encourage the persons in possession and control of the public cemeteries referred to in G.S. 65-1 to take proper care of and to beautify such cemeteries, to mark distinctly their boundary line with evergreen hedges or rows of suitable trees, and otherwise to lay out the grounds in an orderly manner, the board of county commissioners of any county, upon being notified that two thirds of the expense necessary for so marking and beautifying any cemetery has been raised by the local governing body of the institution which owns the cemetery, and is actually in hand, is hereby authorized to appropriate from the general fund of the county one third of the expense necessary to pay for such work, the amount appropriated by the board of commissioners in no case to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00) for each cemetery.(1917, c. 101, s. 2; C.S., s. 5020; 1979, c. 735.)
§ 65-3. County commissioners to have control of abandoned cemeteries; trustees.
The county commissioners of the various counties are required to take possession and control of all abandoned public cemeteries in their respective counties, to see that the boundaries and lines are clearly laid out, defined, and marked, and to take proper steps to preserve them from encroachment, and they are hereby authorized to appropriate from the general fund of the county whatever sums may be necessary from time to time for the above purposes. The board of county commissioners of the various counties may appoint a board of trustees not to exceed five in number and to serve at the will of the board, and may impose upon such trustees the duties required of the board of commissioners by this Article; and such trustees may accept gifts and donations for the purpose of upkeep and beautification of such cemeteries.(1917, c. 101, s. 3; C.S., s. 5021; 1947, c. 236.)
Care of Confederate Cemetery.
§ 65-4. State Department of Correction to furnish labor.
The State Department of Correction is hereby authorized and directed to furnish at such time, or times, as may be convenient, such prisoner's labor as may be available, to properly care for the Confederate Cemetery situated in the City of Raleigh, such services to be rendered by the State's prisoners without compensation.(1927, c. 224, s. 1; 1933, c. 172; 1957, c. 349, s. 10; 1967, c. 996, s. 13.)
Cemeteries for Inmates of County Homes.
§ 65-5. County commissioners may establish new cemeteries.
The boards of county commissioners of the various counties in the State are authorized and empowered to locate and establish new graveyards or cemeteries upon the lands of their respective counties for the burial of the inmates of the county homes.(1917, c. 151, s. 1; C.S., s. 5022.)
§ 65-6. Removal and reinterment of bodies.
Whenever the county commissioners have established new graveyards or cemeteries, they are authorized and empowered to remove to such graveyards or cemeteries all bodies of deceased inmates of the county homes.(1917, c. 151, s. 2; C.S., s. 5023.)
Trust Funds for the Care of Cemeteries.
§ 65-7. Money deposited with clerk of superior court.
For the maintenance and preservation of graves, burial plats, graveyards and cemeteries which may be neglected, any person, firm, or corporation may, by will or otherwise place in the hands of the clerk of the superior court of any county in the State where such grave or lot is located any sum of money not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), the income from which is to be used for keeping in good condition any grave, burial plat, graveyard, or cemetery in the county in which the money is placed, with specific instructions as to the use of the fund.(1917, c. 155, s. 1; C.S., s. 5024; 1979, c. 38.)
§ 65-8. Separate record of accounts to be kept.
It shall be the duty of the clerk of the superior court to keep a separate record for keeping account of the money deposited as above provided, to keep a perpetual account of the same therein, and to record therein the specific instructions about the use of the income on such money. He shall see that the income is spent according to such specific instructions, and shall make report of the same from year to year in the same manner as if it were guardian funds.(1917, c. 155, s. 1; C.S., s. 5025.)
§ 65-9. Funds to be kept perpetually.
All money placed in the office of the superior court clerk in accordance with this Article shall be held perpetually, or until such time as the balance of the trust corpus falls below one hundred dollars ($100.00), at which time the trust shall terminate and the clerk shall disburse the remaining balance as provided in G.S. 36A-147(c). Except as otherwise provided herein, no one shall have authority to withdraw or change the direction of the income on same.(1917, c. 155, s. 2; C.S., s. 5026; 1995, c. 225, s. 2.)
§ 65-10. Investment of funds.
Such money shall be invested in the same manner as is provided by law for the investment of other trust funds by the clerk of the superior court.(1917, c. 155, s. 3; C.S., s. 5027; 1943, c. 97, s. 1.)
§ 65-11. Clerk's bond and fees; substitution of bank or trust company as trustee.
The official bond of the clerk of the superior court shall be liable for all such sums as shall be paid over to him on account of the provisions of this Article. The clerk shall receive for his services and responsibilities a commission of ten percent (10%) on the net income each year of such money; and the fees or commissions so received by him under this Article shall not be taken into consideration as a part of his salary. In lieu of the provisions of the first paragraph of this section, the clerk of the superior court may, with the consent and approval of the sheriff and register of deeds, appoint any bank or trust company authorized to do business in this State as trustee for the funds authorized to be paid into his office by virtue of this Article; provided, that no bank or trust company shall be appointed as such trustee unless such bank or trust company is authorized and licensed to act as fiduciary under the laws of this State. Before any clerk shall turn over such funds to the trustee so appointed, he shall require that the trustee so named qualify before him as such trustee in the same way and manner and to the same extent as guardians are by law required to so qualify. After such trustee has qualified as herein provided, all such funds coming into his hands may be invested by it only in the securities set out in G.S. 2-55 and the income therefrom invested for the purposes and in the manner heretofore set out in this Article. All trustees appointed under the provisions of this Article shall render and file in the office of the clerk of the superior court all reports that are now required by law of guardians.(1917, c. 155, ss. 3, 4; C.S., s. 5028; 1939, c. 18; 1943, c. 97, s. 2.)
§ 65-12. Funds exempt from taxation.
All money referred to in the preceding sections of this Article shall be exempt from all State, county, township, town, and city taxes.(1917, c. 155, s. 4; C.S., s. 5029.)
Removal of Graves.
§ 65-13. Removal of graves; who may disinter, move and reinter; notice; certificate filed; reinterment expenses, due care required.
(a) The State of North Carolina and any of its agencies, public institutions, or political subdivisions, the United States of America or any agency thereof, any church, electric power or lighting company, or any person, firm, or corporation may effect the disinterment, removal, and reinterment of graves as follows:
(1) By the State of North Carolina and any of its agencies, public institutions, or political subdivisions, the United States of America or any agency thereof, when it shall determine and certify to the board of county commissioners in the county from which the bodies are to be disinterred that such removal is reasonably necessary to perform its governmental functions and the duties delegated to it by law. (2) By any church authority in order to erect a new church, parish house, parsonage, or any other facility owned and operated exclusively by such church; in order to expand or enlarge an existing church facility; or better to care for and maintain graves not located in a regular cemetery or burying ground for which such church has assumed responsibility of care and custody. (3) By an electric power or lighting company when it owns land that is to be used as a reservoir on which graves are located. (4) By any person, firm or corporation, which owns land on which abandoned cemeteries or burying grounds are located after first securing the consent of the governing body of the town, city or county in which such abandoned cemeteries or burying grounds are situated. (b) The party effecting the disinterment, removal and reinterment of a grave containing a decedent's remains under the provisions of this Chapter shall, before disinterment, give 30 days written notice of such intention to the next of kin of the decedent, if known or subject to being ascertained by reasonable search and inquiry, and shall cause notice of such disinterment, removal and reinterment to be published at least once per week for four successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where such grave is situated and the first publication shall be not less than 30 days before disinterment. Any remains disinterred and removed hereunder shall be reinterred in a suitable cemetery or burial ground. (c) The party removing or causing the removal of all such graves shall, within 30 days after completion of the removal and reinterment, file with the register of deeds of the county from which the graves were removed and with the register of deeds of the county in which reinterment is made, a written certificate of the removal facts. Such certificate shall contain the full name, if known or reasonably ascertainable, of each decedent whose grave is moved, a precise description of the site from which such grave was removed, a precise description of the site and specific location where the decedent's remains have been reinterred, the full and correct name of the party effecting the removal, and a brief description of the statutory basis or bases upon which such removal or reinterment was effected. If the full name of any decedent cannot reasonably be ascertained, the removing party shall set forth all additional reasonably ascertainable facts about the decedent including birth date, death date, and family name. A fee of one dollar ($1.00) for each page or portion of page of such certificate of removal facts shall be paid to the register of deeds of each county in which such certificate is filed for registration. (d) All expenses of disinterment, removal, and acquisition of the new burial site and reinterment shall be borne by the party effecting such disinterment, removal, and reinterment, including the actual reasonable expense of one of the next of kin incurred in attending the same, not to exceed the sum of two hundred dollars ($200.00). (e) The office of vital statistics of North Carolina shall promulgate regulations effecting the registration and indexing of the written certificate of the removal facts, including the form of that certificate. (f) The party effecting the disinterment, removal, and reinterment of a decedent's remains under the provisions of this Chapter shall ensure that the site in which reinterment is accomplished shall be of such suitable dimensions to accommodate the remains of that decedent only and that such site shall be reasonably accessible to all relatives of that decedent, provided that the remains may be reinterred in a common grave where written consent is obtained from the next of kin. If under the authority of this Chapter disinterment, removal, and reinterment is effected by the State of North Carolina or any of its agencies, public institutions, or political subdivisions, the United States of America or any agency thereof, any electric power or lighting company, then such disinterment, removal, and reinterment shall be performed by a funeral director duly licensed as a "funeral director" or a "funeral service licensee" under the provisions of Article 13A of Chapter 90 of the North Carolina General Statutes. (g) All disinterment, removal and reinterment under the provisions of this Chapter shall be made under the supervision and direction of the county board of commissioners or other appropriate official, including the local health director, appointed by such board for the county where the disinterment, removal and reinterment take place. If reinterment is effected in a county different from the county of disinterment with the consent of the next of kin of the deceased whose remains are disinterred, then the disinterment and removal shall be made under the supervision and direction of the county board of commissioners or other appropriate official, including the local health director, appointed by such board for the county of the disinterment, and the reinterment shall be made under the supervision and direction of the county board of commissioners or other appropriate official, including the local health director, appointed by such board for the county of reinterment. Due care shall be taken to do said work in a proper and decent manner, and, if necessary, to furnish suitable coffins or boxes for reinterring such remains. Due care shall also be taken to remove, protect and replace all tombstones or other markers, so as to leave such tombstones or other markers in as good condition as that prior to disinterment. Provided that in cases where the remains are to be moved to a perpetual care cemetery or other cemetery where upright tombstones are not permitted, a suitable replacement marker shall be provided. (h) Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to grant or confer the power or authority of eminent domain, or to impair the right of the next of kin of a decedent to remove or cause the removal, at his or their expense, of the remains or grave of such decedent.(1919, c. 245; C.S., ss. 5030, 5030(a); Ex. Sess. 1920, c. 46; 1927, c. 23, s. 1; c. 175, s. 1; 1937, c. 3; 1947, cc. 168, 576; 1961, c. 457; 1963, c. 915, s. 1; 1965, c. 71; 1971, c. 797, s. 1; 1977, c. 311, s. 1.)
§§ 65-14 to 65-15: Repealed by Session Laws 1971, c. 797, s. 2.
§ 65-16. Land holdings.
All cemetery associations or corporations created by any local, private or special act or resolution before January 10, 1917, are authorized and fully empowered to hold amounts of land in excess of the limitation provided in the local, private or special act or resolution incorporating or chartering such cemetery association or corporation.(1923, c. 76, s. 1; C.S., s. 5030(b).)
§ 65-17. Change of name of association or corporation.
Any corporation or association chartered or incorporated by any special act of the legislature, as set forth in G.S. 65-16, is authorized and fully empowered to change the name of such association or corporation by a majority vote of its directors, and upon such change in name it shall be the duty of the officers of the board of directors of such corporation or association to file with the clerk of the superior court a copy of resolution changing the name, which resolution must show the act of the legislature creating or incorporating the same and the reasons for the change thereof.(1923, c. 76, s. 2; C.S., s. 5030(c).)
§ 65-17.1. Quorum at stockholders' meeting of certain nonprofit cemetery corporations; calling meeting; amendment of charter.
Notwithstanding any conflicting provision of law or of the charter or bylaws of any corporation affected by this section, in the case of any nonprofit cemetery corporation chartered prior to the year 1900 whose charter has expired prior to May 18, 1955, a quorum at any meeting of stockholders called for the purpose of electing directors, or of amending the charter of such corporation, or both, shall consist of the holders of ten percent (10%) or more of the outstanding shares of the capital stock of such corporation having voting powers, present in person or represented by proxy; and a meeting of the stockholders of such corporation for such purpose or purposes may be called by any two stockholders after 10 days' notice by registered mail to all stockholders of record at their last known addresses as shown by the stock book of such corporation. The concurrence of a majority of the shares represented at such meeting shall be sufficient to authorize an amendment or amendments to the charter of such corporation in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 55-31.(1955, c. 1084.)
Cemeteries Operated for Private Gain.
§§ 65-18 through 65-36: Recodified as §§ 65-46 through 65-72.
Funeral and Burial Trust Funds.
§§ 65-36.1 through 65-36.8: Recodified as §§ 90-210.30 through 90-210.37, by Session Laws 1985, c. 12, s. 1.
§ 65-37. Authority to take possession of and continue the use of certain lands as cemetery.
In any case where property not under the control or in the possession of any church or religious organization in any town or municipality has been heretofore set aside or used for cemetery purposes, and the trustees or owners named in the deed or deeds for said property have died, or are unknown, or the deeds of conveyance have been lost or misplaced and no record of title thereto has been found, and said property has been occupied and used for burial purposes for a time sufficient to identify its use as cemetery property, the municipality in which any such cemetery property is located is hereby authorized and empowered in its discretion to appropriate and take possession of all such land within its corporate limits which has heretofore been used for cemetery purposes and such adjoining land not held or owned by known claimants of title, and to cause the same to be surveyed and lines established and to designate and appropriate the said property as a cemetery, or burial ground.(1947, c. 821, s. 1.)
§ 65-38: Repealed by Session Laws 1969, c. 1279.
§ 65-39. Subdivision into burial plots; sale of lots and use of proceeds.
Said town or municipality shall have power and authority in such cases to cause the same to be subdivided and to lay off and allot for family burial plots any property heretofore appropriated or used for burial purposes for or by different families without any charge therefor, and to cause the remainder of said property to be subdivided and laid off into lots; and shall have the power and authority to sell to any person or persons for burial purposes, any of said lots so subdivided and surveyed, except those heretofore appropriated as referred to in this section of this Article, and use the proceeds of such sale for the improvement and upkeep of said cemetery property.(1947, c. 821, s. 3.)
§ 65-40. Appropriations for improvement and maintenance; application of existing laws.
In the event any town or municipality appropriates or takes possession of land used for cemetery purposes as set forth and described herein, it is further authorized and empowered to appropriate and use such funds as may be necessary and proper for the improvement and maintenance of said cemetery; and all statutes and ordinances heretofore enacted and passed relative to cemeteries in said town or municipality, are hereby made applicable to said cemetery property.(1947, c. 821, s. 4.)
§ 65-41. Land acquisition.
The State may accept land for the establishment of not more than three veterans cemeteries.(1987, c. 183.)
§ 65-42. Location of cemeteries.
These veterans cemeteries may be located in those regions of the State with a high concentration of veterans including the 3rd, 7th and 11th United States Congressional Districts.(1987, c. 183.)
§ 65-43. Definitions.
For purposes of this Article, the following definitions shall apply, unless the context requires otherwise: (1) "Honorable military service" means: a. Service on active duty, other than for training, as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, when the service was terminated under honorable conditions; b. Service on active duty as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States at the time of death under honorable conditions; c. Service on active duty for training or full- time service as a member of the Reserve component of the Armed Forces, the Army National Guard, the Air National Guard, or the Reserve Officer Training Corps of the Army, Navy, or Air Force, at the time of death under honorable conditions. (2) A "legal resident" of a state means a person whose principal residence or abode is in that state, who uses that state to establish his right to vote and other rights in a state, and who intends to live in that state, to the exclusion of maintaining a legal residence in any other state. (3) A "qualified veteran" means a veteran: a. Who served an honorable military service; and b. Who is a legal resident of North Carolina: (1) At the time of death, or (2) For a period of at least 10 years, or (3) At the time he entered the Armed Forces of the United States.(1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1051; 1993, c. 553, s. 24.)
§ 65-43.1. Eligibility for interment in a State veterans cemetery.
(a) The following persons are eligible for interment at a State veterans cemetery: (1) A qualified veteran; (2) The spouse, widow, or widower of a qualified veteran, or a minor child who is unmarried and dependent on the qualified veteran at the time of his death; and (3) An unmarried adult child of a qualified veteran when the child became permanently incapable of self-support because of a physical or mental disability before attaining the age of 18 years. (b) Only one grave site is authorized for a qualified veteran and his eligible family members. A grave site may not be reserved until the death of a person who is eligible for interment. When a death occurs and the deceased is determined to be eligible for interment in a State veteran cemetery pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, a grave site shall be assigned in the name of the veteran. (c) When an eligible family member dies before the qualified veteran dies, the veteran shall sign an agreement to be interred in the same plot with the family member before the deceased family member is interred in the veterans cemetery.(1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1051.)
§ 65-43.2. Proof of eligibility.
(a) The veteran, his survivors, or his legal representative shall furnish any evidence necessary to establish the eligibility of the veteran or the family member before the veteran or eligible family member may be interred in a State veterans cemetery. (b) The survivors or legal representative of the deceased shall notify the funeral director that the deceased is to be interred in a veterans cemetery. The survivor or legal representative shall furnish the funeral director with documentary evidence of the veteran's honorable military service and evidence to establish that the veteran is a legal resident of North Carolina. The funeral director shall notify the superintendent of the nearest State veterans cemetery to arrange for the interment and convey to the superintendent all evidence to establish the veteran's eligibility.(1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1051.)
§ 65-43.3. Bars to eligibility.
A veteran may not be interred in a State veterans cemetery under any of the following circumstances: (1) He was discharged or dismissed on the grounds that: a. He was a conscientious objector who refused to perform military duty; b. He was a deserter; or c. He was an officer who accepted his resignation for the good of the service; (2) He was convicted of subversive activities against the United States after separation from active military service; or (3) He was separated from the Armed Forces of the United States for the good of the service due to a willful and persistent unauthorized absence and issued a Clemency Discharge (DD Form 1953) pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 4313.(1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1051.)
§ 65-43.4. Disinterment.
(a) When a veteran fails to abide by his agreement to be interred in the same grave site as his previously interred eligible family member, the veteran, his legal representative, or his heirs shall have the remains of the family member removed from the cemetery at no cost to the State. (b) A disinterment may be permitted, at no cost to the State, when the following conditions are satisfied: (1) The disinterment is requested in writing and filed with the Program Director of the veterans cemeteries, the Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs, or the Division of Veterans Affairs; (2) The request for disinterment contains the notarized signature of the nearest of kin, such as surviving spouse. If the spouse is deceased, the signatures of a majority of the surviving children of legal age will be required; (3) The funeral director has obtained all necessary permits for disinterment.(1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1051.)
§ 65-43.5. Reinterment.
(a) The remains of a qualified veteran or the remains of an eligible family member may be moved to a State veterans cemetery for reinterment, at no cost to the State, when the following conditions are satisfied: (1) The superintendent of the State veterans cemetery has been presented with proof of eligibility in accordance with G.S. 65-43.2; (2) The reinterment is requested in writing and filed with the Program Manager of veterans cemeteries, the Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs, or the Division of Veterans Affairs; and (3) The request for reinterment contains the notarized signatures of the veteran or his legal representative, all living immediate family members, and any other interested living family member; (4) The request for reinterment contains a statement of the circumstances and reasons for reinterment; and (5) The funeral director has obtained all necessary permits for reinterment. (b) If permission for reinterment is granted, an agreement shall be entered into between the veteran or his living representative, all living immediate family members, and any interested living family members, and the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs.(1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1051.)
§ 65-43.6. State veterans cemeteries cost.
(a) There may be no charge for the grave site or the interment service of a qualified veteran. There may be a minimal charge, to be set by the Division of Veteran Affairs, for only the opening and closing of the grave of an eligible family member. (b) All other costs, including funeral expenses and costs of the headstone, transportation of the remains, or grave liner or burial vault shall be paid out of allowances by the Veterans Administration or private funds. (c) All costs resulting from damage to, or destruction or theft of a grave site, headstone, or any other grave monument may not be borne by the State.(1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1051.)
North Carolina Cemetery Act.
§ 65-46. Short title.
This Article 9 may be cited as "North Carolina Cemetery Act.”(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-47. Scope.
The provisions of this Article shall apply to all persons engaged in the business of operating a cemetery as defined herein, except cemeteries owned and operated by governmental agencies or churches. (b) Any cemetery beneficially owned and operated by a fraternal organization or its corporate agent for at least 50 years prior to September 1, 1975, shall be exempt from the provisions of Article 9 of this Chapter. (c) The provisions of this Article shall not apply to persons licensed under Article 13D of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes when engaging in activities for which a license is required under the Article.(1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, s. 1; 1995, c. 509, s. 135.1(i).)
§ 65-48. Definitions.
As used in this Article, unless otherwise stated or unless the context or subject matter clearly indicates otherwise: (1) "Bank of belowground crypts" means any construction unit of belowground crypts acceptable to the Commission which a cemetery uses to initiate its belowground crypt program or to add to existing belowground crypt structures. (2) "Belowground crypts" consists of an interment space in preplaced chambers, either side by side or multiple depth, covered by earth and sod and are also known as lawn crypts, westminsters or turf top crypts. (3) "Cemetery" means any one or a combination of more than one of the following in a place used or to be used and dedicated or designated for cemetery purposes: a. A burial park, for earth interment. b. A mausoleum. c. A columbarium. (4) "Cemetery broker" means a legal entity engaged in the business of arranging sales of cemetery products between legal entities and which sale does not involve a cemetery company, but does not mean funeral establishments or funeral directors operating under G.S. 90-210.25, when dealing between legal entities wherein one such entity shall be members of the family of a deceased person or other persons authorized by law to arrange for the burial and funeral of such deceased human being. The North Carolina Cemetery Act shall not apply to any cemetery broker selling less than five grave spaces per year. (5) "Cemetery company" means any legal entity that owns or controls cemetery lands or property and conducts the business of a cemetery, including all cemeteries owned and operated by governmental agencies, churches and fraternal organizations or their corporate agents for the duration of any sales and management contracts entered into with cemetery sales organizations or cemetery management organizations for cemetery purposes, or with any other legal entity other than direct employees of said governmental agency, church or fraternal organization. (6) "Cemetery management organization" means any legal entity contracting as an independent contractor with a cemetery company to manage a cemetery but does not mean individual managers employed by and contracting directly with cemetery companies operating under this Article. (7) "Cemetery sales organization" means any legal entity contracting with a cemetery which is exempt or not exempt under this Article to conduct sales of cemetery products, but does not mean individual salesmen or sales managers employed by and contracting directly with cemetery companies operating under this Article, nor does it mean funeral establishments or funeral directors operating under licenses authorized by G.S. 90-210.25 when dealing directly with a cemetery company and with members of the family of a deceased person or other persons authorized by law to arrange for the burial and funeral of such deceased human being. (8) "Columbarium" means a structure or building substantially exposed aboveground intended to be used for the interment of the cremated remains of a deceased person. (9) "Commission" means the North Carolina Cemetery Commission. (10) "Grave space" means a space of ground in a cemetery intended to be used for the interment in the ground of the remains of a deceased person. (11) "Human remains" or "remains" means the bodies of deceased persons, and includes the bodies in any stage of decomposition, and cremated remains. (12) "Mausoleum" means a structure or building substantially exposed aboveground intended to be used for the entombment of remains of a deceased person. (13) "Mausoleum section" means any construction unit of a mausoleum acceptable to the Commission which a cemetery uses to initiate its mausoleum program or to add to its existing mausoleum structures. (14) "Person" means an individual, corporation, partnership, joint venture, or association. (15) "Vault" means a crypt or underground receptacle which is used for interment in the ground and which is designed to encase and protect caskets or similar burial devices. For the purposes of this Article, a vault is a preneed item until delivery to the purchaser.(1943, c. 644, s. 2; 1967, c. 1009, s. 2; 1971, c. 1149, s. 1; 1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, ss. 2, 3.)
§ 65-49. The North Carolina Cemetery Commission.
There is hereby established in the Department of Commerce a North Carolina Cemetery Commission with the power and duty to adopt rules and regulations to be followed in the enforcement of this Article.(1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1989, c. 751, s. 7(5); 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 959, s. 19.)
§ 65-50. Cemetery Commission; members, selection, quorum.
The Cemetery Commission shall consist of seven members appointed by the Governor. Two members shall be owners or managers of cemeteries in North Carolina. Three members shall be selected from six nominees submitted by the North Carolina Cemetery Association. Two members shall be public members who have no financial interest in, and are not involved in management of, any cemetery or funeral related business. Four members of the initial Commission shall be appointed for a term to expire June 30, 1977, and three members shall be appointed for a term to expire June 30, 1976. At the end of the respective terms of office of the initial members of the Commission, their successors shall be nominated in the same manner, selected from the same categories and appointed for terms of four years and until their successors are appointed and qualified. Any appointment to fill a vacancy on the Commission created by the resignation, dismissal, death or disability of a member shall be for the balance of the unexpired term. The Governor shall have the power to remove any member of the Commission from office for misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance according to the provisions of G.S. 143B-13 of the Executive Organization Act of 1973. A majority of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. At the first meeting of the Commission held after September 1, 1975, the Commission shall elect one of its members as its chairman and another as its vice-chairman, both to serve through June 30 of the next following year. Thereafter, at its first meeting held on or after July 1 of each year, the Commission shall elect from its members a chairman and vice-chairman to serve through June 30 of the next following year.(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-51. Principal office.
The principal office of the Commission shall be in the City of Raleigh, North Carolina. Notice of all regular and special meetings of the Commission shall be advertised 10 or more days in advance in at least three newspapers in North Carolina having inter-county circulation in the State. Each member of the Commission shall receive per diem and allowances in accordance with G.S. 138-5. The administrator of the Commission, other employees required to attend and legal counsel to the Commission shall be entitled to actual expenses while attending regular or special meetings of the Commission held other than in Raleigh, North Carolina. All expenses of the Commission shall be paid from funds coming to the Commission pursuant to this Article.(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-52. Regular and special meetings.
The Cemetery Commission shall meet at least once in each quarter and may hold special meetings at any time and place within the State at the call of the chairman or upon the written request of at least four members.(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-53. Powers.
In addition to other powers conferred by this Article, the Cemetery Commission shall have the following powers and duties: (1) The administrator shall be appointed by the Governor upon recommendation of the Cemetery Commission. The compensation of the administrator and such other personnel as is necessary to operate the Commission is subject to the provisions of Chapter 126 of the General Statutes of North Carolina. The Commission is authorized and empowered to employ such staff, including legal counsel, as may be necessary. (2) To examine a cemetery company's records when a person applies for a change of control of the company. (3) Investigate, upon its own initiative or upon a verified complaint in writing, the actions of any person engaged in the business or acting in the capacity of a licensee under this Article. The license of a licensee may be revoked or suspended for a period not exceeding two years, or until compliance with a lawful order imposed in the final order of suspension, or both, where the licensee in performing or attempting to perform any of the acts specified in this Article has been guilty of: a. Failing to pay the fees required herein; b. Failing to make any reports required by this Article; c. Failing to remit to the care and maintenance trust fund, merchandise trust fund, or preconstruction trust fund the required amounts; d. Making any substantial misrepresentation; e. Making any false statement of a character likely to influence or persuade; f. A continued and flagrant course of misrepresentation or making of false promises through cemetery agents or salesmen; g. Violating any provision of this Article or rule promulgated by the Commission; or h. Any other conduct, whether of the same or a different character than specified in this section, which constitutes fraud or dishonest dealing. (4) In all proceedings under this Article for the revocation or suspension of licenses, the provisions of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes shall be applicable. (5) At such time as the Commission finds it necessary it may bring an action in the name of the State in the court of the county in which the place of business is located against such person to enjoin such person from engaging in or continuing such violation or doing any act or acts in furtherance thereof. In any such action, an order or judgment may be entered awarding such temporary or permanent injunction as may be deemed proper; provided, that before any such action is brought the Commission shall give the cemetery at least 20 days' notice in writing, stating the alleged violation and giving the cemetery an opportunity within the 20-day period to cure the violation. In addition to all other means provided by law for the enforcement of a temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, or permanent injunction, the court shall have the power and jurisdiction to impound and to appoint a receiver for the property and business of the defendant, including books, papers, documents, and records appertaining thereto or so much thereof as the court may deem reasonably necessary to prevent further violation of this Article through or by means of the use of said property and business. The Commission may institute proceedings against the cemetery or its officers, whereafter an examination, pursuant to this Article, a shortage in the care and maintenance trust fund, merchandise trust fund or mausoleum and belowground crypts preconstruction trust fund is discovered, to recover said shortage. (6) Whenever any special additional audit or examination of a licensee's premises, facilities, books or records is necessary because of the failure of the licensee to comply with the requirements imposed in this Article or by the rules and regulations of the Commission, to charge a fee based on the cost of the special examination or audit, taking into consideration the salary of any employees involved in the special audit or examination and any expenses incurred. (7) Promulgate rules and regulations requiring licensees to file with the Commission plans and specifications for the minimum quality of any product sold. The sale of any product for which plans and specifications required by the rules and regulations have not been filed or sale of any product of a lesser quality than the plans and specifications filed with the Commission is a violation of this Article. (8) When the Commission finds that failure by a licensee to maintain a cemetery properly has caused that cemetery to be a public nuisance or a health or safety hazard, the Commission may bring an action for injunctive relief, against the responsible licensee, in the superior court of the county in which the cemetery or any part thereof is located.(1943, c. 644, s. 17; 1971, c. 1149, s. 8; 1973, c. 732, s. 2; 1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, ss. 4-6; 1979, c. 888, ss. 1-3; 1981 (Reg. Sess., 1982), c. 1153; 1987, c. 488, s. 8, 827, s. 1; 1991, c. 653, s. 3.)
§ 65-54. Annual budget of Commission; collection of funds.
The Commission shall prepare an annual budget and shall collect the sums of money required for this budget from yearly fees and from any other sources provided in this Article. On or before July 1 of each year, each licensed cemetery shall pay a license fee to be set by the Commission in an amount not to exceed three hundred dollars ($300.00). In addition, each licensed cemetery shall pay to the Commission an inspection fee for each grave space, niche, or mausoleum crypt sold and shall pay a fee for each vault, niche, belowground crypt, mausoleum crypt, memorial, or opening and closing of a grave space that is included in a preneed cemetery contract. The inspection fee for each grave space, niche, or mausoleum crypt is payable when the item is sold and may not exceed two dollars ($2.00). The fee for each of the listed items that are included in a preneed cemetery contract is payable when the contract is made and may not exceed five dollars ($5.00).(1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, s. 7; 1987, c. 488, s. 1; 1991, c. 653, s. 1.)
§ 65-55. License; cemetery company.
(a) No legal entity shall engage in the business of operating a cemetery company except as authorized by this Article and without first obtaining a license from the Commission. (b) Any legal entity wishing to establish a cemetery shall file a written application for authority with the Commission on forms provided by the Commission. (c) Upon receipt of the application and filing fee of eight hundred dollars ($800.00), the Commission shall cause an investigation to be made to establish the following criteria for approval of the application: (1) The creation of a legal entity to conduct cemetery business, and its proposed financial structure. (2) A perpetual care trust fund agreement, with an initial deposit of not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) and with a bank cashier's check or certified check attached for the amount made payable to the trustee. The trust fund agreement must be executed by the applicant, accepted by the trustee, and conditioned only upon approval of the application. (3) A plat of the land to be used for the cemetery, showing the location of the cemetery and the access roads to the cemetery. (4) Designation by the legal entity wishing to establish a cemetery of a general manager. The general manager must be a person of good moral character and have at least one year's experience in cemeteries. (5) Development plans sufficient to ensure the community that the cemetery will provide adequate cemetery services and that the property is suitable for use as a cemetery. (d) The Commission, after receipt of the investigating report, shall grant or refuse to grant the authority to organize a cemetery based upon the criteria set forth in G.S. 65-55(c). (e) If the Commission intends to deny an application, it shall give written notice to the applicant of its intention to deny. The notice shall state a time and a place for a hearing before the Commission and a summary statement of the reasons for the proposed denial. The notice of intent shall be mailed by certified mail to the applicant at the address stated in the application at least 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. The applicant shall pay the costs of this hearing as assessed by the Commission unless the applicant notifies the Commission by certified mail at least five days prior to the scheduled hearing date that a hearing is waived. Any appeals from the Commission's decision shall be to the court having jurisdiction of the applicant or the Commission. (f) If the Commission intends to grant the authority, it shall give written notice that the authority to organize a cemetery has been granted and that a license to operate will be issued upon the completion of the following: (1) Establishment of the care and maintenance trust fund and receipt by the Commission of a certificate from the trust company, certifying receipt of the initial deposit required under this Article. (2) Full development, ready for burial, of not less than two acres including a completed paved road from a public roadway to said developed section, certified by inspection of the Commission or its representative. (3) A description, by metes and bounds, of the acreage tract of such proposed cemetery, together with evidence, by title insurance policy or by certificate of an attorney-at-law, certifying that the applicant is the owner in fee simple of such tract of land, which must contain not less than 30 acres, and that the title to not less than 30 acres is free and clear of all encumbrances. In counties with a population of less than 35,000 population according to the latest federal decennial census the tract need be only 15 acres. (4) A plat of the cemetery showing the number and location of all lots surveyed and permanently staked for sale.(1943, c. 644, s. 9; 1957, c. 529, s. 3; 1967, c. 1009, s. 9; 1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, s. 8; 1987, c. 488, s. 2; 1991, c. 653, s. 2.)
§ 65-56. Existing companies; effect of Article.
Existing cemetery companies at the time of the adoption of this Chapter shall continue in full force and effect and be granted a license but shall hereafter be operated in accordance with the provisions of Article 9 of this Chapter.(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-57. Licenses for sales organizations, management organizations and brokers.
(a) No legal entity shall engage in the business of a cemetery sales organization, a cemetery management organization or a cemetery broker except as authorized by this Article, and without first obtaining a license from the Commission. (b) Any legal entity wishing to establish and operate the business of a cemetery sales organization, a cemetery management organization or a cemetery broker shall file a written application for authority with the Commission on forms provided by the Commission which must contain such of the following documents and information as may be required by the Commission: (1) The appointment of a North Carolina resident to receive service of any lawful process in any noncriminal proceedings arising under this Chapter against the applicant, its principal owners, principal stockholders, directors and general manager or their personal representatives. (2) The states or other jurisdictions in which the applicant presently is conducting the business activity applied for or other similar businesses and any adverse order, judgment or decree entered against the applicant in each jurisdiction or by any court. (3) The applicant's name, address and the form, date and jurisdiction of the organization and the address of each of its offices within or without this State. (4) The name, address, principal occupation for the past five years of every director and officer of the applicant or person occupying a similar status or performing similar functions. (5) Copies of the articles of incorporation or articles of partnership or joint venture agreement or other instrument establishing the legal entity of the applicant. (c) The application shall be accompanied by an initial filing fee of four hundred dollars ($400.00) for cemetery sales organization and cemetery management organization and an initial filing fee of two hundred dollars ($200.00) for a cemetery broker. If ninety percent (90%) or more of the applicant is owned by an existing cemetery company operating under the North Carolina Cemetery Act, then the initial filing fee shall be one half of the sums set out herein. On or before July 1 of each year, each licensed cemetery sales organization, cemetery management organization, or cemetery broker shall pay a license renewal fee of one hundred dollars ($100.00) per year. (d) Upon receipt of the application and filing fee, the Commission shall cause an investigation to be made of the legal entity to conduct the business applied for and the qualification of said legal entity to do business in North Carolina. (e) The Commission, after receipt of the investigation report, shall grant or refuse to grant the authority to organize the organization applied for after it determines that the applicant possesses good character and general fitness or, in the case of a business association, employs and is directed by personnel of good character and general fitness. (f) If the Commission intends to deny an application, it shall give written notice to the applicant of its intention to deny. The notice shall state a time and a place for hearing before the Commission and a summary statement of the reasons for the proposed denial. The notice of intent shall be mailed by certified mail to the applicant at the address stated in the application at least 15 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. Any appeals from the Commission's decision shall be to the court having jurisdiction of the applicant, or in the event of an out-of-state applicant, then to the court having jurisdiction of the Commission. (g) If the Commission intends to grant the authority, it shall give written notice that the authority to organize the business applied for has been granted and that a license to operate will be issued upon presentment to the Commission of a statement of employment between the applicant and the cemetery or cemeteries to be serviced thereby. (h) Any person or any cemetery sales organization or any cemetery management organization or any cemetery broker violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and shall be subject to revocation of the license to operate.(1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, ss. 9, 10; 1993, c. 539, s. 500; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
§ 65-58. Licenses for persons selling preneed grave space.
(a) No person shall offer to sell preneed grave spaces, mausoleum crypts, niches, memorials, vaults or any other preneed cemetery merchandise or services under any plan authorized for any cemetery, cemetery sales group, or cemetery management group, before obtaining a license from the Commission. (b) Persons wishing to obtain a license shall file a written application with the Commission on forms provided by the Commission. The Commission may require such information and documents as it deems necessary to protect the public interest. (c) The application shall be accompanied by a filing fee of fifteen dollars ($15.00) to cover the expenses of processing and investigation. After processing and investigation the Commission shall grant, or refuse to grant, the license applied for. The annual license fee shall be set by the Commission but shall not exceed ten dollars ($10.00). (d) If the Commission refuses to grant the license applied for, it shall give written notice to the applicant. The notice shall state a time and a place for hearing before the Commission, and a summary statement of the reasons for the refusal to grant the license. The notice shall be mailed by registered mail or certified mail to the applicant at the address stated in the application at least 30 days prior to the scheduled hearing date. (e) If the Commission intends to grant the license, it shall give written notice that the license will be issued upon presentment to the Commission of a duly executed statement of employment between the applicant and the cemetery or cemeteries to be serviced thereby. (f) The provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes of North Carolina relating to "Judicial Review" shall apply to appeals or petitions for judicial review by any person or persons aggrieved by an order or decision of the Commission. (g) Repealed by Session Laws 1977, c. 686, s. 12.(1943, c. 644, s. 15; 1967, c. 1009, s. 14; 1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, ss. 11, 12; 1987, c. 827, s. 1.)
§ 65-59. Application for a change of control; filing fee.
A person who proposes to acquire control of an existing cemetery company, whether by purchasing the capital stock of the company, purchasing an owner's interest in the company, or otherwise acting to effectively change the control of the company, shall first make application on a form supplied by the Commission for a certificate of approval of the proposed change of control. The application shall contain the name and address of each proposed new owner. The Commission shall issue a certificate of approval only after it determines that the proposed new owners are qualified by character, experience, and financial responsibility to control and operate the cemetery company in a legal and proper manner, and that the interest of the public generally will not be jeopardized by the proposed change in control. An application for approval of a change of control must be completed and accompanied by a filing fee of two hundred dollars ($200.00).(1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1987, c. 488, s. 4; 1991, c. 653, s. 4.)
§ 65-60. Records.
A record shall be kept of every burial in the cemetery of a cemetery company, showing the date of burial, name of the person buried, together with lot, plot, and space in which such burial was made therein. All sales, trust funds, accounting records, and all other records of the licensee shall be available at the licensee's principal place of business in this State and shall be readily available at all reasonable times for examination by an authorized representative of the Commission.(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-60.1. Trustees; qualifications; examination of records; enforcement.
(a) The term "corporate trustee" as used in this Article shall mean either a bank or trust company authorized to do business in North Carolina under the supervision of the Commissioner of Banks or any other corporate entity; provided that any corporate entity other than a bank or trust company which acts as trustee under this Article shall first be approved by the Cemetery Commission and shall be subject to supervision by the Cemetery Commission as provided herein. (b) Any corporate entity, other than a bank or trust company, which desires to act as trustee for cemetery funds under this Article shall make application to the Commission for approval. The Commission shall approve the trustee when it has become satisfied that: (1) The applicant employs and is directed by persons who are qualified by character, experience, and financial responsibility to care for and invest the funds of others. (2) The applicant will perform its duties in a proper and legal manner and the trust funds and interest of the public generally will not be jeopardized. (3) The applicant will act as trustee for cemetery funds which will exceed five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) in the aggregate. (4) The applicant is authorized to do business in North Carolina and has adequate facilities to perform its duties as trustee. (c) Any trustee under this Article, other than a bank or trust company under the supervision of the Commissioner of Banks, shall maintain records relative to cemetery trust funds as the Commission may by regulation prescribe. The records shall be available at the trustee's place of business in North Carolina and shall be available at all reasonable times for examination by a representative of the Commission. The records shall be audited annually, within 90 days from the end of the trust fund's fiscal year, by an independent certified public accountant, and a copy of the audit report shall be promptly forwarded to the Commission. (d) Whenever it appears that an officer, director, or employee of a trustee, other than a bank or trust company, is dishonest, incompetent, or reckless in the management of a cemetery trust fund, the Commission may bring an action in the courts to remove the trustee and to impound the property and business of the trustee as may be reasonably necessary to protect the trust funds. (e) Any trustee shall invest and reinvest cemetery trust funds in the same manner as provided by law for the investment of trust funds by the clerk of the superior court; provided, however, that cemetery trust funds held in a fund designated as Trust Fund "A" pursuant to G.S. 65- 64(e) may be invested and reinvested in accordance with G.S. 36A-2.(1977, c. 686, s. 15; 1979, c. 888, s. 9; 1995, c. 509, s. 135.3(a).)
§ 65-61. Required trust fund for care and maintenance; remedy of Commission for noncompliance.
No cemetery company shall be permitted to establish, or operate if already established, a cemetery unless provision is made for the future care and maintenance of such cemetery by establishing a trust fund and designating a corporate trustee to administer said fund in accordance with a written trust agreement. If any cemetery company refuses or otherwise fails to provide or maintain an adequate care and maintenance trust fund in accordance with the provisions of this Article, the Commission, after reasonable notice, shall proceed to enforce compliance under the powers vested in it under this Article; provided any nonprofit cemetery corporation, incorporated and engaged in the cemetery business continuously since and prior to 1915 and whose current trust assets exceed seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000) shall not be required to designate a corporate trustee. The trust fund agreement shall contain and include the following: name, location, and address of both the licensee and the trustee showing the date of agreement together with the amounts required deposited as stated in this Article. No person shall withdraw or transfer any portion of the corpus of the care and maintenance trust fund without first obtaining written consent from the Commission.(1943, c. 644, s. 9; 1957, c. 529, s. 3; 1967, c. 1009, s. 9; 1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, s. 13.)
§ 65-62. Individual contracts for care and maintenance.
At the time of making a sale or receiving the initial deposit hereunder, the cemetery company shall deliver to the person to whom such sale is made, or who makes such deposit, an instrument in writing which shall specifically state that the net income of the care and maintenance trust fund shall be used solely for the care and maintenance of the cemetery, for reasonable costs of administering such care and maintenance and for reasonable costs of administering the trust fund.(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-63. Requirements for perpetual care fund.
A cemetery company may not cause or permit advertising of a perpetual care fund in connection with the sale or offer for sale of its property unless the amount deposited in the fund is at least forty dollars ($40.00) per grave space, niche, or mausoleum crypt sold. Nothing may prohibit an individual cemetery from requiring a perpetual care deposit for grave memorial markers to be deposited in the perpetual care fund so long as the same assessment is uniformly applied to all grave memorial markers installed in the cemetery.(1943, c. 644, s. 5; 1957, c. 529, s. 1; 1967, c. 1009, s. 3; 1971, c. 1149, s. 3; 1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1979, c. 888, s. 4; 1987, c. 488, s. 5; 1991, c. 653, s. 5.)
§ 65-64. Deposits to perpetual care fund.
(a) Deposits to the care and maintenance trust fund must be made by the cemetery company holding title to the subject cemetery lands on or before the last day of the calendar month following the calendar month in which final payment is received as provided herein; however the entire amount required to be deposited into the fund shall be paid within four years from the date of any contract requiring such payment regardless of whether all amounts have been received by the cemetery company. If the cemetery company fails to make timely deposit, the Commission may levy and collect a penalty of one dollar ($1.00) per day for each day the deposit is delinquent on each grave space, niche or mausoleum crypt sold. The care and maintenance trust fund shall be invested and reinvested by the trustee in the same manner as provided by law for the investment of other trust funds by the clerk of the superior court except that such investments may be made through means of a common trust fund as described in G.S. 36A-90; provided, further, that cemetery trust funds held in a fund designated as Trust Fund "A" pursuant to G.S. 65-64(e) may be invested and reinvested in accordance with G.S. 36A-2. The fees and other expenses of the trust fund shall be paid by the trustee from the net income thereof and may not be paid from the corpus. To the extent that the said net income is not sufficient to pay such fees and other expenses, the same shall be paid by the cemetery company. (b) When a municipal, church-owned or fraternal cemetery converts to a private cemetery as defined in G.S. 65-48, then said cemetery shall establish and maintain a care and maintenance trust fund pursuant to this section; provided, however, the initial deposit for establishment of this trust fund shall be an amount equal to ten dollars ($10.00) per space for all spaces either previously sold or contracted for sale in said cemetery at the time of conversion or twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), whichever sum is greater. (c) Repealed by 1991 (Regular Session, 1992), c. 1007, s. 35. (d) In each sales contract, reservation or agreement wherein burial rights are priced separately, the purchase price of said burial rights shall be the only item subject to care and maintenance trust fund deposits; but if the burial rights are not priced separately therein, the full amount of the contract, reservations or agreement shall be subject to care and maintenance trust fund deposits as provided herein, unless the purchase price of said burial rights can be determined from the accounting records of the cemetery company. (e) When the amount deposited in the perpetual care fund required by this Article of any cemetery company shall amount to one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000), anything in this Article to the contrary notwithstanding, the cemetery company may make all deposits thereafter either into the original perpetual care trust fund or into a separate fund established as an irrevocable trust, designated as Perpetual Care Trust Fund "A," and invested by the trustee, in accordance with G.S. 36A-2, as directed by the cemetery company. Funds in a trust fund designated as Trust Fund "A" may not be invested in another cemetery company. (f) For special endowments for a specific lot, grave, or a family mausoleum, memorial, marker, or monument, the cemetery may set aside the full amounts received for this individual special care in a separate trust or by a deposit to a savings account in a bank or savings and loan association located within and authorized to do business in the State; provided, however, if the licensee does not set up a separate trust or savings account for the special endowment the full amount thereof shall be deposited in Perpetual Care Trust Fund “A.”(1943, c. 644, s. 10; 1957, c. 529, s. 4; 1967, c. 1009, s. 10; 1971, c. 1149, s. 5; 1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, s. 14; 1979, c. 888, ss. 5, 6; 1987, c. 488, ss. 3, 6; 1991, c. 653, s. 6; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 1007, s. 35; 1995, c. 509, s. 135.3(b), (c).)
§ 65-65. Trust fund; financial reports.
Within 60 days after the end of the calendar or fiscal year of the cemetery company, the trustee shall furnish adequate financial reports with respect to the care fund on forms provided by the Commission. However, the Commission may require the trustee to make such additional financial reports as it may deem advisable.(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-66. Receipts from sale of personal property or services; trust account; penalties.
(a) It shall be deemed contrary to public policy if any person or legal entity receives, holds, controls or manages funds or proceeds received from the sale of, or from a contract to sell, personal property or services which may be used in a cemetery in connection with the burial of or the commemoration of the memory of a deceased human being, where payments for the same are made either outright or on an installment basis prior to the demise of the person or persons so purchasing them or for whom they are so purchased, unless such person or legal entity holds, controls or manages said funds, subject to the limitations and regulations prescribed in this section. This section shall apply to all cemetery companies or other legal entities that offer for sale or sell personal property or services which may be used in a cemetery in connection with the burial of, or the commemoration of the memory of, a deceased human being, but shall exclude persons holding a license under Article 13D of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes. (b) Any cemetery company or other entity entering into a contract for the sale of personal property or services, to be used in a cemetery in connection with disposing of, or commemorating the memory of a deceased human being wherein the use of the personal property or the furnishing of services is not immediately requested or required, shall comply with the following requirements and conditions: (1) The cemetery company or other entity shall deposit an amount equal to sixty percent (60%) of all proceeds received on such contracts into a trust account, either in the form of an account governed by a trust agreement and handled by a corporate trustee or in the form of a passbook savings account, certificates of deposit for time certificates, and/or money-market certificates with a licensed and insured bank or savings institution located in the State of North Carolina until the amount deposited equals sixty percent (60%) of the actual sale price of the property or services sold. Such accounts and/or deposits shall be in the name of the cemetery company or other entity in a form which will permit withdrawals only with the participation and consent of the Cemetery Commission as required by subdivision (4) of this subsection. (2) All funds received on account of a contract for the sale of such personal property or services, whether the funds be received directly from the purchaser or from the sale or assignment of notes entered into by the purchase or otherwise, shall be deposited into the trust account as required by subdivision (1) of this section. (3) All deposits required herein shall be made into the trust account so established on or before the last day of the month following receipt of the funds by the cemetery company or other entity. (4) Withdrawals from a trust account may be made by the depositor, but only with the written approval of the Commission or officer or employee of the Commission authorized to act for the Commission. Withdrawals may be made only upon delivery of the merchandise or services for which the funds were deposited, cancellation of a contract, the presence of excess funds in the trust account, or under other circumstances deemed appropriate by the Commission. The Commission shall promulgate rules and regulations governing withdrawals from trust accounts, including time and frequency of withdrawals, notice to the Commission prior to withdrawals, the number and identity of persons other than the owner who are authorized by the owner to make withdrawals, the officers and employees of the Commission authorized to approve withdrawals, and any other matters necessary to implement the provisions of this subdivision. Withdrawals will not be allowed if the amount remaining in the trust account would fall below sixty percent (60%) of all proceeds received on account of contracts for the sale of such personal property or services. (5) If for any reason a cemetery company or other entity who has entered into a contract for the sale of personal property or services cannot or does not provide the personal property or perform the services called for by the contract after request in writing to do so, the purchaser or his heirs or assigns or duly authorized representative shall be entitled to receive the entire amount paid on the contract and any income if any, earned thereon by the trust account. (6) Every year after September 1, 1975, the cemetery company, the trustee or other entity shall within 75 days after the end of the calendar year, file a financial report of the trust funds with the Commission, setting forth the principal thereof, the investments and payments made, the income earned and disbursed; provided, however, that the Commission may require the cemetery, trustee, or other entity to make such additional financial reports as it may deem advisable. (c) Whenever a contract for the sale of personal property and/or services allocates payments to apply to one item at a time under a specific schedule, the contract shall be considered divisible. Title to each item of personal property or the right to each item of services shall pass to the purchaser upon full payment for that item regardless of the remaining balance on other items under the same contract. (d) Any contract for the sale of personal property and/or services shall state separate costs for each item of personal property, for each act of installation required by the contract, and for each other item of services included in the contract. (e) All contracts for the sale of personal property and/or services must be printed in type size as required by the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq., and regulations adopted pursuant to that act. (f) In the event of prepayment, interest charged shall be no more than the interest earned on the unpaid balance computed on a percent per month basis for each month or part of a month up to the date of final payment. Any excess interest which has been paid by the purchaser must be refunded to him, his assigns, or his representative within 30 days after the final payment. No penalty or additional charge for prepayment may be required. (g) In lieu of the deposits required under subsection (b) of this section, the cemetery company or other entity may post with the Commission a good and sufficient performance bond by surety company licensed to do business in North Carolina and in an amount sufficient to cover all payments made directly or indirectly by or on account of purchasers who have not received the purchased property and services. Money received from the sale or assignment of notes entered into by the purchasers, or otherwise, shall be treated as payments made by the purchasers. (h) The Commission shall have the power and is required from time to time as it may deem necessary to examine the business of any cemetery company or other entity writing contracts for the sale of the property or services as herein contemplated. The written report of such examination shall be filed in the office of the Commission. Any person or entity being examined shall produce the records of the company needed for such examination. (i) Any provision of any contract for the sale of the personal property or the performance of services herein contemplated under which the purchaser or beneficiary waives any of the provisions of this section shall be void. (j) Repealed by Session Laws 1991, c. 653, s. 7. (k) Nothing in this section shall apply to persons or legal entities holding licenses under Article 13D of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes when engaging in activities for which a license is required under that Article. (l) If any report is not received within the time stipulated by the Commission or herein, the Commission may levy and collect a penalty of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) per day for each day of delinquency. (m) Within 30 days following the execution of a contract for the sale of personal property or performance of services, a purchaser may cancel his contract by giving written notice to the seller. The seller may cancel the contract, upon default by purchaser, by giving written notice to the purchaser. Within 30 days of notice of cancellation, the cemetery company or other entity shall refund to purchaser the principal amount on deposit in the trust account for his benefit on any undelivered merchandise or services. This amount (no other obligations owed the purchaser by the seller) shall constitute the purchaser's entire entitlements under the contract. The seller may not terminate the contract without complying with this subsection.(1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1979, c. 888, s. 7; 1987, c. 488, s. 7; 1991, c. 653, s. 7; 1995, c. 509, s. 135.1(j), (k).)
§ 65-67. Applications for license.
Applications for renewal license must be submitted on or before July 1 each and every year in the case of an existing cemetery company. Before any sale of cemetery property in the case of a new cemetery company or a change of ownership or control as indicated in G.S. 65-59, an application for license must be submitted and license issued.(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-68. License not assignable or transferable.
No license issued under G.S. 65-67 shall be transferable or assignable and no licensee shall develop or operate any cemetery authorized by this Article under any name or at any location other than that contained in the application for such license.(1975, c. 768, s. 1.)
§ 65-69. Minimum acreage; sale or disposition of cemetery lands.
(a) Each licensee shall set aside a minimum of 30 acres of land for use by said licensee as a cemetery, and shall not sell, mortgage, lease or encumber the same. (b) The fee simple title, or lesser estate, in any lands owned by licensee and dedicated for use by it as a cemetery, which are contiguous, adjoining, or adjacent to the minimum of 30 acres described in subsection (a), may be sold, conveyed, or disposed of, or any part thereof, by the licensee, for use by the new owner for other purposes than as a cemetery; provided that no bodies have been previously interred therein; and provided further, that any and all titles, interests, or burial rights which may have been sold or contracted to be sold in such lands which are the subject of such sale shall be conveyed to and revested in the licensee prior to consummation of any such sale, conveyance or disposition. (c) Any licensee may convey and transfer to a municipality or county its real and personal property together with moneys deposited with the trustee; provided said municipality or county will accept responsibility for maintenance thereof and prior written approval of the Commission is first obtained. (d) The provisions of subsections (a) and (b) relating to a requirement for minimum acreage shall not apply to those cemeteries licensed by the Commission on or before July 1, 1967, which own or control a total of less than 30 acres of land; provided that such cemeteries shall not dispose of any of such lands. A nongovernment lien or other interest in land acquired in violation of this section is void.(1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1991, c. 653, s. 8.)
§ 65-70. Construction of mausoleums and belowground crypts; trust fund for receipts from sale of preconstruction crypts; compliance requirements.
(a) A cemetery company shall be required to start construction of that section of a mausoleum or bank of belowground crypts in which sales, contracts for sale, reservations for sales or agreements for sales are being made, within 48 months after the date of the first such sale. The construction of such mausoleum section or bank of belowground crypts shall be completed within five years after the date of the first sale made; provided, however, extensions for completion, not to exceed one year, may be granted by the Commission for good reasons shown. (b) A cemetery company which plans to offer for sale space in a section of a mausoleum or bank of underground crypts prior to its construction shall establish a preconstruction trust account. The trust account shall be administered and operated in the same manner as the merchandise trust account provided for in G.S. 65-66 and shall be exclusive of the merchandise trust account or such other trust accounts or funds that may be required by law. The personal representative of any purchaser of such space who dies before completion of construction shall be entitled to a refund of all moneys paid for such space including any income earned thereon. (c) Before a sale, contract for sale, reservation for sale or agreement for sale in the first mausoleum section or bank of underground crypts in each cemetery may be made the funds (one hundred twenty percent (120%) of construction cost) to be deposited to the preconstruction trust account shall be computed as to said section or bank of crypts and such trust account payments must be made on or before the last day of the calendar month following receipt by the cemetery company or its agent of each payment. The trust account portion of each such payment shall be computed by dividing the cost of the project plus twenty percent (20%) of said cost, as computed by a licensed contractor, engineer or architect by the number of crypts in the section or bank of crypts to ascertain the cost per unit. The unit cost shall be divided by the contract sales price of each unit to obtain a percentage which shall be multiplied by the amount of each payment. The formula shall be computed as follows: Cost plus twenty percent (20%) divided by number of crypts = cost per unit Cost per unit divided by contract sales price = percentage Percentage x payment received = deposit required to preconstruction trust account. (d) The cemetery company shall be entitled to withdraw the funds from said preconstruction trust account only after the Commission has become satisfied that construction has been completed; provided, however, that during construction of the mausoleum or bank of belowground crypts the Commission may, in its discretion, authorize a specific percentage of the funds to be withdrawn when it appears that at least an equivalent percentage of construction has been completed. (e) If a mausoleum section or bank of underground crypts is not completed within the time limits set out in this section the corporate trustee, if any, shall contract for and cause said project to be completed and paid therefor from the trust account funds deposited to the project's account paying any balance, less cost and expenses, to the cemetery company. In the event there is no corporate trustee, the Commission shall appoint a committee to serve as trustees to contract for and cause said project to be completed and paid therefor from the trust account funds deposited to the project's account paying any balance, less cost and expenses, to the cemetery company. (f) In lieu of the payments outlined hereunder to the preconstruction trust account the cemetery company may deliver to the Commission a good and sufficient completion or performance bond in an amount and by surety companies acceptable to the Commission.(1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1977, c. 686, ss. 16, 17; 1979, c. 888, s. 8.)
§ 65-71. Penalties.
(a) Except as provided in this subsection, a person violating any provisions of this Article, of any order or rule promulgated under this Article, or of any license issued by the Commission is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Each failure to deposit funds in a trust fund in accordance with this Article is a separate offense. A person who has failed to deposit funds in a trust fund in accordance with this Article and whose delinquent deposits equal or exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) is guilty of a Class I felony. (b) The officers and directors or persons occupying similar status or performing similar functions of any cemetery company, cemetery sales organization, cemetery management organization or cemetery broker, as defined in this Chapter, failing to make required contributions to the care and maintenance trust fund and any other trust fund or escrow account shall be liable for any offense based on the failure and upon conviction for the offense shall be punished in the manner prescribed by law.(1943, c. 644, s. 14; 1967, c. 1009, s. 13; 1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1991, c. 653, s. 9; 1993, c. 539, ss. 501, 1281; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
§ 65-72. Burial without regard to race or color.
(a) It shall be the public policy of the State that all cemetery companies or other legal entities conducting or maintaining public or private cemeteries shall sell to all applicants and bury all deceased human beings on equal terms without regard to race or color. Anything contrary hereto is void and of no legal effect. Bylaws, rules and regulations, contracts, deeds, etc., may permit designation of parts of cemeteries or burial grounds for the specific use of persons whose religious code required isolation. Any program offering free burial rights to veterans or any other person or group of persons shall not be conditioned by any requirement to purchase additional burial rights or merchandise. (b) Any cemetery company or other legal entity violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and each violation of this section shall constitute a separate offense.(1975, c. 768, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 502; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
§ 65-73. Validation of certain deeds for cemetery lots executed by suspended corporations.
Any deed for a cemetery lot or lots which was executed prior to January 1, 1979, and which would have been valid if the charter of the grantor corporation had not been suspended at the time the deed was executed, is hereby validated.(1979, c. 225, s. 1.)
Access to and Maintenance of Private Graves and Abandoned Public Cemeteries.
§ 65-74. Entering public or private property to maintain or visit a private grave or an abandoned public cemetery with consent.
Any of the following persons, with the consent of the public or private landowner, may enter the property of another to discover, restore, maintain, or visit a private grave or abandoned public cemetery: (1) A descendant of the person whose remains are reasonably believed to be interred in the grave; (2) A descendant's designee; or (3) Any other person who has a special personal interest in the grave or abandoned public cemetery.(1987, c. 686; 1991, c. 36.)
§ 65-75. Entering public or private property to maintain or visit a private grave or an abandoned public cemetery without consent.
(a) If the consent of the landowner cannot be obtained, any person listed in G.S. 65-74(1), (2), or (3) may commence a special proceeding by petitioning the clerk of superior court of the county in which he has reasonable grounds to believe the deceased is buried, or in the case of an abandoned public cemetery, in the county in which the abandoned public cemetery is located for an order allowing him to enter the property to discover, restore, maintain, or visit the grave or abandoned public cemetery. The petition shall be verified. This special proceeding shall be in accordance with the provisions of Article 33 of Chapter 1 of the General Statutes. The clerk shall issue an order allowing the petitioner to enter the property if he finds that: (1) There are reasonable grounds to believe that the grave or abandoned public cemetery is located on the property or that it is reasonably necessary to enter or cross the landowner's property to reach the grave or abandoned public cemetery; (2) The petitioner, or his designee, is a descendant of the deceased, or that the petitioner has a special interest in the grave or abandoned public cemetery; and (3) The entry on the property would not unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of the property by the landowner. (b) The clerk's order may: (1) Specify the dates and the daylight hours that the petitioner may enter and remain on the property; (2) Grant to the petitioner the right to enter the landowner's property periodically, as specified in the order, after the time needed for initial restoration of the grave or abandoned public cemetery; or (3) Specify a reasonable route from which the petitioner may not deviate in all entries and exits from the property. (1987, c. 686; 1991, c. 36.)
Archives and History.
§ 121-8. Historic preservation program.
(g) Abandoned Cemeteries. -- The Department of Cultural Resources is authorized to take appropriate measures to record and permanently preserve information of significant historical genealogical or archaeological value when, in the opinion of the Department, any such information located within an abandoned cemetery is in imminent danger of loss or destruction because of the condition or circumstances of the cemetery. The Department may obtain access to any abandoned cemetery for the purpose of recording and preserving information of significant historical, genealogical or archaeological value pursuant to Chapter 15, Article 4A of the General Statutes: Provided, that prior to the requesting of the administrative warrant, the Department shall contact the affected landowners and request their consent for access to their lands for the purpose of gathering such information. If consent is not granted, the Department shall give reasonable notice of the time, place and before whom the administrative warrant will be requested so that the owner or owners may have an opportunity to be heard. Service of this notice may be in any manner prescribed by N.C.G.S. 1A-1 Rule 4(j). Any measures taken by the Department pursuant to this subsection shall be effected in such a manner as to cause as little inconvenience or disruption as possible to the owners of the land upon which the abandoned cemetery is located and of land necessary to obtain access to the cemetery. (1973, c. 476, s. 48; 1981, c. 215; 1989, c. 65.)
Roads and Highways.
Organization of Department of Transportation.
§ 136-18. Powers of Department of Transportation.
The said Department of Transportation shall be vested with the following powers:
(20) The Department of Transportation is hereby authorized to maintain and keep in repair a suitable way of ingress and egress to all public or church cemeteries or burial grounds in the State notwithstanding the fact that said road is not a part of the state-maintained system of roads. For the purpose of this subdivision a public or church cemetery or burial ground shall be defined as a cemetery or burial ground in which there are buried or permitted to be buried deceased persons of the community in which said cemetery or burial ground is located, but shall not mean a privately owned cemetery operated for profit or family burial plots.
Cities and Towns.
§ 160A-341. Authority to establish and operate cemeteries.
A city shall have authority to establish, operate, and maintain cemeteries either inside or outside its corporate limits, may acquire and hold real and personal property for cemetery purposes by gift, purchase, or (for real property) by exercise of the power of eminent domain, may devote any property owned by the city to use as a cemetery, may prohibit burials at any place within the city other than city cemeteries, and may regulate the manner of burial in city cemeteries. Nothing in this section shall confer upon any city authority to prohibit or regulate burials in cemeteries licensed by the State Burial Association Commissioner, or in church cemeteries. As used in this Article "cemetery" includes columbariums and facilities for cremation. (1917, c. 136, subch. 5, s. 1; 1919, cc. 136, 237; C.S., s. 2787; 1969, c. 402; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)
§ 160A-342. Authority to transfer cemeteries.
A city may transfer and convey any city cemetery property, together with any accumulated perpetual care trust funds set aside for the maintenance of the cemetery, to any religious organization or cemetery licensed by the State Burial Association Commissioner, upon condition that the transferee will continue use of the property as a cemetery, will perpetually maintain it, and will apply any perpetual care trust funds so transferred only for maintenance of the cemetery. (1917, c. 136, subch. 5, s. 1; 1919, cc. 136, 237; C.S., s. 2787; 1969, c. 402; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)
§ 160A-343. Authority to abandon cemeteries.
A city shall have authority to abandon any cemetery that has not been used for interment purposes within 10 years. Upon abandonment, all monuments, tombstones, and the contents of all graves within the cemetery shall be transferred at city expense to another city cemetery, or to a cemetery licensed by the State Burial Association Commissioner. After the transfer of monuments, tombstones, and the contents of graves, the city may take possession of, convey, or use the former cemetery property for any lawful purpose. (1917, c. 136, subch. 5, s. 1; 1919, cc. 136, 237; C.S., s. 2787; 1969, c. 402; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)
§ 160A-344. Authority to assume control of abandoned cemeteries.
(a)Whenever property not under the control or in the possession of any church or religious organization in any city has been heretofore set aside or used for cemetery purposes, and the trustees or owners named in the deed or deeds for the property have died, or are unknown, or the deeds of conveyance have been lost or misplaced and no record of title thereto has been found, and the property has been occupied and used for burial purposes for a time sufficient to identify its use as cemetery property, the city in which the cemetery is located is authorized to take possession of the land and any adjoining land not held by known claimants of title, have the property surveyed and lines established, and to designate and appropriate the property as a city cemetery. (b) The city may have the land subdivided and laid off into family burial plots, may sell any of the unused lots so laid off to any person for burial purposes, and may use the proceeds of the sale for the improvement and upkeep of the cemetery. (c) The city may appropriate and use funds for the improvement and maintenance of the cemetery, and all laws and ordinances applicable to city cemeteries shall apply to the cemetery from and after the date that the city assumes control of it. (1971, c. 698, s. 1.)
§ 160A-345. Authority to condemn cemeteries.
A city shall have authority to acquire title in fee simple by purchase or exercise of the power of eminent domain to any cemetery, graveyard, or burial place within the city and to operate and maintain the property so acquired as a city cemetery. This section shall not apply to a cemetery licensed by the North Carolina State Burial Association Commissioner, nor to property owned or controlled by any church or religious organization, unless the owner of the property consents to the acquisition. (1951, c. 385, s. 1; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)
§ 160A-346. Authority to condemn easements for perpetual care.
A city shall have authority to acquire an easement for perpetual care by gift, grant, purchase, or exercise of the power of eminent domain in any cemetery, graveyard, or burial place within the city. When a perpetual care easement is acquired under this section, all city ordinances concerning the care and upkeep of city cemeteries shall be applicable to the cemetery, and the income from city perpetual care trust funds may be used to care for and maintain the cemetery. This section shall not apply to a cemetery licensed by the North Carolina State Burial Association Commissioner or to property owned or controlled by any church or religious organization unless the owner of the property consents to the acquisition. (1951, c. 385, s. 2; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)
§ 160A-347. Perpetual care trust funds.
(a)A city is authorized to create a perpetual care trust fund for any cemeteries under its ownership or control, to accept gifts, grants, bequests, and devises on behalf of the perpetual care trust fund, to deposit any revenues realized from the sale of lots in or the operation of city cemeteries in the perpetual care trust fund, and to hold and administer the trust fund for the purpose of perpetually caring for and beautifying the city's cemeteries. The city may make contracts with the owners of plots in city cemeteries obligating the city to maintain the plots in perpetuity upon payment of such sums as the council may fix. (b) The principal of perpetual care trust funds shall be held intact, and the income from such funds shall be used to carry out contracts with plot owners for the perpetual care of the plots, and to maintain and perpetually care for the cemetery. (c) Perpetual care trust funds shall be kept separate and apart from all other city funds, and shall in no case be appropriated by, lent to, or in any manner used by the city for any purpose other than the perpetual care of city cemeteries. (1917, c. 136, subch. 9, s. 1; C.S., ss. 2810, 2811, 2812; 1927, c. 254; 1971, c. 698, s. 1.)
§ 160A-348. Regulation of city cemeteries.
A city may by ordinance adopt rules and regulations concerning the opening of graves, the erection of tombstones and monuments, the building of walls and fences, the hours of opening and closing and all other matters concerning the use, operation, and maintenance of city cemeteries. The ordinance may impose a schedule of prices for lots and fees for the opening of graves in the cemetery, but it may not require the owners of plots to purchase monuments, vaults, or other items from the city. (1971, c. 698, s. 1.)
§ 160A-349. Reserved for future codification purposes.
§ 160A-349.1. Creation of board authorized; official title; terms of office; vacancies.
The governing body of any municipal corporation which now owns or shall hereafter own a cemetery is authorized, if it is deemed proper, to create a board composed of not less than three nor more than five persons, to be known as "Cemetery Trustees of the Town or City of________, North Carolina"; shall fix the term of office of each member, in no case to exceed five years, and in case of any vacancy by death, resignation or otherwise, elect a successor. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 1.)
§ 160A-349.2. Members to meet and organize; meetings; bond of secretary and treasurer; record of proceedings.
The members of said board, when properly elected, shall within 30 days after notice of their election convene and designate one of their number chairman, one secretary and treasurer, and provide for regular meetings at such times as the said board shall fix; it shall also fix the bond to be given by the secretary and treasurer, conditioned for the faithful accounting of all moneys which shall come into his hands; shall provide for special meetings, and shall cause the secretary to keep a record of its proceedings. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 2.)
§ 160A-349.3. Property vested.
Upon the creation of such board the title to all property held by the town or city and used for cemetery purposes shall pass to and vest in said board, subject to the same limitations, conditions and restrictions as it was held by the town or city; provided, that the governing body of the town or city may at any time by resolution direct that title to such property shall pass to and vest in the town or city itself, and in such event it shall be the duty of the board and its officers to execute all necessary documents to effect such transfer and vesting. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 3; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1247, s. 30.)
§ 160A-349.4. Control and management; superintendent and assistants; enumeration of powers.
The said board shall have the exclusive control and management of such cemetery; shall have the power to employ a superintendent and such assistants as may be needed, and may do any and all things pertaining to the control, maintenance, management and upkeep of the cemetery which the governing body of the town or city could have done, or which by law the governing body of the town or city shall hereafter be authorized to do. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 4.)
§ 160A-349.5. Rules continued in force.
All rules and regulations heretofore adopted by the town or city for the control, upkeep, management, and maintenance, as well as policing of the cemetery, shall continue in force and effect until and after the said board shall have changed the same as herein provided for. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 5.)
§ 160A-349.6. Rules for maintaining order and policing; force of rules; copy to governing body; publication.
The said board shall have power to adopt rules and regulations for maintaining order in the cemetery and policing the same, and such rules and regulations, when adopted, shall have the same force and effect as ordinances adopted and passed by the governing body of the town or city. When any such rules and regulations shall be adopted the secretary of the board shall transmit a copy thereof to the governing body of the town or city, and shall cause a copy to be published in some newspaper published in the town or city, and the said rules and regulations shall be in force and effect 10 days after their publication. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 6.)
§ 160A-349.7. Presentation of budget; details of budget; appropriation; payment to board.
Thirty days prior to the adoption of the annual budget by the governing body of the town or city, the said trustees shall present to such governing body a budget for the ensuing year, in which said budget there shall be set out in detail an accurate account of the receipts and expenditures of the board for the previous year, the estimated expense for the ensuing year, the estimated source of income from all sources, other than appropriation by the governing body of the town or city, any balance on hand, and such other information as the said trustees may think proper; and the said governing body of the town or city shall in the annual budget include such appropriation as it deems proper for the care and maintenance of the said cemetery for the ensuing year, which shall be paid over to the board of trustees in monthly installments. For purposes of the Local Government Budget and Fiscal Control Act (Chapter 159, Subchapter III), the board of trustees of a cemetery is a board of the municipal corporation establishing the board of trustees and is not a public authority as defined by G.S. 159-7. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 7; 1971, c. 780, s. 37.3; 1973, c. 474, s. 31; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1247, s. 31.)
§ 160A-349.8. Commissioners to obtain maps, plats and deeds; list of lots sold and owners; surveys and plats to be made; additional lots, streets, walks and parkways; price of lots; regulation of sale of lots.
The board of trustees shall obtain from the governing body all maps, plats, deeds and other evidences relating to the lands, lots and property of the cemetery; they shall also obtain from the governing body of the town or city, as nearly as possible, an accurate list of the lots theretofore sold, together with the names of the owners thereof. The said board of trustees shall from time to time cause surveys to be made, maps and plats prepared, laying out additional lots, streets, paths, walks and parkways; shall fix a price at which such lots shall be sold, which price may from time to time, in the discretion of the board, be changed; shall adopt rules and regulations as to the sale of said lots and deliver to the purchaser or purchasers deed or evidences of title thereto. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 8.)
§ 160A-349.9. Power to acquire land; adjacent property; disposal of money from lot sales; investments; income from investment.
The said board shall have the power to acquire additional lands for cemetery purposes, either by purchase or otherwise. In making such additional acquisitions of property, if possible, they shall acquire adjacent property; all moneys received from the sale of lots shall be held by the board of trustees intact and used for the purchase of additional lands; to beautify and otherwise maintain and keep the present property and the future acquired property. The board may, if it seems best to it, invest the said money in good, interest- bearing securities, payable to the said board, and the income derived therefrom shall be by the board used in the beautifying, maintenance and upkeep of the cemetery or cemeteries under its control. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 9.)
§ 160A-349.10. Power to condemn land; procedure for condemnation; board incorporated.
If it becomes necessary to acquire additional lands for cemetery purposes and the said board cannot agree with the owners upon the price thereof, the said board shall have the power to condemn the said lands for cemetery purposes, and in so doing the provisions of Chapter 40 shall be followed as nearly as possible, and to that end, and for that purpose, the board of trustees of any cemetery acquired under this Article shall be deemed and considered a corporation and a body politic. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 10.)
§ 160A-349.11. Price of lands included in budget.
If any lands are acquired by purchase or condemnation for cemetery purposes and the board of trustees shall not have sufficient funds with which to pay for the same, the amount necessary shall be included in their budget request, and the governing body of any town or city may make an appropriation to complete the purchase. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 11; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1247, s. 32.)
§ 160A-349.12. Power to accept gifts; exclusive use of gifts.
The board of trustees of any cemetery shall have the power to accept gifts, either by devise, bequeath or otherwise, and hold the same for the purposes expressed in the gift, and any moneys coming into the hands of such board by devise or otherwise shall be by the board used exclusively for the purposes for which it is given. (Pub. Loc. 1923, c. 583, s. 12.)
§ 160A-349.13. Sale of unnecessary property.
The board of trustees of any cemetery, created pursuant to this Article, shall have the power to sell at public auction, as provided by G.S. 160-59, any real property, title to which is held by it, which it shall determine to be unfit or unnecessary for cemetery purposes, except when such sale would violate the terms of any deed, gift or trust pursuant to which the property proposed to be sold was acquired. Any such sales and conveyances heretofore made by any such board of trustees are hereby validated. (1951, c. 87.)
§ 160A-349.14. Exercise of powers subject to approval.
The board may not act to acquire or sell land pursuant to G.S. 160A-349.9, G.S. 160A-349.10, or G.S. 160A-349.13 unless such action was approved in advance by the governing body of the town or city. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1247, s. 33.)
§ 160A-349.15. Termination.
The governing body of the town or city shall have the authority to terminate the existence of the board at any time. In the event of such termination, all property and assets of the board shall automatically become the property of the town or city and the town or city shall succeed to all rights, obligations and liabilities of the board. Further, in the event of such termination, it shall be the duty of the board and its officers to execute all necessary documents to effect the transfer of property and assets to the town or city. (1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1247, s. 34.)
As you can see from the above statutes this is a very serious matter and is not to be taken lightly by anyone!
So, as you can see from the NC General Stautes, we all need to act now to save and preserve
our precious cemeteries from extinction. Won't you please do your part to protect these cemeteries?
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me: Diane Siniard
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