N.Y. Religious Corporations Law Section 8-A
Reacquisition of a lot, plot or part thereof by a cemetery


A religious cemetery corporation may, upon application and approval by a supreme court, reacquire, resubdivide, and resell a lot, plot or part thereof under the following circumstances:

(a)

(i) If the records of the corporation demonstrate that the lot, plot or part thereof was purchased more than seventy-five years prior to the application of the corporation; and

(ii)

if no burials have been made in the lot, plot or part thereof or all the bodies therein have been lawfully removed; and

(iii)

if neither the owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof nor any person having a credible claim to ownership who has visited, made payments in respect of or engaged in any other proprietary activities with respect to the lot, plot or part thereof can be identified after a reasonable search conducted by the religious cemetery corporation, it shall be conclusively presumed that the owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof have abandoned their burial rights. A reasonable search consists of a search of:

(1)

all cemetery records to determine the name of the owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof, their last known addresses and all information available to the cemetery relating to any person buried in the lot, plot or part thereof and the names and last known addresses of any persons making inquiry about or visiting the lot, plot or part thereof;

(2)

a search for the death certificates and the probated wills of the owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof;

(3)

the posting of notice by the cemetery at the entrance to the cemetery, at the site of the lot, plot or part thereof to be reacquired and in the cemetery office, if any, of its intention to declare the lot, plot or part thereof abandoned;

(4)

the mailing of such notice certified mail with return receipt requested to the owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof and each person identified during the reasonable search at their last known addresses;

(5)

publication of such notice once in each week for three successive weeks, in two newspapers of regular commercial circulation by subscription and/or newsstand sale, to be designated by the county clerk of the county where the cemetery is located which in his or her judgment, given the ethnic, religious, geographic or other related demographic characteristics of the owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof and each person identified through the reasonable search and the predominant readership of such newspapers are best calculated to inform the owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof and each person identified through the reasonable search of any application pursuant to the provisions of this section; and

(6)

the preparation of an affidavit describing the steps taken by the religious cemetery corporation to ascertain the identity of and to contact the current owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof or next-of-kin thereof or any other persons identified in the course of the reasonable search who might have relevant information and the results of such steps. After the filing with the supreme court of proof of compliance with the above requirements in form and substance reasonably satisfactory to such supreme court and upon approval by the supreme court, the lot, plot or part thereof may be resold by the cemetery to any party in compliance with the cemetery rules and regulations provided, however, that any monument subsequently placed on such lot, plot or part thereof shall conform to the general appearance of any existing monuments in said section of lots, plots or parts thereof, if any.

(b)

If (i) the circumstances described in subdivision (a) of this section exist except that one or more burials have been made in a lot, and the last burial was made more than seventy-five years prior to the application, (ii) the lot, plot or part thereof can be subdivided to create new graves, (iii) the bodies have not been lawfully removed, and

(iv)

the cemetery submits an application to the supreme court which complies with the requirements set forth in subdivision (a) of this section, it shall be conclusively presumed that the lot owner has abandoned the right to make further burials in the lot, the lot may be subdivided, and the resubdivided lot, plot or parts thereof which do not contain the remains of the deceased persons may be resold by the religious cemetery corporation as provided in this section. Nothing in this section shall permit a religious cemetery corporation to declare abandoned a lot, plot or part thereof, where such lot, plot or part thereof was purchased for multiple depth burials and where one or more burials has occurred or authorized a religious cemetery corporation to remove a monument or other embellishment to facilitate the resale of such lot, plot or part thereof.

(c)

If the owner or owners of a lot, plot or part thereof can be identified, the religious cemetery corporation, with the consent of the owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof, the lot, plot or part thereof may be resubdivided, and the resubdivided lot, plot or part thereof which does not contain the remains of deceased persons may be resold by the religious cemetery corporation, provided, however, if no burial has been made in the lot, plot or part hereof, in the twenty-five year period preceding such application, the owner of a lot, plot or part thereof has notified his or her parents, spouse, issue, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and grandchildren, if any, of the application to the supreme court, and provided further, however, if a burial has been made in this lot, plot or part thereof during such twenty-five year period, the spouse and issue of such deceased person are also notified, and provided further, in either case the owner of the lot, plot or part thereof satisfies the supreme court that none of the persons notified have agreed within forty-five days of notification to purchase the lot, plot or part thereof at the price which the religious cemetery corporation shall certify under penalty of law shall be the price at which the lot, plot or part thereof shall be sold for after reacquisition. Any persons notified pursuant to this subdivision by the identified owner or owners of the lot, plot or part thereof must agree to erect a monument of reasonable uniformity to the immediately surrounding monuments as provided in subdivision (f) of this section before the persons notified may enter into an agreement to purchase the lot, plot or part thereof.

(d)

Upon the sale of a lot, plot or part thereof reacquired by a religious cemetery corporation under the provisions of subdivision (a), (b), or

(c)

of this section, the net proceeds shall be placed in a trust designated to provide future maintenance of the cemetery.

(e)

If the owner of the lot, plot or part thereof is subsequently identified, the religious cemetery corporation shall:

(i)

return all unsold lots, plots or parts thereof if any, to the owner if so requested; and

(ii)

with respect to any lots, plots or parts thereof that have been sold pursuant to this section, at the option of the owner of the lot, plot or part thereof, either (1) provide the owner, at no cost to the owner, with a lot, plot or part thereof comparable to any lot, plot or part thereof that was sold by the religious cemetery corporation or (2) provide the owner with the proceeds from the sale of the lot, plot or part thereof reacquired under this section with interest thereon from the date of the sale at six percent per annum.

(f)

Monuments to be erected on a lot, plot or part thereof, following the resale of a lot, plot or part thereof, shall conform to the rules and regulations or other requirements of the religious cemetery corporation and shall conform to the size, style, and type of monuments in the section of the cemetery where such resale occurs.

(g)

No corporation shall utilize the reacquisition provisions of this section in violation of such corporation’s sectarian burial requirements.

Source: Section 8-A — Reacquisition of a lot, plot or part thereof by a cemetery, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/RCO/8-A (updated Jan. 15, 2016; accessed Jul. 13, 2024).

3
Filing and recording certificates of incorporation of religious corporations
4
Property of unincorporated society transferred by its incorporation
4‑A
Age qualifications of voters
5
General powers and duties of trustees of religious corporations
5‑A
Investment of funds
5‑B
Any investment of the funds of any religious corporation heretofore made by the trustees thereof shall not be deemed to have been restric...
6
Acquisition of property by religious corporations for branch institutions
7
Acquisition of property by religious corporations for cemetery purposes
7‑A
Deeds for cemetery purposes
8
Lot owners’ rights
8‑A
Reacquisition of a lot, plot or part thereof by a cemetery
9
Removal of human remains from one cemetery of a religious corporation to another cemetery owned by it
10
Acquisition of property by two or more religious corporations for a common parsonage
11
Correction and confirmation of conveyances to religious corporations
12
Sale, mortgage and lease of real property of religious corporations
13
Consolidation or merger of incorporated churches
14
Judicial investigation of amount of property of religious corporations
15
Corporations with governing authority over, or advisory relations with, churches or synods, or both
15‑A
Consolidation of incorporated presbyteries
15‑B
Consolidation or merger of incorporated Presbyterian and Lutheran synods
16
Property of extinct churches
17
Property of extinct Free Baptist churches
17‑A
Property of extinct Seventh Day Baptist churches and Seventh Day Baptist religious societies
17‑B
Property of extinct Presbyterian churches in connection with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U
17‑C
Property of Lutheran congregations
18
Dissolution of religious corporations
19
Corporations for organizing and maintaining mission churches and Sunday schools
20
Corporations for acquiring parsonages for district superintendents and camp-meeting grounds
21
Corporations for acquiring camp-meeting grounds for the Reformed Methodist denomination
21‑A
Corporations for acquiring lands for parsonage or camp-meeting purposes for the Free Methodist denomination
22
Establishing and maintaining a home for aged poor
23
Powers of churches created by special laws
24
Government of churches incorporated prior to January first, eighteen hundred and twenty-eight
25
Pastoral relation
26
Worship
27
Reservation as to Baptist churches, churches of the United Church of Christ and Congregational Christian churches
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Electronic meetings

Accessed:
Jul. 13, 2024

Last modified:
Jan. 15, 2016

§ 8-A’s source at nysenate​.gov

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