Cemetery Law and Rules

oakwood cemetery

Some confusion exits for lot owners and families concerning their legal rights and responsibilities to cemetery lots. This guide has been prepared with the intention of eliminating this confusion and hopefully aid our lot owners in their concerns. Be sure to consult the actual Minnesota Statutes or attorney for your final decisions.

WHAT THE PURCHASER BUYS:

Purchaser buys the right of interment only, subject of course to the rules and regulations of the cemetery. Minnesota Statutes 306.09 allows for burial purposes and no other.

BURIALS LIMITED:

Burials are limited to the lot owner, or relative of the lot owner by blood or marriage. Minnesota Statute 306.29.

TAXES, MORTGAGES, ETC:

You are not allowed to mortgage your lots, nor can they be taxed or taken away from you to Pay your debts. Minnesota Statutes 306.29.

LIMITATIONS IN CERTIFICATES OF OWNERSHIP:

The cemetery is permitted by law to adopt rules and regulations for their government of the Cemetery, and the Certificates of Ownership are subject to these rules and regulations.

RULES:

Every up to date cemetery today has in force rules and regulations governing planting, landscaping, monuments or memorials, interments, dis-interments, conduct of visitors to the cemetery, speed limits, etc.. Lot owners are subject to all reasonable controls placed by the cemetery, by the laws and by the Certificates of Ownership. Minnesota Statutes 306.02,
306.25, 306.08, 306.09, 307.73.

DESCENT OF OWNERSHIP OF CEMETERY LOTS USE THE LAW IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF DEATH OF THE LAST LISTED LOT OWNER

In the beginning years of Oakwood Cemetery the decent of ownership provided that a cemetery lot descended to “the heirs” of the lot owner. Since many estates were not probated during those times, there was no court ruling as to the heirs to a particular lot were, therefor the cemetery needed to have other evidence as to who the heirs were. This problem was mostly eliminated by the change in the state law which became effective April 25, 1895. Minnesota Statutes 525.14 unless disposed of otherwise by Minnesota Statues 306.29 the new law provided for decent as follows:

  1. To the surviving spouse of the deceased
  2. If there being no living spouse, then to the eldest living son of the deceased.
  3. If there be no living son, then to the eldest living daughter.
  4. If there be no living daughter, then to the youngest living brother of the deceased.
  5. If there be no living brother, then to the youngest living sister of the deceased.
  6. If there be no surviving spouse, son, daughter, brother, or sister of the deceased, then to the cemetery association, in trust, for the burial of any such of the deceased’s relatives as the cemetery association shall deem proper. But such cemetery association, or with it’sconsent, any person to whom such a lot shall so descend, may grant and convey the same to any of the deceased’s sons, daughters, brothers, sisters or grandchildren, and such grantee
    shall thereafter be deemed the owner.

1935 CHANGE IN THE LAW:

The state legislator enacted a revised law, effective July 1, 1935 Minnesota Statues 525.14 as follows:

Subject to the right of interment of the decedent therein, a cemetery lot or burial plot unless disposed. Of as provided in Minnesota Statute 306.29 shall descend free of debts as follows:

  1. To his surviving spouse, a life estate with the right of interment of such spouse therein, and remainder over to the person or association who would be entitled.
  2. If there be no surviving spouse, then to eldest son.
  3. If there be no surviving son, then to his eldest daughter.
  4. If there be no surviving daughter, then to his youngest surviving brother.
  5. If there be no surviving brother, then to youngest surviving sister.
  6. If there be no surviving spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister of the decedent, then to the cemetery or private cemetery, in trust as a burial lot for the decedent and such of his relatives as the governing body thereof shall deem proper. Such cemetery association or private cemetery, or with its consent any person such lot shall descend, may grant and convey the same to any of decedent’s parents, brothers, sisters or descendants. A crypt or burial vaults owned by one person in a public or community mausoleum shall be deemed a cemetery lot. Grave markers, monuments, memorials and all structures lawfully installed or erected to be a part of and shall descend with such lots or plot.

1969 CHANGE IN THE LAW

Subject to the right of interment of the decedent therein, a cemetery lot or burial plot, unless disposed of as provided in Minnesota Statutes 306.29, shall descend free of all debts as follows:

  1. To his surviving spouse, a life estate with the right of interment of such spouse therein, and the remainder over to the person who would be entitled to the fee if there were spouse provided, however, if no person so entitled to the remainder of the fee survives, then the entire fee to the surviving spouse with the right of interment therein;
  2. If there be no surviving spouse, then to eldest surviving son;
  3. If there be no surviving son, then to his eldest surviving daughter;
  4. If there be no surviving daughter, then to his youngest surviving brother;
  5. If there be no surviving brother, then to his youngest surviving sister;
  6. If there be no surviving spouse, son daughter, brother, nor sister of the decedent, then if not sold during administration of decedent’s estate, to the cemetery association or private cemetery in trust as a burial lot for the decedent and such of his relatives as the governing body thereofshall deem proper. Such cemetery association or private cemetery with its consent, any person to whom such lot shall so descend may grant and convey the same to any of the decedent’s parents, brothers, sisters, or descendants. A crypt or group of crypts or burial vaults owned by one person in a public or community mausoleum shall be deemed a cemetery lot. Grave markers, monuments, memorials, and all structures lawfully installed or erected on any cemetery lot or burial plot shall be deemed to be a part of and shall descend with such lot or plot.

1981 CHANGE IN THE LAW

The Minnesota Legislature on April 13, 1981 amended the descent title law, eliminating the male preference. Minnesota Statutes 525.14 was changed as follows:

Subject to the right of interment of the decedent therein, a cemetery lot or burial plot, unless disposed of as provided in section 306.29, shall descend free of all debts as follows:

  1. To the decedent’s surviving spouse, a life estate with right of interment of the spouse therein, and remainder over to the person who would be entitled to the fee if there were no spouse, provided, however, if no person so entitled to the remainder of the fee survives, then the entire fee to the surviving spouse with right of interment therein:
  2. If there no surviving spouse, then to the decedent’s eldest surviving child:
  3. If there is no surviving child, then to the decedent’s youngest surviving sibling;
  4. If there is no surviving spouse, child or sibling of the decedent, then, if not sold during administration of decedent’s estate, to the cemetery association or private cemetery in trust as a burial lot for the decedent and such of the decedent’s relatives as a governing body thereof shall deem proper.

The cemetery association or private cemetery or with its consent any person to whom the lot shall descend may grant and convey the lot to any of the decedent’s parents, siblings, or descendants.

A crypt or group of crypts or burial vaults owned by one person in a public or community mausoleum shall be deemed a cemetery lot.

Grave markers, monuments, memorials and all structures lawfully installed or erected on any cemetery lot or burial plot shall be deemed to be a part of and shall descend with plot or lot.

STATUS OF HALF-BROTHER OR HALF-SISTER

Section 525.17, Minnesota Statute 1941 provides as follows:

Degree of kindred – the degree of kindred shall be computed according to the rules of civil law. Kindred of the half -blood shall inherit equally with those of whole blood in the same degree unless the inheritance comes to the intestate by descent, devise or bequest from one of his ancestors, in which case all those who are not of whole blood of such ancestor shall be excluded from such inheritance.

STATUS OF ADOPTED CHILDREN

If the child was legally adopted, he or she shall be treated equally with ones, own children in determining Descent of title to cemetery property.

PLEASE NOTE!

An Accurate family tree is a very good start for anyone trying to define the line of descent for lots that have not been used for many years.

The family tree should go back at least one generation earlier than the last known lot owner.

PRIVILEGES, RESTRICTIONS AND POLICIES INTRODUCTION

This guide was written to help give our lot owners a better understanding of the privileges, restrictions and policies of the cemetery. All cemeteries need rules and regulations to operate the cemetery within the laws of the state and to protect the rights of the lot owners.

The term lot owner shall be used to refer to those owning interment, inurnment, or entombment right in any grave, a niche in a columbarium, mausoleum, or other such structure on the grounds of the cemetery.

When a purchaser buys a cemetery lot he/ she, purchases the right of interment, inurnment, or entombment subject to the rules and regulations of the cemetery. Some lots are sold with rights to have a flush memorial only, while others may be sold with the rights to have an upright headstone, others with the right to have a monument.

Hopefully this guide will answer your questions regarding privileges, restrictions, and some policies of the cemetery. If you have questions, please contact the cemetery office to fully answer any questions you may have.

Please ask us about services we offer, such as annual watering of flowers, Fifty-Year Care of Urns, or raising your memorials.

Ask about our memorial tree program, you can have a tree planted in memory of your loved one.

DECORATIONS ON MEMORIAL DAY

Decorations are allowed on graves for Memorial Day holiday. They may be placed on the graves the Friday before Memorial Day and must be removed by the Sunday after Memorial Day.

TREES AND SHRUBS

No planting of trees or shrubs in the cemetery will be permitted without the consent of cemetery Management. All plantings will be done by cemetery personnel, and a fee may be charged for such Plantings, as determined by the Superintendent.

REMOVAL OF TREES OF STRUCTURES

  1. 1 Removal or trimming of any tree or shrub in the cemetery will be done by cemetery personnel, and a fee may be charged for this work.
  2. Removal of any structure affixed to the cemetery grounds will be done by cemetery personnel, and a fee may be charged for such removal.
  3. If any tree or shrub situated on any lot shall become detrimental to any adjacent lot or avenue, or unsightly or inconvenient, it shall be the duty and right of the cemetery to remove such trees or shrubs, or parts thereof. As in the judgement of the cemetery board members deemed unsightly, inconvenient or detrimental; and if any structure thereon shall become unsightly, inconvenient or dangerous, it shall be the duty and right of the cemetery to remove the structure from the cemetery.

RULES FOR VISITORS

  1. The grounds are open at all times for orderly person to visit the cemetery.
  2. No firearms will be allowed on the grounds except for military services.
  3. No fast or reckless driving will be allowed.
  4. No driving or parking on the grass will be permitted.
  5. Pets are not permitted in the cemetery unless kept inside a vehicle.
  6. All persons disturbing the quiet and good order of the cemetery by noise or improper conduct, will be compelled to leave the grounds.

RULES REGARDING BURIALS

  1. No burial will be permitted until the grave and interment fees have been paid.
  2. Concrete burial vaults are required on all full body burials.
  3. A recoverable container is required for all cremated remains.
  4. No burial will be allowed until such laws regarding burials, as may be in force, have been complied with.
  5. No burial, other than the lot owner(s) may be made except on written permission of the lot owner(s) being filed in the cemetery office.
  6. one full body and one cremated body, one adult and one infant, or two cremated bodies are allowed per
    lot, with each having a separate fee, the exception being an infant lot which will allow one infantinterment only.

RULES REGARDING SALE OF LOTS

  1. No grave will be sold for less than its listed price.
  2. Twenty-five percent of the price of lot sales will be set aside in the cemetery permanent care and improvement account.
  3. Individuals who own lots may sell them, and the transfer must be done through the cemetery office, per Minnesota Statutes, Section 306.15, and a fee will be charged for the transfer.
  4. The cemetery will buy lots back from the owners, please contact the cemetery office for the amount.

MAUSOLEUMS

  1. Tombs and mausoleums may be erected only in such places and in such style as shall be approved by the cemetery. Complete architectural plans and specifications must be submitted to the cemetery’s Superintendent upon application and prior to issuance of a construction permit.
  2. Before a mausoleum may be built a trust fund must be established with the cemetery. The income from the trust will be exclusively to maintain and care for the mausoleum. The amount of the fund will be determined by the cemetery management, but will not be less than ten percent of the total cost of the lot and structure.
  3. All mausoleums shall be centered and face the front of the lot.
  4. Upon completion of any vault in the mausoleum, one key to each lock must be deposited in the cemetery office, to remain in permanently in the custody of the Association.
  5. All remains must be in separate crypts, which can be hermetically sealed to the cemetery’s regulations.
  6. The cemetery reserves the right to modify these conditions if deemed necessary by cemetery

POLICY FOR RAISING OR LEVELING MEMORIALS

  1. The cemetery will raise flush memorials that fall below grade at no charge to the lot owner.
  2. Above ground memorials will be reset at no charge to the lot owner if the problem is a faulty foundation.
  3. A monument that is leaning will be straightened by the cemetery if the problem is a faulty foundation, and it is determined by the Superintendent to be a danger if left unattended, this will be done at no charge to the lot owner.
  4. Lot owners wishing to have work done such as a foundation with a was around it, to face a memorial in a different direction, or other work done to the memorial, should contact the Superintendent, however, there may be a fee charged for this work.

The work will be done only when we have the time.The cemetery normally does this work at no charge to the lot owner, but will not necessarily do the work for free if the problem is caused by conditions beyond the control of the cemetery, such as vandalism, storm damage, lack of proper maintenance, or other things we cannot control.The cemetery reserves the right to amend or eliminate this policy at any time without prior notice.

POLICY FOR GRAVE REPURCHASE

The cemetery is not required, and many cemeteries do not repurchase graves, however, it is not our wish to have a lot owner feel that he or she is stuck with an unwanted grave(s), so we offer this policy which.the Superintendent will administer. Columbarium niches are also covered by this policy. The cemetery reserves the right to not repurchase a particular grave or graves, and reserves the right to amend or eliminate this policy at any time without prior notice.

  1. 1 The cemetery will not repurchase grave (s) with a memorial or monument on them, unless the cemetery is given the rights to the monument or the memorial is properly removed.
  2. 2 The cemetery will not repurchase grave (s) that have been resold by the lot owner, except for the price paid by the person who originally bought from the cemetery, in accordance with numbers four or five of this policy.
  3. 3 The minimum price paid to repurchase a grave from the original purchaser will be fifty dollars.
  4. 4 Grave (s) originally sold prior to March 17, 1992 will be repurchased for the amount originally paid, with a fifty-dollar minimum.
  5. 5 Grave (s) originally sold after March 17, 1992 will be repurchased for an amount equal to seventy-five percent of the amount originally paid.
  6. 6 The cemetery will repurchase a Columbarium Niche back at 50% of the original purchase price.

AUSTIN CEMETERY ASSOCIATION, OAKWOOD CEMETERY, IS A NONPROFIT
CEMETERY ASSOCIATION GOVERNED BY A BOARD OF TRUSTEES.

Burial Rules and Visitor Rules from 1896 Oakwood Cemetery handbook

LAWS TO BE COMPLIED WITH.

No burial will be permitted in any lot in the cemetery, until such laws regarding burials, as may be in force in the city of Austin, have been complied with, and until the burial fees have been paid.

WHO ALLOWED BURIAL ON LOTS.

No burial other than the known family of a lot proprietor, will be allowed on any lot in the cemetery except on written permission of such lot owner, filed in the office of the association, and no lot owner will be allowed to dispose of any grave or graves on his lot for a remuneration.

BUT ONE BODY IN A GRAVE.

But one body will be allowed in a grave, except in the case of a mother and infant, in which case special permission must be obtained of the superintendent and an additional fee of $1.00 paid to cover expense of making second mound. Mounds will be made not to exceed 4 ½ inches in height, if desired.

NOTICE TO BE GIVEN FOR GRAVES.

Twenty-four hours notice for graves must be given, either at the cemetery or at the city office, or otherwise the management cannot guarantee to have them ready, and in all cases the box must either be sent at once or the exact size be left at the office.

BURIAL FEES.

Children 12 years or under……………………………………….$3.00
Persons over 12 years……………………………………………..$5.00

SINGLE GRAVES

Price of single grave, $5, which amount may be applied on the purchase of a lot in Oakwood Cemetery at any time, provided the remains are removed to said lot. No mounds will be allowed in the single grave section.

RULES for VISITORS

WHO ADMITTED.

The grounds will be open from 7a.m. until sunset, during any day of the week, and any orderly person may visit them.

CHILDREN.

Children under ten years of age will not be admitted to the cemetery unless accompanied by parents or guardians.

REFRESHMENTS.

No person with refreshments will be admitted to the grounds.

FIRE-ARMS.

No fire-arms will be allowed in the grounds except at military funerals.

FUNERALS.

Funerals on reaching the grounds will be under the charge of the superintendent or his assistants. Hack drivers Must remain by their horses while waiting, and hack owners will be held responsible for any damage caused by violation of this rule.

OMNIBUSES, SCHOOLS.ETC…

Omnibuses will not be admitted to the grounds, nor schools, nor any large assemblies of persons, except at funerals.

DOGS

Persons accompanied by dogs running at large will not be admitted to the cemetery.

FEES.

No money shall be paid to any workman or attendant on the grounds. Pay at the office and take a receipt for all money paid.

DISTURBERS OF THE PEACE.

All persons disturbing the quiet and good order of the place, by noise or improper conduct, will be compelled instantly to leave the grounds. Some of the foregoing rules may appear arbitrary; they are; however, no more so than those adopted and strictly enforced by the best cemeteries in the east.

For the proper management of a first-class cemetery like Oakwood, they are a necessity. They are for the protection of every lot owner and grave in the cemetery.

The officers of the association earnestly request every one, whether a lot owner or interested in the single graves, to aid them in enforcing these rules. Please report to the superintendent or at the office, any violation with names of offenders, if known. Touch nothing in the cemetery that does not belong to you. This is the only safe rule to adopt in visiting the cemetery, where the temptation for picking flower, etc.., is so great.