2006 Louisiana Laws - RS 8:903.1 — Cemeteries; maintenance of vaults and wall vaults more than fifty years old; reclamation by authority

§903.1.  Cemeteries; maintenance of vaults and wall vaults more than fifty years old; reclamation by authority

A.  Cemetery authorities of municipal, religious, and nonprofit cemeteries may renovate, repair, and/or maintain vaults and/or wall vaults in question, at their own cost and/or in conjunction with any private, state, or federal grant or fund, vaults and/or wall vaults over fifty years old or vaults and/or wall vaults located in cemeteries more than one hundred years old, which have deteriorated or are in a ruinous state under the following conditions:

(1)  In the event that the cemetery authority has no evidence of ownership or interments in the vault and/or wall vault in question, it may immediately make the repairs, renovations, and maintenance and after same have been completed, publish as part of a general notice in the official journal of the parish or municipality a notice notifying all persons that if no one comes forward to the office of the cemetery authority with written evidence of ownership of the vault and/or wall vault in question within sixty days of the date of publication then the cemetery authority shall have the right to reclaim the ownership of the vault and/or wall vault in question and resell same.

(2)  In the event that there is evidence of an interment or interments in the vault and/or wall vault in question, and the cemetery authority has no evidence of ownership, the remains may be immediately removed and temporarily reinterred at another location, and the cemetery authority shall then have the power to immediately make the renovations, repairs, and maintenance necessary, and the same notice procedure set forth in Paragraph (1) shall be followed, except that all persons shall have six months to come forward to the office of the cemetery authority and present written evidence of ownership in the vault and/or wall vault in question, and in the event that anyone fails to do so within the time prescribed, then the vault and/or wall vault may be reclaimed by the cemetery authority and resold.

(3)  In the event that records of the cemetery authority indicate that there is a record owner of the vault and/or wall vault in question, the remains, if any, may be immediately removed and temporarily reinterred at another location, and the cemetery authority shall have the right and power to immediately make the necessary renovations, repairs, and maintenance, then the cemetery authority shall attempt to contact the owner by registered or certified mail at his last known address, and also publish as part of a general notice in the official journal of the parish or municipality in question a notice stating that in the event the owner or his heirs fail to come forward to the office of the cemetery authority within six months of the date of the notice and submit written proof of ownership, then the vault and/or wall vault in question may be reclaimed and resold by the cemetery authority.

(4)  In addition to the notifications called for in Paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) hereinabove, the cemetery authority shall also post a common or general sign or notice in a conspicuous place in the cemetery informing the public of the above so that claimants may come forward in the manner prescribed herein to assert their rights.

(5)  Under no circumstances shall the cemetery authority be prevented from doing repairs, renovations, and maintenance to vaults and/or wall vaults if same are necessary for the preservation of the section of vaults and/or wall vaults in question and/or the beautification of the cemetery.  If it becomes necessary to remove remains therefrom, the cemetery authority shall have this right and power as set forth above, but the remains must be kept separate until the herein prescribed time period has elapsed so that they can be identified.

(6)  After the renovations, repairs, and maintenance have been completed and the prescribed time period has lapsed, and the cemetery authority has reclaimed the ownership of the vault and/or wall vault in question, then all of the remains removed in accordance with the provisions of this Paragraph, shall be interred in a common burial place, but the cemetery authority shall retain records, tablets, stones, and other information regarding which vaults and/or wall vaults same were removed from and the interments therein, and the names of the deceased persons in question, if they are available.

(7)  Under no circumstances shall any of the above be construed in such a fashion as to prevent a cemetery authority from immediately making repairs, renovations, and/or maintenance of wall vaults in the event that same is necessary for the protection of the health and welfare of the general public.

(8)  If a person comes forward to the cemetery authority within the time periods prescribed in Paragraphs (1) through (3) hereof with satisfactory written evidence of ownership or title to the vault and/or wall vault in question, the cemetery authority may require that they pay their pro rata share, to be reasonably determined by the cemetery authority, of all actual costs and expenses of repairs, renovations, and maintenance before the said vault and/or wall vault may thereafter be used by them and their title thereto confirmed.  If there is some other impediment or objection to reuse of the vault and/or wall vault in question, they must still pay their pro rata share of all costs as set forth hereinabove to confirm their title to same, otherwise ownership or title may be reclaimed by the cemetery authority and the space resold.  Under no circumstances shall the owner of the vault and/or wall vault in question be able to object to the repairs, renovations, and maintenance done or to be done if it is necessary for the preservation of the section of vaults, and/or wall vaults in question, or the protection of the health and welfare of the general public.

B.  The provisions hereof shall be inapplicable with respect to any tomb, vault, or wall vault placed in perpetual care.

Added by Acts 1982, No. 564, §1.  Acts 1991, No. 289, §4; Acts 1992, No. 82, §1.

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