In this section, "funeral establishment" has the meaning given in s. 445.01 (6)
, except that "funeral establishment" does not include a building or part of a building that is erected under s. 157.11 (1)
for holding or conducting funeral services if dead human bodies are not embalmed, cared for, or prepared for burial or transportation, in the building.
No cemetery authority may permit a funeral establishment to be located in the cemetery. No cemetery authority may have or permit an employee or agent of the cemetery to have any ownership, operation or other financial interest in a funeral establishment. Except as provided in sub. (2m)
, no cemetery authority or employee or agent of a cemetery may, directly or indirectly, receive or accept any commission, fee, remuneration or benefit of any kind from a funeral establishment or from an owner, employee or agent of a funeral establishment.
A cemetery authority may accept a fee or remuneration from a funeral establishment or from an owner, employee or agent of a funeral establishment if all of the following requirements are satisfied:
The fee or remuneration is a payment to the cemetery authority for a burial in the cemetery authority's cemetery.
The fee or remuneration payment is made on behalf of the person who is responsible for paying for the funeral establishment's services.
The funeral establishment will be reimbursed for the fee or remuneration by charging the person who is responsible for paying the funeral expenses an amount that is identical to the amount of the fee or remuneration paid by the funeral establishment to the cemetery authority.
History: 1993 a. 100
; 2005 a. 266
If subsidiary corporations have prohibited financial connections, their corporate structure will not save them from the prohibitions of ss. 157.067 (2) and 445.12 (6). Those statutes are not unconstitutionally vague. Cemetery Services, Inc. v. Department of Regulation and Licensing, 221 Wis. 2d 817
, 586 N.W.2d 191
(Ct. App. 1998), 97-2115
A cemetery authority shall cause to be surveyed and platted by a land surveyor registered in this state those portions of the lands that are from time to time required for burial, into cemetery lots, drives and walks, and record a plat or map of the land in the office of the register of deeds. The plat or map may not be recorded unless laid out and platted to the satisfaction of the county board of the county, and the town board of the town in which the land is situated, or, if the land is situated within a 1st class city, then only by the common council of that city.
The plat or map shall show the exact location of the tract being subdivided with reference to a corner or corners established in the United States public land survey by bearings and distances, and shall show a small scale drawing of the section or government subdivision of the section in which the cemetery plat is situated, with the cemetery plat indicated. The plat or map shall include the certificate of the surveyor containing the name of the cemetery authority, the date of the survey, the surveyor's stamp or seal and signature and the surveyor's statement that the survey is true to the surveyor's best knowledge and belief.
The plat or map shall be made on a durable white media that is 22 inches wide by 30 inches long with a permanent nonfading black image. Seals or signatures that are reproduced on images that comply with this subsection have the force and effect of original seals and signatures. When more than one sheet is used for any one plat or map, they shall be numbered consecutively and each sheet shall contain a notation showing the whole number of sheets in the plat, and its relation to the other sheets. The sheets may be provided by the county through the register of deeds on terms determined by the county board. The surveyor shall leave a binding margin of 1.5 inches on the left side of the 30-inch length and a one-inch margin on all other sides.
The cemetery authority shall cause the plat or map to be recorded within 30 days of the date of its approval, together with the evidence of the town and county board's or common council's approval, which shall be a copy of the resolution adopted by the county board and by the town board, or by the common council, certified by the county clerk and the town clerk, respectively, or city clerk, and affixed to the map or plat. For failure to do so, the plat shall be void.
The cemetery authority may vacate or replat any portion of its cemetery upon the filing of a petition with the circuit court describing the portion and setting forth the facts and reasons therefor. The court shall fix a time for hearing and direct publication of a class 3 notice, under ch. 985
, and the court shall order a copy of the notice to be mailed to at least one interested person, as to each separate parcel involved, whose post-office address is known or can be ascertained with reasonable diligence, at least 20 days before such hearing. If the court finds that the proposed vacating or replatting is for the best interest of the cemetery authority and that the rights of none to whom cemetery lots have been conveyed will be injured, it shall enter an order reciting the jurisdictional facts and its findings and authorizing the vacating or replatting of the lands of the cemetery. The order shall be effective when recorded by the register of deeds.
This section does not apply to a religious society organized under ch. 187
After the plat or map is recorded under s. 157.07
, the cemetery authority may sell and convey cemetery lots. Conveyances shall be signed by the chief officer of the cemetery authority, and by the secretary or clerk of the cemetery authority, if any. Before delivering the conveyance to the grantee, the cemetery authority shall enter on records kept for that purpose, the date and consideration and the name and residence of the grantee. The conveyances may be recorded with the register of deeds.
If a cemetery lot or mausoleum space is sold by a cemetery authority and used or intended to be used for the burial of the human remains of the purchaser or the purchaser's family members, the purchaser's interests in the ownership of, title to or right to use the cemetery lot or mausoleum space are not affected or limited by any claims or liens of other persons against the cemetery authority.
Before a cemetery authority sells or encumbers any cemetery land, except for a sale described in par. (a)
, the cemetery authority shall notify the cemetery board in writing of the proposed sale or encumbrance. If within 60 days after the cemetery board is notified of the proposed sale or encumbrance the cemetery board notifies the cemetery authority in writing that the cemetery board objects to the sale or encumbrance the cemetery authority may not sell or encumber the cemetery land unless the cemetery board subsequently notifies the cemetery authority in writing that the objection is withdrawn. The cemetery board may object to a sale or encumbrance only if it determines that the cemetery authority will not be financially solvent or that the rights and interests of owners of cemetery lots and mausoleum spaces will not be adequately protected if the sale or encumbrance occurs. The cemetery board may, before the expiration of the 60-day period, notify the cemetery authority in writing that the cemetery board approves of the sale or encumbrance. Upon receipt of the cemetery board's written approval, the cemetery authority may sell or encumber the cemetery land and is released of any liability under this paragraph. The cemetery board shall make every effort to make determinations under this paragraph in an expeditious manner.
A preneed sales contract is enforceable against the successor in interest of the cemetery authority that made the sale.
A cemetery authority may sell its personal property at its discretion.
(5) Subsections (1)
and (2) (b)
do not apply to a religious society organized under ch. 187
, and sub. (2) (b)
does not apply to a cemetery authority that is not required to be licensed under s. 440.91 (1)
or registered under s. 440.91 (1m)
Alienation and use of cemetery lots.
While any person is buried in a cemetery lot, the cemetery lot shall be inalienable, without the consent of the cemetery authority, and on the death of the owner, ownership of the cemetery lot shall descend to the owner's heirs; but any one or more of such heirs may convey to any other heir his or her interest in the cemetery lot. No human remains may be buried in a cemetery lot except the human remains of one having an interest in the cemetery lot, or a relative, or the husband or wife of such person, or his or her relative, except by the consent of all persons having an interest in the cemetery lot.
History: 1989 a. 307
Improvement and care of cemetery lots and grounds. 157.11(1)(1)
Fence; funeral building.
A cemetery authority may enclose the grounds of its cemetery with a suitable fence, and may erect thereon a building for funeral services.
The cemetery authority may make regulations for management and care of the cemetery. No person may plant, in the cemetery, trees or shrubs, nor erect wooden fences or structures or offensive or dangerous structures or monuments, nor maintain them if planted or erected in violation of the regulations. The cemetery authority may require any person owning or controlling a cemetery lot to do anything necessary to comply with the regulations by giving reasonable personal notice in writing if the person is a resident of the state, otherwise by publishing a class 3 notice, under ch. 985
, in the county. If the person fails to comply within 20 days thereafter, the cemetery authority may cause it to be done and recover from the person the expense. The cemetery authority may also impose a forfeiture not exceeding $10 for violation of the regulations posted in 3 conspicuous places in the cemetery, recoverable under ch. 778
. Each employee and agent of the cemetery authority shall have constable powers in enforcing the regulations.
The cemetery authority may contract with persons who own or are interested in a cemetery lot for its care. The contract shall be in writing, may provide that the cemetery lot shall be forever exempt from taxes, assessments or charges for its care and the care and preservation of the grounds, shall express the duty of the cemetery authority, be recorded in a book kept for that purpose, and be effective when the consideration is paid or secured.
(4) Associations of relatives.
Persons owning a cemetery lot or having relatives buried in a cemetery may incorporate an association to hold and occupy a previously constituted cemetery, and to preserve and care for the same. Section 157.062
shall apply to the association. Nothing in this subsection shall give rights of burial. A municipality may lease a municipal cemetery to a cemetery association for preservation and may contract to permit the association to use cemetery funds therefor. Such leases and contracts may be revoked at will by the municipal board.
(5) Sum required.
The cemetery authority shall annually fix the sum necessary for the care of cemetery lots and care and improvement of the cemetery, or to produce a sufficient income for those purposes.
The cemetery authority may annually assess upon the cemetery lots amounts not to exceed the amounts reasonably required for actual and necessary costs for cleaning and care of cemetery lots and care and improvement of the cemetery. Notice of the assessment, along with a copy of this section, shall be mailed to each owner or person having charge of a cemetery lot, at the owner's or person's last-known post-office address, directing payment to the cemetery authority within 30 days and specifying that such assessments are a personal liability of the owner or person.
The cemetery authority may fix and determine the sum reasonably necessary for the care of the grave or cemetery lot in reasonable and uniform amounts, which amounts shall be subject to the approval of the court, and may collect those amounts as part of the funeral expenses.
Before ordering distribution of the estate of a deceased person, the court shall order paid any assessment under this section, or the sum so fixed for the care of the cemetery lot or grave of the deceased.
When uniform care of a cemetery lot has been given for 2 consecutive years or more, for which assessments are unpaid, after notice as provided in sub. (2)
, right to burial is forfeited until delinquent assessments are paid. When uniform care has been given for 5 consecutive years or more and the assessments are unpaid, upon like notice, title to all unoccupied parts of the cemetery lot shall pass to the cemetery authority and may be sold, the payment of principal to be deposited into the care fund. Before depositing the payment of principal into the care fund, the cemetery authority may retain an amount necessary to cover the cemetery authority's administrative and other expenses related to the sale, but the amount retained may not exceed 50% of the proceeds.
The cemetery authority shall take, hold and use any gifts, or the income and proceeds of any gifts, as may be made in trust or otherwise, for the improvement, maintenance, repair, preservation or ornamentation of any cemetery lot or structure in the cemetery, according to the terms of the gift and regulations by the cemetery authority.
(9) Handling of property received as gift. 157.11(9)(a)(a)
Before a cemetery authority receives a gift, the surety bonds of the cemetery authority shall be increased to cover such amount if it does not then do so. If the bonds are not filed, or the cemetery authority fails to do anything required by this subsection, the judge may appoint a trustee, and all property and money so given and evidences of title and securities shall be delivered to the trustee.
Deposited with the treasurer of the county or city in which the cemetery is located if the governing body of the county or city accepts such deposits.
If not invested as provided in subd. 1. a.
, otherwise deposited by the cemetery authority in an investment approved by the cemetery board if the care funds are segregated and invested separately from all other moneys held by the cemetery authority.
The manner in which the care funds are invested may not permit the cemetery authority to withdraw the care fund's principal amount. The income from the investment of a care fund for the care of cemetery lots may be used only to maintain the cemetery lots and grounds, except that if the amount of income exceeds the amount necessary to maintain the cemetery lots or grounds properly, the excess amount may be used to maintain any other portion of the cemetery, including mausoleums. If the care funds are deposited with a city or county, or previously deposited with a village, there shall be paid to the cemetery authority annually interest on funds so deposited of not less than 2% per year. The governing body of any city or county, or any village or town in the case of previous deposits, may determine to return all or a part of any funds deposited by a cemetery authority, and that cemetery authority shall accept the returned funds within 30 days after receiving written notice of that action. If the cemetery authority is dissolved or becomes inoperative, the county or city shall use the interest on the funds for the care and upkeep of the cemetery. Deposit shall be made and the income paid over from time to time, not less frequently than once each year, and receipts in triplicate shall be given, one filed with the county clerk, one with the cemetery authority and one given to the person making the deposit. Deposits shall be in the amount of $5 or a multiple thereof. Records and receipts shall specify the cemetery lot for the care of which the deposit is made. Reports of money received for care and of money and property received as gifts shall be made annually as provided in s. 157.62 (2)
Anyone having in custody or control any cemetery care trust fund received other than by testament shall, upon demand, deliver it to the cemetery authority to be handled as provided in this subsection.
Except as provided in sub. (11)
, any cemetery authority that sells a cemetery lot on or after November 1, 1991, shall deposit 15% of each payment of principal into a care fund under par. (a)
within 30 days after the last day of the month in which the payment is received, except as provided in sub. (7) (d)
and s. 157.115 (2) (f)
. The total amount deposited must equal 15% of the total amount of all payments of principal that have been received, but not less than $25.
(9m) Action by district attorney.
If any money or property is not turned over when required by this section, or default occurs under a bond, the district attorney, upon the request of the department of safety and professional services, shall bring action to recover.
(9r) Tax and other exemptions.
Gifts and trusts under this section shall be exempt from taxation and the law against perpetuities, accumulations and mortmain.
(11) Exemption for certain nonprofit cemeteries. Subsection (9g)
does not apply to a cemetery authority that is not required to be licensed under s. 440.91 (1)
and that is not organized or conducted for pecuniary profit.
See s. 863.09 (2)
for court order concerning care of graves.
See s. 701.11 (3)
for authorization to distribute small trusts to cemeteries.
See also chs. CB 4
, Wis. adm. code.
Sub. (9) (e) [now sub. (9g) (b)] neither requires nor authorizes payment to entities other than ch. 157 cemetery associations. Krawczyk v. Bank of Sun Prairie, 161 Wis. 2d 792
, 468 N.W.2d 773
(Ct. App. 1991).
Opening and closing of burial places.
If a grave, mausoleum space or other place used or intended to be used for the burial of human remains is located in a cemetery owned or operated by a cemetery authority, only the cemetery authority or a person designated by the cemetery authority may open or close the grave, mausoleum space or other place used or intended to be used for the burial of human remains.
History: 1993 a. 386
Reburial of human remains by a cemetery authority. 157.112(1)(1)
In this section, "rebury" means to disentomb, disinurn or disinter human remains that are buried in a cemetery and reentomb, reinurn or reinter the human remains in another grave, mausoleum space or other place used or intended to be used for the burial of human remains that is located in the same cemetery.
A cemetery authority may rebury human remains that are buried in a cemetery owned or operated by the cemetery authority for the purpose of correcting an error made by the cemetery authority in the burial of those human remains.
A cemetery authority may rebury human remains under sub. (2)
without first obtaining an authorization under s. 69.18 (4)
, but the cemetery authority shall do all of the following:
No later than 30 days after reburying human remains under sub. (2)
, provide written notice of the reburial to the coroner or medical examiner of the county in which the reburial occurs.
Notify one of the following by registered mail of the reburial:
If the person specified in subd. 1.
is not available, an adult son or daughter of the decedent.
If the persons specified in subds. 1.
are not available, either parent of the decedent.
If the persons specified in subds. 1.
are not available, an adult brother or sister of the decedent.
If none of the persons specified in sub. (3) (b) 1.
are available for notification under sub. (3) (b)
, the cemetery authority shall maintain a record of its attempt to provide notification under sub. (3) (b)
for not less than 10 years from the date of the reburial of the human remains under sub. (2)
A cemetery authority is immune from civil liability for an error that is corrected by a reburial of human remains under sub. (2)
The immunity under par. (a)
does not apply if the error was the result of reckless, wanton or intentional misconduct.
History: 1995 a. 357
Duty to provide for burials. 157.114(1)
In this section, "cemetery authority" does not include a municipality that takes control of a cemetery under s. 157.115 (1) (b)
A cemetery authority shall, insofar as practicable, provide for burials during each season, including winter. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to prohibit a cemetery authority from charging a reasonable fee to recover the costs related to providing for a burial during difficult weather conditions.
History: 2001 a. 16
Abandonment of cemeteries and cemetery lots. 157.115(1)(a)(a)
If any cemetery located on property not subject to condemnation under ch. 32
is abandoned, the circuit court for the county in which the cemetery is located may authorize the removal of bodies from the cemetery to another cemetery upon the petition of 6 or more residents of the municipality in which the cemetery is located. Prior to authorizing the removal, the court shall publish a notice to all interested parties as provided in s. 879.05 (4)
. The court may not authorize the removal unless suitable arrangements have been made to reinter the bodies.
When a cemetery authority fails to care for the cemetery for a period of one or more years, the municipality in which the cemetery is located may take control of the cemetery, manage and care for the cemetery and collect and manage all trust funds connected with the cemetery other than trust funds received by a will.
When a cemetery authority abandons or fails to manage or care for the cemetery for a period of 5 or more years, the municipality in which the cemetery is located shall take control of the cemetery, manage and care for the cemetery and collect and manage all trust funds connected with the cemetery other than trust funds received by a will.
Whenever any cemetery in a town is falling into disuse, or is abandoned or neglected, and by reason of the removal or death of the persons interested in its upkeep there exists no association or group with authority to transfer ownership and operation of the cemetery to the town, the town board, at the expense of the town, shall take charge of the cemetery and manage and care for it, and if the town board fails to take charge of the cemetery, the circuit judge may upon petition by 6 or more persons interested in the upkeep of the cemetery order its transfer to the town, including the transfer of all assets. Cemeteries so transferred shall be managed as provided for other town cemeteries.