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157.115(2)(a)1. 1. "Abandoned lot" means one or more graves of a cemetery lot that is not owned by the cemetery authority of the cemetery in which the cemetery lot is located if those graves have not been used for the burial of human remains and if, according to the records of the cemetery authority, all of the following apply during the 50-year period immediately preceding the date on which the notice requirement under par. (c) is satisfied:
157.115(2)(a)1.a. a. No owner has transferred any ownership interest in the cemetery lot to any other person.
157.115(2)(a)1.b. b. No owner has purchased or sold another cemetery lot or a mausoleum space in the cemetery.
157.115(2)(a)1.c. c. No other grave in that cemetery lot or adjoining cemetery lot or adjoining mausoleum space that is owned or partially owned by an owner has been used for the burial of human remains.
157.115(2)(a)1.d. d. No grave marker, monument or other memorial has been installed on the cemetery lot.
157.115(2)(a)1.e. e. No grave marker, monument or other memorial has been installed on any other cemetery lot, in the same cemetery, that is owned or partially owned by an owner.
157.115(2)(a)1.f. f. No nameplate, monument or other memorial has been installed to identify the human remains that are buried within a mausoleum space, in the same cemetery, that is owned or partially owned by an owner.
157.115(2)(a)1.g. g. The cemetery authority has not been contacted by an owner or assignee or received any other notice or evidence to suggest that an owner or assignee intends to use the cemetery lot for a future burial of human remains.
157.115(2)(a)2. 2. "Assignee" means a person who has been assigned in the deceased owner's will or in any other legally binding written agreement, or who is entitled to receive under ch. 852, an ownership interest in the abandoned cemetery lot.
157.115(2)(a)3. 3. "Owner" means a person who, according to the records of the cemetery authority of the cemetery in which an abandoned cemetery lot is located, owns or partially owns the abandoned cemetery lot.
157.115(2)(b) (b) No cemetery authority may resell an abandoned cemetery lot unless the cemetery authority complies with the requirements in this subsection.
157.115(2)(c) (c) The cemetery authority shall mail to each owner, at each owner's last-known address, a notice of the cemetery authority's intent to resell the abandoned cemetery lot as provided in this subsection. If an owner is buried in the cemetery in which the abandoned cemetery lot is located or if the cemetery authority has any other evidence that reasonably supports a determination by the cemetery authority that the owner is deceased, no notice is required under this paragraph.
157.115(2)(d) (d) If no notice is required under par. (c) or if, within 60 days after notice is mailed under par. (c), no owner or assignee contacts the cemetery authority to express an intent to use the abandoned cemetery lot for a future burial of human remains, the cemetery authority shall publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the abandoned lot is located, a class 3 notice under ch. 985 that includes all of the following:
157.115(2)(d)1. 1. The location of the abandoned lot.
157.115(2)(d)2. 2. The name and last-known address of each owner.
157.115(2)(d)3. 3. A statement that, unless an owner or assignee contacts the cemetery authority within the period specified in par. (e), the cemetery authority intends to resell the abandoned lot as provided in this subsection.
157.115(2)(e) (e) If within 60 days after notice is published under par. (d) no owner or assignee contacts the cemetery authority to express an intent to use the abandoned lot for a future burial of human remains, the cemetery authority shall bring an action in the circuit court of the county in which the abandoned lot is located for a judgment that the cemetery lot is an abandoned lot and an order transferring ownership of the abandoned lot to the cemetery authority.
157.115(2)(f) (f) If within one year after the circuit court enters a judgment and order under par. (e) no owner or assignee contacts the cemetery authority to express an intent to use the abandoned lot for a future burial of human remains, the cemetery authority may resell the abandoned lot, except as provided in par. (g). The payment of principal shall 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.
157.115(2)(g) (g) If at any time before an abandoned lot is resold under par. (f) an owner or assignee contacts the cemetery authority to express an intent to use the abandoned lot for a future burial of human remains, the authority may not resell the abandoned lot, and ownership of the abandoned lot shall be transferred to the owner or assignee. The cemetery authority shall pay all costs of transferring ownership under this paragraph.
157.115(2)(h) (h) Nothing in this subsection prohibits a cemetery authority from seeking the authority to resell more than one abandoned lot by publishing a single class 3 notice under par. (d) or bringing a single action under par. (e) that applies to all of the abandoned lots for which such authority is sought.
157.115 History History: 1989 a. 307 ss. 18m, 20, 28, 45; 2013 a. 151.
157.12 157.12 Mausoleums and crematoriums.
157.12(2) (2) Construction of mausoleums.
157.12(2)(a)(a) Any person who constructs a mausoleum or converts a building or other structure to a mausoleum shall comply with the rules of the department and shall receive department approval in writing of the plans and specifications prior to construction or conversion. No person may modify plans or specifications which have been approved under this paragraph without approval in writing from the department, unless such modifications are cosmetic in nature. The department shall promulgate rules providing reasonable requirements governing the location, material and construction of a mausoleum, in accordance with the requirements in par. (d). Any municipality may enact ordinances governing mausoleums at least as stringent as this section.
157.12(2)(b) (b) The department shall supervise construction of any public mausoleum and conversion of any building to a public mausoleum. Within 30 days after receiving written notice from the cemetery authority that the construction or conversion has been completed, the department shall inspect the public mausoleum and provide the cemetery authority with a written certification as to whether the construction or conversion complies with approved plans. If the department determines that, except for certain minor defects, the construction or conversion complies with the approved plans, the department may provide the cemetery authority with a written temporary certification of compliance that is contingent on the correction of those minor defects. A temporary certification is valid for a period designated by the department, not to exceed 6 months. No person may sell a mausoleum space, except an undeveloped space that is sold in accordance with s. 440.92, or bury human remains in a public mausoleum unless a care fund has been established for the mausoleum under sub. (3) and the department has provided the cemetery authority with a certification or a temporary certification under this paragraph. If a cemetery authority that has been provided with a temporary certification notifies the department in writing before the date on which the temporary certification expires that the defects in the construction or conversion of the public mausoleum have been corrected, the department shall, within 30 days after receiving the notice, reinspect the public mausoleum and provide the cemetery authority with a written certification as to whether the construction or conversion complies with the approved plans. If a cemetery authority that has been provided with a temporary certification does not receive a written certification from the department before the date on which the temporary certification expires that the construction or conversion complies with the approved plans, then, beginning on the date on which the certification expires, no person may sell a mausoleum space, except an undeveloped space that is sold in accordance with s. 440.92, or bury human remains in the public mausoleum until the defects are corrected and the department subsequently inspects the public mausoleum and provides the cemetery authority with a certification that the construction or conversion complies with the approved plans. The department may charge a reasonable fee to the cemetery authority for each inspection and certification provided under this paragraph if the inspection and certification are provided within the applicable 30-day period prescribed under this paragraph.
157.12(2)(bm) (bm) If a municipality in which a mausoleum is located requires the owner or operator of the mausoleum to obtain from the municipality a permit for the use or occupancy of the mausoleum, the municipality shall issue that permit to the owner or operator if the owner or operator has been provided with a certification or temporary certification for the mausoleum under par. (b). The permit shall be valid for a period equal to or longer than the period for which the certification or temporary certification under par. (b) is valid.
157.12(2)(c)1.1. Except as provided in subd. 2., no person may establish or use a public mausoleum unless the mausoleum is located inside a cemetery of 20 acres or more that has been in existence for 10 years or more.
157.12(2)(c)2. 2. A person may establish or use a public mausoleum in a cemetery consisting of less than 20 acres in a municipality that has enacted an ordinance under s. 157.129 (2) if the cemetery meets the minimum acreage requirement specified in that ordinance.
157.12(2)(d) (d) A mausoleum shall be constructed to last as long as possible, taking into consideration the technology and economics applicable to mausoleum construction at the time of construction.
157.12(3) (3)Care fund for mausoleums.
157.12(3)(a)(a) Any person who operates a public mausoleum shall establish a care fund as follows:
157.12(3)(a)1. 1. If the mausoleum has been in existence since June 15, 1933, and is covered by the care fund of the cemetery in which the mausoleum is located, the cemetery shall deposit at least 15% of each payment of principal received from the sale of a mausoleum space into the care fund, until the care fund equals 10% of the cost of constructing the mausoleum.
157.12(3)(a)2. 2. Except as provided in subd. 1., the operator of the mausoleum shall deposit at least 25% of each payment of principal received from the sale of a mausoleum space into the care fund, until the care fund equals 25% of the cost of constructing the mausoleum.
157.12(3)(a)3. 3. The operator shall make deposits required under subds. 1. and 2. within 30 days after the last day of the month in which the payment is received. The municipality in which the mausoleum is located may, by ordinance, require a larger fund, but only if the department notifies the municipality in writing that the department approves of the requirement. The department may promulgate rules establishing uniform standards for approvals under this subdivision.
157.12(3)(b) (b) The cemetery's treasurer is the custodian of the fund. The treasurer shall file with the cemetery, at the cemetery's expense, a bond with sureties approved by the department of safety and professional services to indemnify the cemetery against loss if the treasurer fails to maintain the fund. No indemnity is required if the terms of sale of a mausoleum space require the purchaser to pay directly to a trust company in the state, designated by the cemetery as custodian of the fund. The fund shall be invested as provided in s. 157.19. Income from investment may be used only to maintain the mausoleum, except that if the amount of income exceeds the amount necessary to properly maintain the mausoleum the excess amount may be used to maintain any portion of the cemetery.
157.12(4) (4)Construction of crematoriums.
157.12(4)(a)(a) Any person who constructs a crematorium or converts a building or other structure to a crematorium shall comply with the rules of the department and shall receive department approval in writing of the plans and specifications prior to construction or conversion. The department may promulgate rules governing the location, material and construction of any crematorium. Any municipality may enact ordinances governing crematoriums at least as stringent as this subsection.
157.12(4)(b) (b) The department shall supervise construction of any crematorium and conversion of any building or other structure to a crematorium. No person may modify departmental construction or conversion requirements without written approval of the department. No person may operate a crematorium unless the department certifies in writing that construction or conversion complied with approved plans.
157.125 157.125 Trustees for the care of cemeteries or cemetery lots.
157.125(1)(1) If a trust is created for the care of a burial place or grave but no trustee is named in the will to administer the trust, the circuit court having jurisdiction may name the county treasurer of the county in which the burial place or grave is situated as trustee, except as provided in sub. (2). If not contrary to the terms of the trust, the county treasurer may contract with the person in charge of the burial place or grave for its care and pay to that person the income from the trust property or the part of the income that may be necessary for that purpose, and if there is no person in charge of the burial place or grave then the income shall be paid to the city, village or town, in which the burial place or grave is situated, and for the purposes of this subsection the governing body of that municipality has the duty of caring for the burial place or grave to the extent of money received for that purpose. The county treasurer shall annually render an account to the circuit court as provided in ch. 701 and the person or municipality receiving money for such care shall also render an annual accounting to the circuit court and the department as provided in s. 157.62 (2) (b) 3. to 7.
157.125(2) (2) If the burial place or grave is located in a cemetery owned and operated by a religious society organized under ch. 187, the court shall name the religious society as the trustee unless the religious society petitions the court to name the county treasurer as the trustee.
157.125 History History: 1971 c. 41 s. 11; 1979 c. 175 s. 50; 1989 a. 307.
157.128 157.128 Minimum acreage requirement for cemetery established on or after November 1, 1991.
157.128(1) (1) Except as provided in subs. (2) and (3), no cemetery may be dedicated on or after November 1, 1991, unless the cemetery consists of at least 20 contiguous acres.
157.128(2) (2) A cemetery consisting of less than 20 contiguous acres may be dedicated on or after November 1, 1991, if all of the following apply:
157.128(2)(a) (a) The cemetery is owned by a religious association.
157.128(2)(b) (b) The religious association is responsible for all liabilities of the cemetery.
157.128(2)(c) (c) The total acreage of all other cemeteries owned by the religious association exceeds 20 acres.
157.128(3) (3)
157.128(3)(a)(a) A cemetery consisting of less than 20 contiguous acres may be dedicated in a municipality that has enacted an ordinance under s. 157.129 if the cemetery meets the minimum acreage requirement specified in that ordinance.
157.128(3)(b) (b) A cemetery consisting of less than 20 contiguous acres may be dedicated by 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.
157.128 History History: 1989 a. 307; 1991 a. 269; 1999 a. 150 s. 672; 2005 a. 25.
157.129 157.129 Minimum acreage of cemeteries; local ordinance. A city, village or town may enact and enforce an ordinance that does any of the following:
157.129(1) (1) Allows a cemetery consisting of less than the minimum acreage specified in s. 157.128 (1) to be dedicated, as defined in s. 157.061 (4), in that city, village or town.
157.129(2) (2) Allows a person to establish and use a public mausoleum in a cemetery consisting of less than the minimum acreage specified in s. 157.12 (2) (c).
157.129 History History: 1991 a. 269; 1999 a. 150 s. 157; Stats. s. 157.129.
157.19 157.19 Deposit and investment of care funds and preneed trust funds.
157.19(1)(1) In this section, "financial institution" has the meaning given in s. 705.01 (3).
157.19(2) (2)
157.19(2)(a)(a) Except as provided in sub. (5) and the rules promulgated under sub. (4), the cemetery authority may deposit care funds under s. 157.11 (9g), and shall deposit care funds under s. 157.12 (3) and preneed trust funds under s. 440.92, with a financial institution located in this state. The financial institution shall be the trustee of the care funds and preneed trust funds. A bank need not comply with s. 221.0316 (1) or (2) or ch. 223 to accept or disburse deposits under this section. The trustee shall invest the care funds and preneed trust funds as provided under s. 881.01, except as provided in sub. (5) and the rules promulgated under sub. (4).
157.19(2)(b) (b) The cemetery authority may not change the trustee of a care fund under s. 157.11 (9g) that is deposited under this section or of a care fund under s. 157.12 (3), and the financial institution may not release any portion of the principal amount of the care fund, without the cemetery board's written approval.
157.19(2)(c) (c) Upon request of the financial institution, the preneed seller, as defined in s. 440.90 (8), shall furnish the financial institution with a copy of the preneed sales contract. Except as provided in s. 440.92 (2) (c), (f) and (j) and (5), preneed trust funds, and any interest or dividends that have accumulated on the preneed trust funds, may not be withdrawn until all obligations under the preneed sales contract have been fulfilled. The financial institution is not responsible for the fulfillment of any part of the preneed sales contract, except that the financial institution shall release the preneed trust funds, and any interest or dividends that have accumulated on the preneed trust funds, as provided by the terms of the preneed sales contract. The trustee of a preneed trust fund may not be changed without the cemetery board's written approval. If the trustee or account number of a preneed trust fund is changed, the cemetery authority shall notify the cemetery board in writing within 30 days after the change.
157.19(2)(d) (d) The cemetery board shall promulgate rules establishing reasonable requirements and standards for the approval of changes under pars. (b) and (c). For approval of changes under par. (b), the rules shall require the cemetery authority to submit evidence that the rights and interests of the beneficiary of the care fund will be adequately protected if the change is approved. For approval of changes under par. (c), the rules shall require the trustee to submit evidence that the rights and interests of the purchaser under the preneed sales contract will be adequately protected if the change is approved.
157.19(4) (4) The cemetery board may promulgate rules allowing funds invested under this section to be deposited with a financial institution located outside this state.
157.19(5) (5)
157.19(5)(a)(a) This section does not apply to care funds under s. 157.11 (9g) that are deposited with a city or county as provided under s. 157.11 (9g) (a), to care funds of a cemetery for which a certification under s. 157.63 is effective, to preneed trust funds of a cemetery for which a certification under s. 440.92 (9) is effective, or to care funds or preneed trust funds of a cemetery authority that is not required to be licensed under s. 440.91 (1) or registered under s. 440.91 (1m).
157.19(5)(b) (b) If the cemetery board determines that care funds under s. 157.11 (9g) that have not been deposited with a city or county as provided in s. 157.11 (9g) (a) are not being properly segregated from other moneys held by the cemetery authority or that those care funds are not being properly invested as required in s. 157.11 (9g) (a), the cemetery board may require the cemetery authority to deposit those care funds with a financial institution for investment under this section.
157.19(6) (6) Nothing in this section prevents a cemetery authority from combining its care funds and preneed trust funds for investment under this section if the cemetery authority maintains separate accountings for each fund.
157.19(7) (7) Except as provided in sub. (5) (a), this section applies to every care fund and every preneed trust fund of a cemetery authority, regardless of when the care fund or preneed trust fund was established.
157.19 Cross-reference Cross-reference: See also ch. CB 4, Wis. adm. code.
157.50 157.50 Municipal cemeteries.
157.50(1) (1) Municipalities may acquire by gift, purchase or condemnation land for cemeteries within or without their boundaries. In the case of towns acquisition and price must be authorized by the town meeting.
157.50(2) (2) The governing body of every municipality acquiring a cemetery shall by ordinance determine the system of management and operation. Any municipality may proceed under s. 157.07, 157.08 or 157.11 (7), or otherwise as provided by ordinance.
157.50(3) (3) Upon organization of a cemetery association to take over a municipal cemetery, the municipality may convey real property and all funds and other personal property to the association. In towns the conveyance must be authorized by the town meeting.
157.50(4) (4) When a town cemetery becomes embraced within a city or village, it shall be managed as though acquired thereby.
157.50(5) (5) The town meeting may authorize the town board to appropriate up to $500 in any year for the improvement of the town cemetery, under supervision of the town board.
157.50(6) (6) Any municipality that creates a care fund shall invest the money received for care as provided by ch. 881. The municipality may terminate the care fund, transferring the money to its general fund, if the municipality owns the cemetery and provides all maintenance expenses in perpetuity for those graves in the cemetery at the time of termination.
157.50 History History: 1971 c. 41 s. 12; 1979 c. 254; 1983 a. 532; 1989 a. 307.
157.60 157.60 Public easement in cemetery. Any person who shall open or make any highway, town way or private way or shall construct any railroad, turnpike or canal or anything in the nature of a public easement over, through, in or upon such part of any enclosure, being the property of any town, city, village or religious society or of private proprietors, as may be used for the burial of the dead, unless an authority for that purpose shall be specially granted by law or unless the consent of such town, city, village, religious society or private proprietors, respectively, shall be first obtained, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not more than one year or by fine not exceeding $300.
157.62 157.62 Reporting; record keeping; audits.
157.62(1) (1) Cemetery associations.
157.62(1)(a)(a) Except as provided in par. (b) and s. 157.625, every cemetery association shall file an annual report with the department of financial institutions. The report shall be made on a calendar-year basis unless the department of financial institutions, by rule, provides for other reporting periods. The report is due on the 60th day after the last day of the reporting period. The annual report shall include all of the following:
157.62(1)(a)1. 1. The name of the cemetery association and the address of its principal office.
157.62(1)(a)2. 2. The name, residence address and business address of each officer, director and trustee of the cemetery association.
157.62(1)(a)3. 3. The name, residence address and business address of each shareholder who beneficially owns, holds or has the power to vote 5% or more of any class of securities issued by the cemetery association.
157.62(1)(a)4. 4. The dates and places of all meetings and elections.
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2011-12 Wisconsin Statutes updated though 2013 Wis. Act 200 and all Supreme Court Orders entered before April 18, 2014. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after April 18, 2014 are designated by NOTES. (Published 4-18-14)