A cemetery or religious association incorporated in this state and having a cemetery in or near a 1st or 2nd class city and any cemetery described under s. 157.065 (3m) (d)
may acquire by gift or purchase up to 30 acres of adjoining lands for cemetery purposes, and may pay for it wholly or partly from its cemetery lot sales.
When it is necessary to enlarge a cemetery owned by a cemetery or religious association, and adjoining lands cannot be acquired or can be acquired only at an exorbitant price, application may be made in writing to the circuit judge by 12 or more resident freeholders of the municipality in which the cemetery is located describing the land and setting forth the facts and the price asked, whereupon the judge shall appoint 3 resident freeholders of the county, but not of the municipality, to appraise the damages of each owner, not to exceed the price asked, but, except in cities or incorporated villages, no lands may be taken within 330 feet of a residence owned by the occupant without the occupant's written consent. The appraisers shall hear all parties upon 10 days' notice and file a report in writing with the judge within 10 days after determination. Upon payment into court of the amount appraised, the lands shall be taken. Either party may appeal as provided in s. 32.06 (10)
. The commissioners shall be paid, by the party seeking to take the land, $3 for each day actually employed and 6 cents for each mile necessarily traveled.
Whenever a cemetery association votes to convey cemetery property and all trust funds pertaining to the cemetery property to a city, village or town, the trustees of the association shall have the power to transfer the property upon the acceptance of the transfer by resolution of the governing body of the city, village or town. A conveyance under this subsection is subject to s. 157.08 (2)
Whenever the majority of the members of a cemetery association, or of a religious association authorized to hold lands for cemetery purposes, present at an annual meeting or special meeting called for such purpose vote to convey all of the cemetery association's or religious association's cemetery property, trust funds and other property used for cemetery purposes to another cemetery association or religious association, the trustees of the association shall transfer the property upon the acceptance of the transfer by the other association by affirmative vote of a majority of its members present at an annual meeting or special meeting called for that purpose. Upon such acceptance, the title to the cemetery property, trust funds and other property of the transferring association vests in the accepting association under the control of the trustees of the accepting association. A conveyance under this subsection is subject to s. 157.08 (2)
Not more than 30 days after a transfer under sub. (6)
, the transferring association shall notify the cemetery board in writing of the transfer, including the name and address of the accepting association or its treasurer. The cemetery board may prescribe and furnish forms for providing the information required under this subsection.
History: 1977 c. 449
; 1985 a. 316
; Stats. 1985 s. 157.064; 1987 a. 190
; 1989 a. 307
; 1995 a. 27
; 2015 a. 237
Location and ownership of cemeteries. 157.065(1)(1)
No cemetery may be used for burials except any of the following:
A cemetery organized and operated by any of the following:
Except as provided in sub. (3)
, no cemetery may be established:
Within a recorded plat or recorded addition to a plat of any city or village, if the cemetery is within one mile of a building in the plat;
Outside a recorded plat or recorded addition to a plat of any city or village if the cemetery is within 3,300 feet of an inhabited dwelling that is located within a recorded plat or addition, unless the city or village consents;
Within 250 feet of any habitable dwelling, publicly owned building or school, unless the cemetery is establishing an extension on property it has owned continually since June 18, 1929; or
Within 3,300 feet of any of the following state facilities, without the consent of the state:
Any incorporated college of a religious order in a 4th class city may establish a private cemetery within the city on land the college owns to bury members of the religious order, if the common council consents and if each person owning a private building within 825 feet of the proposed cemetery consents.
Any private military academy that provides an educational program for grades 7 to 12 in a 4th class city may establish a private cemetery within the city on land that the military academy owns, if the common council consents. No mausoleum within a cemetery established under this paragraph may exceed 3,500 square feet in area.
Any of the following cemeteries may enlarge only in the following manner:
Any cemetery in a village may enlarge with the consent of the village board and of the owners of each building within 250 feet of the addition.
Any cemetery in a 3rd or 4th class city may enlarge with the consent of the common council.
Notwithstanding pars. (a)
, any cemetery established before April 30, 1887, in a village and located within 100 feet of the village limits may extend to the village limits with the consent of the village board.
Notwithstanding pars. (a)
, any cemetery established before April 30, 1887, may expand as provided in s. 157.064
Any violation of this section is a public nuisance.
Connection with funeral establishment prohibited. 157.067(1)(1)
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
Sub. (2) and s. 445.12 (6), which prohibit the joint ownership or operation of a cemetery and a funeral home, do not violate the equal protection or due process clauses of the Wisconsin and U.S. constitutions. Porter v. State, 2018 WI 79
, 382 Wis. 2d 697
, 913 N.W.2d 842
A cemetery authority shall cause to be surveyed and platted by a professional land surveyor 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 location of the lands shall be indicated on the plat or map by bearing and distance from a boundary line of a government lot, quarter section, recorded private claim, or federal reservation in which the subdivision is located. The monumentation at the ends of the boundary line shall be described and the bearing and distance between them shown, and the plat or map 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 professional land surveyor containing the name of the cemetery authority, the date of the survey, the professional land surveyor's stamp or seal and signature, and the professional land surveyor's statement that the survey is true and correct to the professional land 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, or on any other media that is acceptable to the register of deeds, 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 professional land surveyor shall leave a binding margin of one inch on all sides.
The cemetery authority shall cause the plat or map to be recorded. For failure to do so, the plat shall be void, and no sale of a cemetery lot or mausoleum space may be made before the plat is recorded.
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 association or a cemetery authority of a cemetery that is affiliated with a religious association.
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 90 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 90-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.
and (2) (b)
do not apply to a religious association or a cemetery authority of a cemetery that is affiliated with a religious association, 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, disposition, and use of cemetery lots and mausoleum spaces. 157.10(1)(1)
In this section, “owner" means a person named in the records of the cemetery authority who has an ownership interest in a cemetery lot or mausoleum space and a right to bury human remains in the cemetery lot or mausoleum space.
While any person is buried in a cemetery lot or mausoleum space, the cemetery lot or mausoleum space shall be inalienable, without the consent of the cemetery authority, and on the death of the last owner, full ownership of the cemetery lot or mausoleum space shall descend as follows:
If there is no living member of the class designated in subd. 1.
, to that owner's children, including by adoption.
If there is no living member of the class designated in subd. 1.
, to the owner's grandchildren, including by adoption.
If there is no living member of the class designated in subd. 1.
, or 3.
, to the cemetery authority for the cemetery in which the cemetery lot or mausoleum space is located.
A cemetery lot or mausoleum space is not part of a decedent's net estate for purposes of s. 852.01
If ownership of a cemetery lot or mausoleum space descends to the cemetery authority under sub. (2) (a)
, the cemetery authority shall comply with s. 157.115 (2) (c)
for any grave in the cemetery lot or mausoleum space in which human remains are not buried.
Any one or more persons under sub. (2) (a) 1.
may, only with the consent of the cemetery authority, convey to any other person under sub. (2) (a) 1.
his or her interest in the cemetery lot or mausoleum space.
No human remains may be buried in a cemetery lot or mausoleum space except the human remains of an owner of the cemetery lot or mausoleum space, or a relative, or the spouse of an owner, or his or her relative, except by the consent of a majority of the owners of the cemetery lot or mausoleum space.
The cemetery authority shall be held harmless for any decision made by a majority of the owners of a cemetery lot or mausoleum space.
A cemetery authority that is a religious association or that is the cemetery authority of a cemetery affiliated with a religious association may adopt a written policy for the disposition of cemetery lots and mausoleum spaces in a cemetery organized and operated by, or affiliated with, the religious association that is different from sub. (2) (a)
History: 1989 a. 307
; 2015 a. 237
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 1 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 $100 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.