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West Virginia Cemetery Law

37-13A-1. Access of certain persons to cemeteries and graves located on private land.

For the purposes set forth in section two of this article, the state recognizes that the owners of private land on which a cemetery or graves are located have a duty to allow ingress and egress to the cemetery or graves by family members, close friends and descendants of deceased persons buried there, by any cemetery plot owner, or by any person engaging in genealogy research who has given reasonable notice to the owner of record or to the occupant of the property or to both the owner and occupant. The access route may be designated by the landowner if no traditional access route is obviously visible by a view of the property.

 

37-13-1a. Improvement, construction or development upon privately owned lands containing graves.


No improvement, construction or development shall commence upon privately owned lands on which a cemetery or graves are located if such improvement, construction or development would destroy or otherwise physically disturb the cemetery or graves located on the land unless the owner first files a petition in accordance with the provisions of section two of this article and an order is entered pursuant to section five of this article providing for the disposition of the remains

37-13A-2. Purposes for which access is allowed.

The right of ingress and egress granted to persons specified in section one of this article shall be limited to the purposes of: (1) Visiting graves; (2) maintaining the grave site or cemetery; (3) burying a deceased person in a cemetery plot by those granted rights of burial to that plot; and (4) conducting genealogy research.]

37-13A-3. Conduct of persons accessing cemeteries or grave sites; persons liable for damage.

All persons exercising access to a grave site or cemetery under the provisions of this article are responsible for conducting themselves in a manner that does not damage the private lands, the cemetery or grave sites and are liable to the owner of the private lands for any damage caused as a result of their access.

37-13A-5. Cause of action for injunctive relief.

Any person denied reasonable access under the provisions of this section, including the denial of permission to use vehicular access, may institute a proceeding in the circuit court of the county in which the cemetery or grave site is located to enjoin the owner of the private lands on which the cemetery or grave site is located, or his or her agent, from denying the person reasonable ingress and egress to the cemetery or grave site for the purposes set forth in section two of this article. In granting such relief, the court may set the frequency of access, hours and duration of the access.

 

29-1-8a. Protection of human skeletal remains, grave artifacts and grave markers; permits for excavation and removal; penalties.


(a) Legislative findings and purpose.

The Legislature finds that there is a real and growing threat to the safety and sanctity of unmarked human graves in West Virginia and the existing laws of the state do not provide equal or adequate protection for all such graves. As evident by the numerous incidents in West Virginia which have resulted in the desecration of human remains and vandalism to grave markers, there is an immediate need to protect the graves of earlier West Virginians from such desecration. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to assure that all human burials be accorded equal treatment and respect for human dignity without reference to ethnic origins, cultural backgrounds, or religious affiliations.
The Legislature also finds that those persons engaged in the scientific study or recovery of artifacts which have been acquired in accordance with the law are engaged in legitimate and worthy scientific and educational activities. Therefore, this legislation is intended to permit the appropriate pursuit of those lawful activities.
Finally, this legislation is not intended to interfere with the normal activities of private property owners, farmers, or those engaged in the development, mining or improvement of real property.
(b) Definitions.

For the purposes of this section:
(1) "Human skeletal remains" means the bones, teeth, hair or tissue of a deceased human body;
(2) "Unmarked grave" means any grave or location where a human body or bodies have been buried or deposited for at least fifty years and the grave or location is not in a publicly or privately maintained cemetery or in the care of a cemetery association, or is located within such cemetery or in such care and is not commonly marked;
(3) "Grave artifact" means any items of human manufacture or use that are associated with the human skeletal remains in a grave;
(4) "Grave marker" means any tomb, monument, stone, ornament, mound, or other item of human manufacture that is associated with a grave;
(5) "Person" includes the federal and state governments and any political subdivision of this state;
(6) "Disturb" means the excavating, removing, exposing, defacing, mutilating, destroying, molesting, or desecrating in any way of human skeletal remains, unmarked graves, grave artifacts or grave markers;
(7) "Native American tribe" means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or organized group or community which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians;
(8) "Cultural affiliation" means the relationship of shared group identity which can be reasonably traced historically or prehistorically between a present day group and an identifiable earlier group;
(9) "Lineal descendants" means any individuals tracing his or her ancestry directly or by proven kinship; and
(10) "Proven kinship" means the relationship among people that exists because of genetic descent, which includes racial descent.
(c) Acts prohibited; penalties.

(1) No person may excavate, remove, destroy, or otherwise disturb any historic or prehistoric ruins, burial grounds, archaeological site, or human skeletal remains, unmarked grave, grave artifact or grave marker of historical significance unless such person has a valid permit issued to him or her by the director of the historic preservation section: Provided,
That the supervising archaeologist of an archaeological investigationbeing undertaken in compliance with the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act (Public Law 96-95 at 16 USC 470(aa)) and regulations promulgated thereunder shall not be required to obtain such permit, but shall notify the director of the historic preservation section that such investigation is being undertaken and file reports as are required of persons issued a permit under this section: Provided, however, That projects being undertaken in compliance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, or subsection (a), section five of this article shall not be required to obtain such permit for excavation, removal, destruction or disturbance of historic or prehistoric ruins or archaeological sites.
A person who, either by himself or through an agent, intentionally excavates, removes, destroys or otherwise disturbs any historic or prehistoric ruins, burial grounds or archaeological site, or unmarked grave, grave artifact or grave marker of historical significance without first having been issued a valid permit by the director of the historic preservation section, or who fails to comply with the terms and conditions of such permit, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, and may be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than ten days nor more than six months or both fined and imprisoned.
A person who, either by himself or through an agent, intentionally excavates, removes, destroys or otherwise disturbs human skeletal remains of historical significance without first having been issued a valid permit by the director of the historic preservation section, or who fails to comply with the terms and conditions relating to disinterment or displacement of human skeletal remains of such permit, is guilty of the felony of disinterment or displacement of a dead human body or parts thereof under section fourteen, article eight, chapter sixty-one of this code and, upon conviction, shall be confined in the state penitentiary not less than two nor more than five years.
A person who intentionally withholds information about the excavation, removal, destruction, or other disturbance of any historic or prehistoric ruins, burial grounds, archaeological site, or human skeletal remains, unmarked grave, grave artifact or grave marker of historical significance is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars, and may be imprisoned in the county jail not more than ten days.
(2) No person may offer for sale or exchange any human skeletal remains, grave artifact or grave marker obtained in violation of this section.
A person who, either by himself or through an agent, offers for sale or exchange any human skeletal remains, grave artifact or grave marker obtained in violation of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars, and may be imprisoned in the county jail not less than six months nor more than one year.
(3) Each instance of excavation, removal, destruction, disturbance or offering for sale or exchange under (1) and (2) of this subsection shall constitute a separate offense.
(d) Notification of discovery of human skeletal remains in unmarked locations.

Within forty-eight hours of the discovery of human skeletal remains, grave artifact or grave marker in an unmarked grave on any publicly or privately owned property, the person making such discovery shall notify the county sheriff of the discovery and its location. If the human remains, grave artifact or grave marker appear to be from an unmarked grave, the sheriff shall promptly, and prior to any further disturbance or removal of the remains, notify the director of the historic preservation section. The director shall cause an on-site inspection of the disturbance to be made to determine the potential for archaeological significance of the site: Provided,
That when the discovery is made by an archaeological investigation permittedunder state or federal law, the supervising archaeologist shall notify the director of the historic preservation section directly.
If the director of the historic preservation section determines that the site has no archaeological significance, the removal, transfer and disposition of the remains shall be subject to the provisions of article thirteen, chapter thirty-seven of this code, and the director shall notify the circuit court of the county wherein the site is located.
If the director of historic preservation determines that the site has a potential for archaeological significance, the director shall take such action as is reasonable, necessary and prudent, including consultation with appropriate private or public organizations, to preserve and advance the culture of the state in accordance with the powers and duties granted to the director, including the issuance of a permit for the archaeological excavation or removal of the remains. If the director determines that the issuance of a permit for the archaeological excavation or removal of the remains is not reasonable, necessary or prudent, the director shall provide written reasons to the applicant for not issuing the permit.
(e) Issuance of permits.

Prior to the issuance of a permit for the disturbance of human skeletal remains, grave artifacts, or grave markers, the director of historic preservation shall convene and chair an ad hoc committee to develop permit conditions. The committee shall be comprised of the chair and six or eight members representing known or presumed lineal descendants, private and public organizations which have cultural affiliation to the presumed contents of the site, the Council for West Virginia Archaeology and the West Virginia Archaeological Society. In the case of Native American sites, the membership of the committee shall be comprised of the chair and six or eight members representing the Council for West Virginia Archaeology, the West Virginia Archaeological Society, and known or presumed lineal descendants, preferably with cultural affiliation to tribes that existed in the geographic area that is now West Virginia.
In the case of a site of less then five acres, which is owned by an individual or partnership, the ad hoc committee must be formed within thirty days of application for same by the property owner, must meet within sixty days of such application, and must render a decision within ninety days of such application.
All such permits shall at a minimum address the following conditions: (1) The methods by which lineal descendants of the deceased are notified prior to the disturbance; (2) the respectful manner in which the remains, artifacts or markers are to be removed and handled; (3) scientific analysis of the remains, artifacts or markers and the duration of those studies; (4) the way in which the remains may be reburied in consultation with any lineal descendants, when available; (5) methods for the respectful curation of recovered items; and (6) such other conditions as the director may deem necessary. Expenses accrued in meeting the permit conditions shall be borne by the permit applicant, except in cases where the deceased descendants or sponsors are willing to share or assume the costs. A permit to disturb human skeletal remains, grave artifacts or grave markers will be issued only after alternatives to disturbance and other mitigative measures have been considered.
In addition, a person applying for a permit to excavate or remove human skeletal remains, grave artifacts, grave markers, or any historic or prehistoric features of archaeological significance may provide to the ad hoc committee information he or she deems appropriate and shall:
(1) Provide a detailed statement to the director of the historic preservation section giving the reasons and objectives for excavation or removal and the benefits expected to be obtained from the contemplated work;
(2) Provide data and results of any excavation, study orcollection in annual reports to the director of the historic preservation section and submit a final report to the director upon completion of the excavation;
(3) Obtain the prior written permission of the owner if the site of such proposed excavation is on privately owned land; and
(4) Provide any additional information the ad hoc committee deems necessary in developing the permit conditions.
Such permits shall be issued for a period of two years and may be renewed at expiration. The permits are not transferable but other persons who have not been issued a permit may work under the direct supervision of the person holding the permit. The person or persons to whom a permit was issued must carry the permit while exercising the privileges granted and must be present at the site whenever work is being done.
Notwithstanding any other penalties to which a person may be subject under this section for failing to comply with the terms and conditions of a permit, the permit of a person who violates any of the provisions of this subsection shall be revoked.
As permits are issued, the director of the historic preservation section shall maintain a catalogue of unmarked grave locations throughout the state.
(f) Property tax exemption for unmarked grave sites.

To serve as an incentive for the protection of unmarked graves, the owner, having evidence of the presence of unmarked graves on his or her property, may apply to the director of the historic preservation section for a determination as to whether such is the case. Upon making such a determination in the affirmative, the director of the historic preservation section shall provide written certification to the landowner that the site containing the graves is a cemetery and as such is exempt from property taxation upon presentation of the certification to the county assessor. The area of the site to receive property tax exempt status shall be determined by the director of the historic preservation section. Additionally, a property owner may establish protective easements for the location of unmarked graves.
(g) Additional provisions for enforcement; civil penalties; rewards for information.

(1) The prosecuting attorney of the county in which a violation of any provision of this section is alleged to have occurred may be requested by the director of the historic preservation section to initiate criminal prosecutions or to seek civil damages, injunctive relief and any other appropriate relief. The director of the historic preservation section shall cooperate with the prosecuting attorney in resolving such allegations.
(2) Persons convicted of any prohibited act involving the excavation, removal, destruction, disturbance or offering for sale or exchange of historic or prehistoric ruins, burial grounds, archaeological site, human skeletal remains, unmarked grave, grave artifact or grave marker under the provisions of subdivisions (1) and (2), subsection (c) of this section shall also be liable for civil damages to be assessed by the prosecuting attorney in consultation with the director of the historic preservation section.
Civil damages may include:
(i) Forfeiture of any and all equipment used in disturbing the protected unmarked graves or grave markers;
(ii) Any and all costs incurred in cleaning, restoring, analyzing, accessioning and curating the recovered material;
(iii) Any and all costs associated with recovery of data, and analyzing, publishing, accessioning and curating materials when the prohibited activity is so extensive as to preclude the restoration of the unmarked burials or grave markers;
(iv) Any and all costs associated with restoring the land to its original contour or the grave marker to its original condition;
(v) Any and all costs associated with reinterment of the human skeletal remains; and
(vi) Any and all costs associated with the determination and collection of the civil damages.
When civil damages are recovered, the proceeds, less the costs of the prosecuting attorney associated with the determination and collection of such damages, shall be deposited into the endangered historic properties fund and may be expended by the commissioner of culture and history for archaeological programs at the state level, including the payment of rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons violating the provisions of subdivisions (1) and (2), subsection (c) of this section.
(3) The commissioner of culture and history is authorized to offer and pay rewards of up to one thousand dollars from funds on deposit in the endangered historic properties fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons who violate the provisions of subdivisions (1) and (2), subsection (c) of this section.
(h) Disposition of remains and artifacts not subject to reburial.

All human skeletal remains and grave artifacts found in unmarked graves on public or private land, and not subject to reburial, under the provisions of subsection (e) of this section, are held in trust for the people of West Virginia by the state and are under the jurisdiction of the director of historic preservation. All materials collected and not reburied through this section shall be maintained with dignity and respect for the people of the state under the care of the West Virginia state museum.


 

54-1-2. Public uses for which private property may be taken or damaged.


The public uses for which private property may be taken or damaged are as follows:
(a) For the construction, maintenance and operation of railroad and traction lines (including extension, lateral and branch lines, spurs, switches and sidetracks), canals, public landings, wharves, bridges, public roads, streets, alleys, parks and other works of internal improvement, for the public use;
(b) For the construction and maintenance of telegraph, telephone, electric light, heat and power plants, systems, lines, transmission lines, conduits, stations (including branch, spur and service lines), when for public use;
(c) For constructing, maintaining and operating pipelines, plants, systems and storage facilities for manufacturing gas and for transporting petroleum oil, natural gas, manufactured gas, and all mixtures and combinations thereof, by means of pipes, pressure stations or otherwise, (including the construction and operation of telephone and telegraph lines for the service of such systems and plants), and for underground storage areas and facilities, and the operation and maintenance thereof, for the injection, storage and removal of natural gas in subterranean oil and/or gas bearing stratum, which, as shown by previous exploration of the stratum sought to be condemned and within the limits of the reservoir proposed to be utilized for such purposes, has ceased to produce or has been proved to be nonproductive of oil and/or gas in substantial quantities, when for public use, the extent of the area to be acquired for such purpose to be determined by the court on the basis of reasonable need therefor. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to interfere with the power of the state and its political subdivisions to enact and enforce ordinances and regulations deemed necessary to protect the lives and property of citizens from the effects of explosions of oil or gas;
(d) For constructing, maintaining and operating, water plants and systems, including lines for transporting water by any corporate body politic, or private corporation, for supplying water to the inhabitants of any city, town, village or community, for public use, including lands for pump stations, reservoirs, cisterns, storage dams, and other means of storing, purifying and transporting water, and the right to take and damage lands which may be flooded by the impounded waters, and to appropriate any spring, stream and the surrounding property necessary to protect, preserve and maintain the purity of any such spring, stream, reservoir, cistern and water impounded by means of any storage dam;
(e) For the purpose of constructing, maintaining and operating sewer systems, lines and sewage disposal plants, to collect, transport and dispose of sewage. When in the interest of the public welfare and the preservation of the public health, the construction of a sewer line to serve a single building or institution shall be deemed a public use, and, for such purpose, the right of eminent domain, if within a municipal corporation, may be exercised in the name of a municipal corporation, and if not within a municipal corporation, in the name of the county court of the county in which the property is located;

(f) For the reasonable use by an incorporated company engaged in a public enterprise of which the state or any county or municipality is the sole or a part owner;

(g) For courthouses and municipal buildings, parks, public playgrounds, the location of public monuments, and all other public buildings;
(h) For cemeteries, and the extension and enlargement of existing cemeteries: Provided, That no lands shall be taken for cemetery purposes which lie within four hundred feet of a dwelling house, unless to extend the boundaries of an existing cemetery, and then only in such manner that the limits of the existing cemetery shall not be extended nearer than four hundred feet of any dwelling house distant four hundred feet or more from such cemetery, or nearer than it was to any dwelling house which is within four hundred feet thereof;
(i) For public schools, public libraries and public hospitals;
(j) For the construction and operation of booms (including approaches, landings and ways necessary for such objects), when for a public use;
(k) By the state of West Virginia for any and every other public use, object and purpose not herein specifically mentioned. By the United States of America for each and every legitimate public use, need and purpose of the government of the United States, within the purview, and subject to the provisions of chapter one of this code;
(l) For constructing, maintaining and operating pipelines, plants, systems and storage facilities, for the transportation by common carrier as a public utility of coal and its derivatives and all mixtures and combinations thereof with any substance by means of pipes, pressure stations or otherwise (including the construction and operation of telephone and telegraph lines for the service of such systems and plants), for public use: Provided, That the common carrier engages in some intrastate activity in this state, if there is any reasonable demand therefor: Provided, however, That in addition to all other requisites by federal or state constitutions, statute or common law required for the taking of private property for public use, a further prerequisite and condition precedent to the exercise of such taking of or damage to private property for public use as in this subsection hereinabove provided, is that the public service commission of this state, in an appropriate hearing and proceeding on due notice to all interested persons, firms or corporations, in accordance with the procedure now or hereafter established by statute and the regulations thereunder, shall have found that such pipeline transportation of coal and its derivatives and all mixtures and combinations thereof is required for the public convenience and necessity, and that the public service commission of this state shall not extend a certificate of convenience and necessity or make such finding of public convenience and necessity unless, in addition to the other facts required to support such findings, it shall have been established by the applicant therefor that the patents and other similar rights under which the applicant proposes to construct, maintain or operate such pipeline, plants, systems and storage facilities shall be and shall remain equally available, insofar as said subsequent applicant may determine such availability, upon fair and reasonable terms, to other bona fide applicants seeking a certificate of convenience and necessity and finding of fact for any other pipeline in West Virginia; for the purpose of making the findings hereinbefore set forth the public service commission shall have and exercise jurisdiction, and that the aforesaid findings in this proviso above set forth shall be subject to judicial review as in other public service commission proceedings.
It is the intention of the Legislature in amending this section by the addition of subdivision (1) as set forth above to extend the right of eminent domain to coal pipelines for public use; to provide for regulation of such coal pipelines by the public service commission of this state or the interstate commerce commission of the United States of America, or both; to assure that such rights shall be extended only to public utilities or common carriers as distinguished from private carriers or contract carriers; to make patents covering the same equally available to others on fair and reasonable terms; and to prevent monopolistic use of coal pipelines by any users thereof which would result in any appreciable economic detriment to others similarly situated by reasons of any such monopoly.


 

35-5A-1. Definitions.


The following words and phrases as used in this article, unless a different meaning is clearly indicated by the context, shall have the following meanings:
(a) "Person" means any corporation, company, partnership, individual, association or other entity owning or operating a cemetery for the disposition of human remains.
(b) "Perpetual care cemetery" means a cemetery which advertises or represents to the public in any manner that it provides perpetual care or maintenance for burial grounds, mausoleums or columbaria and the fixtures attached thereto or which sells or offers to sell any interment right which is to be perpetually cared for or maintained.
(c) "Interment" means the disposition of human remains by earth burial, entombment or inurnment.
(d) "Burial right" means the right of earth interment.
(e) "Entombment right" means the right of entombment in a mausoleum.
(f) "Columbarium right" means the right of inurnment in a columbarium for cremated remains.
(g) "Permanent endowment care fund" means a fund held in an irrevocable trust separate and apart from all other assets of the cemetery and dedicated for the exclusive use of perpetual care and maintenance of such cemetery.

 

35-5-2. Sale of part of cemetery; prohibitions.


The trustees of any burial grounds, or any incorporated cemetery association whenever it is deemed advisable by such trustees or association, and is not prohibited by the terms of the conveyance, dedication or devise of such grounds, may sell and convey any part of such burial grounds or land of such association, without restriction as to its use, if such sale and conveyance will not render any lot previously sold for burial purposes inaccessible for such purposes, or detach it from the main body of the cemetery. But no such sale shall be made by such trustees or such association unless authorized by a majority of the lot owners present and voting at a general meeting or special meeting, of which meeting and its object previous notice shall be given by advertising the same as Class II legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be the county in which the cemetery is situated. No desecration shall be made of any grave or monument, or any of the walks, drives, trees, or shrubbery within the enclosure of any burial grounds; nor shall any shaft or entry be made within the enclosure of such burial grounds, or any building be erected therein for any purpose whatever other than cemetery purposes.

35-5-3. Permanent endowment funds for cemetery associations -- How created.


There is hereby authorized the creation of permanent endowment funds for cemetery associations to be known as "permanent endowment funds," the income from which is to be annually spent by such cemetery associations, or their successors, in beautifying and maintaining cemeteries owned or controlled by such associations. The "permanent endowment funds" are to be created by depositing in such funds all permanent funds derived from all sources set apart by the board of directors of such associations, and by donations, gifts and bequests made to such cemetery associations for such purpose.

 

35-5-4. Same -- How invested; report of trustee; disposition of income.


The principal of such permanent endowment fund shall be invested in some safe securities, to be approved by the board of directors of such cemetery association, or its successors, in the name of a trustee appointed as hereinafter provided. Such trustee shall make an annual report to the board of directors of such cemetery association showing the amount of the permanent endowment fund at the beginning of each year, the names of the donors, if any, and the amounts contributed by each during the year in which the report is made, the income derived from such fund during the year, and the amount on hand at the end of the year; and a copy of such report shall be filed with the clerk of the county court of the county in which such cemetery association is located. The trustee during the year, or at the end thereof, shall turn over to such cemetery association, or its successor, all income derived from such permanent endowment fund during the year, which shall be expended in accordance with this article.

35-5A-3. Establishment of permanent endowment care funds.


No person desiring to organize, develop and operate a perpetual care cemetery in West Virginia after the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred seventy-three, shall offer to sell or sell any burial lot, burial right, entombment right or columbarium right in such cemetery, without first establishing a permanent endowment trust fund, segregated from all other assets, and placing therein a minimum of ten thousand dollars in cash, or in bonds of the United States government or of the state of West Virginia.
Whenever any such person has placed an additional ten thousand dollars in the permanent endowment care fund out of gross sales proceeds or from any other source, such person after submitting satisfactory proof of this fact to its trustee may withdraw the original sum of ten thousand dollars from the permanent endowment care fund.
No person operating an established perpetual care cemetery in West Virginia on or before the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred seventy-three, shall continue to operate such cemetery without creating a permanent endowment fund and making regular deposits to such fund as required in section four of this article and entrusting the administration of such fund as required in section five of this article.

 

35-5A-5. Trustee of the permanent endowment care funds.


The trustee of the permanent endowment care fund shall be a federally insured trust company or a federally insured banking institution with fiduciary powers authorized and qualified to exercise trust powers under and subject to the provisions of article four, chapter thirty-one-a of this code, or of the corresponding law of another state. A nonresident federally insured trust company or nonresident federally insured banking institution so authorized and qualified may become a trustee of a permanent endowment care fund notwithstanding the provision of section seven, article eight-a, chapter thirty-one-a of this code. When a nonresident trust company or nonresident banking institution becomes a trustee of a permanent endowment care fund for a perpetual care cemetery in this state, said nonresident trust company or nonresident banking institution thereby constitutes the secretary of state as its true and lawful attorney-in-fact upon whom service of notice and process in any action or proceeding against it as trustee, and acceptance of such trust by said nonresident trust company or nonresident banking institution shall be a manifestation of agreement that any notice or process, which is served in the manner hereinafter provided in this section, shall be of the same legal force and validity as though such nonresident trust company or nonresident banking institution was personally served with notice and process within this state. Service of such notice and process and the manner of acceptance of the same by the secretary of state shall be in accordance with the provisions of section fifteen, article one, chapter thirty-one of this code.
Any nonresident trust company or nonresident banking institution appointed as trustee of a permanent endowment care fund shall immediately upon acceptance of the trust give bond in accordance with the provisions of section five, article five, chapter thirty-five of this code.
The trustee shall invest such permanent endowment care funds for the purpose of providing an income to be used for the maintenance, improvement and preservation of the grounds, lots, buildings, equipment, records, statuary, and other real and personal property of the cemetery, and shall acquire, invest, reinvest, exchange, retain, sell and manage all property now or hereafter coming into such trustee's care or control.
The trustee shall exercise the judgment and care under the circumstances then prevailing, which men of prudence, discretion and intelligence, exercise in the management of their own affairs, not in regard to speculation, but in regard to the permanent disposition of their funds, considering the probable income as well as the probable safety of their capital.
Within the limitations of the foregoing standard, any such trustee is authorized to acquire and retain without any order of any court, every kind of property, real, personal or mixed, and every kind of investment, specifically including, but not by way of limitation, bonds, debentures and other corporate obligations, and stocks, preferred or common, which men of prudence, discretion and intelligence acquire or retain for their own account.
The trustee shall prepare an annual report of all of the assets and investments of the permanent endowment care fund. One copy shall be maintained at the office of the cemetery and shall be available for inspection at reasonable times by owners of interment rights in the cemetery.
The trustee shall pay over to the cemetery all income derived from the permanent endowment care fund semiannually to be expended only for the maintenance, improvement and preservation of the grounds, lots, buildings, equipment, records, statuary and other real and personal property of the cemetery.

35-5A-6. Cemeteries exempted.

 

This article does not apply to any private or family cemetery wherein lots or spaces are not offered for public sale or to any cemetery which is owned and operated entirely and exclusively by churches, religious societies, established fraternal organizations, municipalities or other subdivisions of the state or a national cemetery

 

35-5B-1. Definitions.


The following words and phrases as used in this article, unless a different meaning is clearly indicated by the context, have the following meanings:
(1) "Burial vault" means a protective container for a casket which is used to prevent a grave from sinking.
(2) "Cemetery" means and includes all land and appurtenances including roadways, office buildings, outbuildings and other structures used or intended to be used for or in connection with the interment of human remains. The sprinkling of ashes or their burial in a biodegradable container on church grounds or their placement in a columbarium on church property does not constitute the creation of a cemetery.
(3) "Cemetery company" or "seller" means any person, partnership, firm or corporation engaged in the business of operating a cemetery or selling property, goods or services used in connection with interring or disposing of the remains or commemorating the memory of a deceased human being, where delivery of the property or goods or performance of the service may be delayed later than one hundred twenty days after receipt of the initial payment on account of such sale. Such property, goods or services include, but are not limited to, burial vaults, mausoleum crypts, lawn crypts, memorials, marker bases and opening and closing and/or interment services, but do not include graves or incidental additions such as dates, scrolls or other supplementary matter representing not more than ten percent of the total contract price.
(4) "Commissioner" or "tax commissioner" means the secretary of the West Virginia department of tax and revenue.
(5) "Compliance agent" means a natural person who owns or is employed by a cemetery company to assure the compliance of the cemetery company with the provisions of this article.
(6) "Cost requirement" means the total cost to the seller of the property, goods or services subject to the deposit requirements of section four of this article required by that seller's total contracts.
(7) "Delivery" means that the seller has transferred physical possession of the identified goods, has attached or installed such goods at the designated interment space or has actually furnished preneed cemetery company contract services. In the case of preneed goods which are identified with the name of the buyer or other contract beneficiary, "delivery" may also occur when: (A) The seller pays for and stores the goods at the cemetery where they are intended to be used; or (B) the seller has paid the supplier of such goods and the supplier has caused such merchandise to be manufactured and stored, has caused title to such merchandise to be transferred to the buyer or other contract beneficiary and has agreed to ship such merchandise upon his or her request.
(8) "Grave" means a below-ground right of interment.
(9) "Interment" means the disposition of human remains by earth burial, entombment or inurnment.
(10) "Lawn crypt" means a burial receptacle, usually constructed of reinforced concrete, installed underground in quantity on gravel or tile underlay. Each crypt becomes an integral part of the given garden area and is considered real property.
(11) "Marker base" means the visible part of the base or foundation upon which the memorial, marker or monument rests and is considered personal property.
(12) "Mausoleum crypt" means a burial receptacle usually constructed of reinforced concrete and usually constructed or assembled above the ground and is considered real property.
(13) "Memorials, markers or monuments" means the object used to identify the deceased including the base and is considered personal property.
(14) "Opening and closing or interment service" means any service associated with the excavation and filling in of a grave in a manner which will not disturb or invade adjacent grave sites.
(15) "Preneed" means at any time other than either at the time of death or while death is imminent.
(16) "Preneed cemetery company contract" means a contract for the sale of real and personal property, goods or services used in connection with interring or disposing of the remains or commemorating the memory of a deceased human being, where delivery of the property or performance of the service may be delayed for more than one hundred twenty days after the receipt of initial payment on account of such sale. Such property, goods or services include, but are not limited to, burial vaults, mausoleum crypts, lawn crypts, memorials, marker bases and opening and closing and/or interment services, but do not include graves or incidental additions such as dates, scrolls or other supplementary matter representing not more than ten percent of the total contract price.
(17) "Seller's trust account" means the total specific funds deposited from all of a specific seller's contracts, plus income on such funds allotted to that seller.
(18) "Specific trust funds" means funds identified with a certain preneed cemetery company contract for personal property, goods or services.
(19) "Trustee" means any natural person, partnership or corporation, including any bank, trust company, broker-dealer, foreign state charter trust, savings and loan association or credit union which receives money in trust pursuant to any agreement or contract made pursuant to the provisions of
this article

 

35-5B-2. Information filing; fees, compliance agent.


On or after the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-three, no person, partnership, firm or corporation may engage in the business of operating a cemetery company in this state without having first paid an annual registration fee established by the tax commissioner in an amount not to exceed four hundred dollars, and filing with the tax commissioner certain information which shall include the name and addresses of all officers, owners and directors of the cemetery company and the name of the designated compliance agent. The cemetery company shall notify the tax commissioner of any changes in the information required to be filed within ninety days of the date on which the change occurs. A new filing shall also be required if there is a change in the ownership of the cemetery company or if there is a change in the name of the compliance agent designated by the cemetery company. The cemetery company shall pay an additional fee as established by the commissioner in connection with the reporting of such changes, not to exceed one hundred dollars. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special account to be known as the "cemetery company account" into which all fees collected under this article shall be deposited: Provided, That amounts collected which are found from time to time to exceed funds needed for the purposes set forth in this article may be transferred to other accounts or funds and redesignated for other purposes by appropriation of the Legislature. Funds in this account shall be expended upon appropriation of the Legislature by the secretary of tax and revenue in connection with the administration of this article.

 

35-5B-3. Exemptions.


The provisions of this article do not apply to:
(1) Sales of property, goods and services subject to the provisions of article fourteen, chapter forty-seven of this code;
(2) Sales of services by perpetual care cemeteries subject to the provisions of article five-a of this chapter;
(3) Sales of property, goods and services by cemeteries owned and operated by a county, municipal corporation, by a church or by a nonstock corporation not operated for profit if the cemetery: (A) Does not compensate any officer or director except for reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of official duties; (B) does not sell or construct or directly or indirectly contract for the sale or construction of vaults or lawn or mausoleum crypts; and (C) uses proceeds from the sale of all graves and entombment rights for the sole purpose of defraying the direct expenses of maintaining the cemetery;
(4) Sales of property, goods and services by community cemeteries not operated for profit if the cemetery: (A) Does not compensate any officer, owner or director except for reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of official duties; and (B) uses the proceeds from the sale of the graves for the sole purpose of defraying the direct expenses of maintaining its facilities; and
(5) Sales of property, goods and services by family cemeteries wherein lots or spaces are not offered for public sale.

 

35-5-5. Permanent endowment funds for cemetery associations -- Trustee therefor; appointment; bond; compensation; vacancy.


The board of directors of any such cemetery association shall appoint a trustee, who shall be a responsible businessman or some solvent federally insured banking institution, to act as such trustee for a period of two years, or until his, or its, successor is appointed. Such trustee shall be known as the trustee of the permanent endowment fund of such cemetery association, and shall immediately upon his, or its, appointment and acceptance of the trust, give bond to the said cemetery association, with some solvent and reliable bonding company authorized to do business in this state, in a sum equal to the amount which may come into the hands of such trustee, which bond shall be increased or diminished from time to time so as always to equal at least the amount of the trust funds in the hands of such trustee; and the premium upon such bond shall be paid out of the income of the trust funds in the trustee's hands and as part of the cost of the administration of the trust fund. No trustee appointed under this section shall enter upon the discharge of his, or its, duties until such bond is given and approved by the board of directors of such cemetery association: Provided, That if the trustee so appointed by any such cemetery association be a federally insured banking institution authorized and qualified to exercise trust powers under and subject to the provisions of article four, chapter thirty-one-a of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, it shall not be required to give the bond hereinbefore provided, excepting and unless required by the provisions of section eighteen, article four, chapter thirty-one-a of said code. The board of directors of such cemetery association shall allow such trustee, for service as such, a negotiable, reasonable fee to be paid from such trust funds. In the event of a vacancy in such trusteeship, or failure of the board of directors of any such cemetery association to appoint such trustee, after being requested so to do by any stockholder of any such cemetery association, or its successor, or any citizen interested, application may be made to the circuit court of the county wherein such cemetery association is located, and it shall be the duty of the circuit court of such county to appoint a trustee, who, when so appointed and qualified, shall have all the powers and perform all the duties of such trustee as provided in this section.