updated: 4/26/2007 9:20:20 AM

New Indiana Law Aimed at Protecting Cemetery Funds

InsideIndianaBusiness.com Report

An Indiana bill has been signed into law that is aimed at ensuring the integrity of gravesites in Indiana cemeteries. The Consumer Protection Fund for Cemetery Maintenance law also helps to protect money that is paid in advance of funerals and burial services. The law takes effect July 1.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

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Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill signed into law today will ensure the integrity of gravesites in Indiana cemeteries and protect money paid in advance for funerals and burial services.

Co-sponsored by State Senator Jim Lewis (D-Charlestown), House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1305 will create the Consumer Protection Fund for Cemetery Maintenance, which would be used to pay for the upkeep of a cemetery if the owner is unable to do so and the money needed for maintenance is not available from the cemetery’s perpetual care fund. Cemetery owners will be responsible for contributing to the fund.

The act also specifies that a cemetery’s perpetual care fund must be segregated from other accounts belonging to the owner of the cemetery and would be subject to audits by the State Board of Funeral and Cemetery Service. A custodian or trustee of the perpetual care fund would also be required to file an annual accounting report with the board.

Lewis said this legislation is particularly pertinent for local residents and families involved with recent problems at Grandview Memorial Gardens in Madison. A class-action lawsuit was filed last week in Marion Circuit Court in Indianapolis accusing former cemetery owners of mishandling money that customers prepaid for burial and funeral services. The lawsuit asserts that past owners by failed to properly deposit money and made illegal withdrawals from accounts that should have been set aside in trust for maintenance and future prepaid services.

“I know we can’t erase the ordeal that the families in Madison have dealt with,” said Lewis. “But I hope this new law will mean that no other families have to go through what they did.”

HEA 1305 passed both the Senate and the House unanimously. It will go into effect July 1, 2007.

For more information on Senator Lewis, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.senatedemocrats.IN.gov.

Source: Indiana Senate Democrats

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