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Session Law

2008

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Chapter 440 AN ACT RELATIVE TO CEMETERIES AND BURIALS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 114 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out sections 1 and 1A and inserting in place thereof the following 3 sections:-

Section 1. For purposes of this chapter the following words shall, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, have the following meanings:-
“Burial right”, the right to burial in a grave or lot held by the licensee of the grave or lot; however, the license is not equivalent to title to the property. Burial right to the entire lot or individual grave or rights may be granted or transferred by the licensee and with approval of the governing body of the cemetery.
“Cemetery”, an area of land set aside and dedicated for the final disposition of the remains of a deceased person.
“Columbarium”, a structure, room or space in a mausoleum or other building containing niches used to contain the cremated remains of a deceased person.
“Cremation”, the process of extreme dehydration and evaporation created with intense heat which reduces the composition of the body to inorganic bone fragments.
“Cremated remains”, the final processed substance remains of the reduced composition of the body to inorganic bone fragments.
“Crypt”, a chamber in a mausoleum of sufficient size, generally used to contain the casketed remains of a deceased person.
“Decorations”, the adornment, ornamentation, embellishment, memorialization, care or beautification of a grave in accordance with rules and regulations established by the governing body of the cemetery.
“Flag etiquette”, the requirement that a flag of the United States placed upon a grave to honor a veteran shall not touch the ground and shall not be allowed to remain if torn or faded or beyond a specified time period as determined by regulations of the United States Department of Defense, United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the governing body of the cemetery.
“Flag holders”, a device, known also as a commemorative marker, made to hold a flag of the United States which identifies the branch of service during observances honoring military veterans.
“Foot marker”, a flush to the ground memorial made of granite or bronze which is placed at the foot of the grave.
“Governing body”, the independent managing authority of a cemetery as applied to a national veterans cemetery, state veterans cemetery, municipal cemetery, religious cemetery or private non-profit cemetery.
“Grave”, a space in a cemetery that allows the burial right of either 1 or multiple in-ground burials of a deceased person.
“Grave liner”, an unsealed durable outer container of 2 or more pieces in which the casket is placed at time of burial in the earth.
“License of burial”, the right given for the use of a specific grave, lot, crypt, niche or other burial space.
“Lot”, a space set aside in a cemetery for several grave spaces.
“Memorial park”, a cemetery that permits the use only of flush-to-the-ground memorials.
“Mausoleum”, a building containing crypts for the entombment of a deceased casketed person.
“Monument or memorial”, a traditional upright monument usually made of granite, a flush-to–the-ground memorial usually made of bronze or granite, or a foot marker, as defined in this section, any of which is used for commemorating the life of a deceased person.
“Niche”, a recess in a columbarium used for the permanent placement of the cremated remains of a deceased person.
“Tomb”, a structure known as a receiving tomb or receiving vault designed for the temporary storage of a casketed body which is not to be interred immediately.
“Traditional cemetery”, a cemetery that allows upright traditional monuments.
“Urn”, a container to hold cremated remains which can be a durable and permanent urn placed in a niche or buried in the ground.
“Vault”, a 2-piece sealed durable outer container in which the casket is placed at the time of burial in the earth for additional protection; provided, however, that such container may have an inner liner to enhance appearance and sealing ability.
Section 1A. Five or more persons desirous of procuring, establishing and preparing a cemetery, or who are the majority in interest of the proprietors of an existing cemetery, may organize as a corporation, not for profit, in the manner provided in chapter 179; provided, however, that the corporation shall not sell or impair the right of a proprietor of an existing cemetery.
Section lB. A person who serves as director, officer or trustee of a nonprofit cemetery qualified as a tax exempt organization under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and who is not compensated for those services shall not be liable for an act or omission resulting in damages or injury to another person if that person so serving was acting in good faith and within the scope of his official functions or duties, unless the damage was caused by an act or omission intentionally designed to harm, or by a gross negligent act or omission which results in harm to a person.
Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting or modifying the liability of a person subject to this section for a cause of action arising out of the person’s operation of a motor vehicle.
Nothing in this section shall affect or modify the liability of a person subject to this section for financial misconduct or fraud in the use of the assets of the corporation.

SECTION 2. Section 8 of chapter 115 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2006 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:- The definitions contained in section 1 of chapter 114 shall be applicable to this section and section 9.

Approved December 30, 2008


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