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Current Washington State Laws regarding cemeteries:

 

Chapter 65.04 RCW

Duties of County Audtor


RCW Sections

65.04.015 Definitions.
65.04.020 Duty to provide records.
65.04.030 Instruments to be recorded or filed.
65.04.033 Notice of abandoned cemetery document -- Recording requirements.
65.04.040 Method for recording instruments -- Marginal notations -- Arrangement of records.
65.04.045 Recorded instruments--Requirements -- Content restrictions -- Form.
65.04.047 Recorded instruments -- Cover sheet -- When required -- Form.
65.04.048 Additional fee for certain documents not meeting requirements--Signed statement.
65.04.050 Index of instruments, how made and kept -- Recording of plat names.
65.04.060 Record when lien is discharged.
65.04.070 Recording judgments affecting real property.
65.04.080 Entries when instruments offered for record -- Content restrictions.
65.04.090 Further endorsements -- Delivery.
65.04.110 Liability of auditor for damages.
65.04.115 Names on documents, etc., to be printed or typewritten -- Indexing.
65.04.130 Fees to be paid or tendered.
65.04.140 Auditor as custodian of records.

Notes:

Corporate seals, effect of absence from instrument: RCW 64.04.105.

County auditor: Chapter 36.22 RCW.

Fees of county officers, generally: Chapter 36.18 RCW.

Powers of appointment: Chapter 11.95 RCW.

 

Title 68 RCW

Cemeteries, morgues, and human remains


Chapters

68.04 Definitions.
68.05 Cemetery board.
68.20 Private cemeteries.
68.24 Cemetery property.
68.28 Mausoleums and columbariums.
68.32 Title and rights to cemetery plots.
68.36 Abandoned lots.
68.40 Endowment and nonendowment care.
68.44 Endowment care fund.
68.46 Prearrangement contracts.
68.50 Human remains.
68.52 Public cemeteries and morgues.
68.54 Annexation and merger of cemetery districts.
68.56 Penal and miscellaneous provisions.
68.60 Abandoned and historic cemeteries and historic graves.
68.64 Uniform anatomical gift act.

Notes:

Burial and removal permits, death certificates, vital statistics: Chapter 70.58 RCW.

Burial insurance: RCW 18.39.240 through 18.39.360.

Cemetery districts, excess levies authorized: RCW 84.52.052.

Cemetery funds transferred to state treasury: RCW 43.79.330.

Conveyance of real property by public bodies -- Recording: RCW 65.08.095.

Embalmers and funeral directors: Chapter 18.39 RCW.

Funeral service contracts: RCW 18.39.240 through 18.39.360.

Indian graves and records: Chapter 27.44 RCW.

Indigent persons: RCW 36.39.030.

Veterans, burial: Chapter 73.24 RCW.

Vital statistics: Chapter 70.58 RCW.

Washington veterans' home and soldiers' home, burial of deceased members: RCW 72.36.110.

 

 


Laws of particular interest:

 


RCW 65.04.033

Notice of abandoned cemetery document - Recording requirements.


Any person who has knowledge of the existence of any cemetery, abandoned cemetery, historical cemetery, or historic grave that has not been dedicated pursuant to RCW 68.24.010 through 68.24.040 may file for recording, in the county in which the cemetery or grave is located, a notice of abandoned cemetery document providing notice of the existence of the cemetery or grave. Such document shall contain the legal description of the property, the approximate location of the cemetery or grave within the property, the name of the owner or reputed owner of the property, and the assessor's tax parcel or account number. The auditor or recording officer shall index the document to the names of the property owner and the person executing the document.

[1999 c 367 § 1.]

 


RCW 68.20.110

Nonprofit cemetery association — Tax exempt land.


Nonprofit cemetery associations shall be authorized to purchase or take by gift or devise, and hold land exempt from execution and from any appropriation to public purposes for the sole purpose of a cemetery not exceeding eighty acres, which shall be exempt from taxation if intended to be used exclusively for burial purposes without discrimination as to race, color, national origin or ancestry, and in nowise with a view to profit of the members of such association: PROVIDED, That when the land already held by the association is all practically used then the amount thereof may be increased by adding thereto not exceeding twenty acres at a time.

[2005 c 365 § 72; 1961 c 103 § 2; 1899 c 33 § 3; RRS § 3766. Formerly RCW 68.20.110 and 68.24.200.]

Notes:

     Construction -- 1961 c 103: See note following RCW 49.60.040.

Property taxes, exemptions: RCW 84.36.020.

 





RCW 68.24.070

Permanency of dedication.


After property is dedicated to cemetery purposes pursuant to RCW 68.24.010 through 68.24.060, neither the dedication, nor the title of a plot owner, shall be affected by the dissolution of the cemetery authority, by nonuser on its part, by alienation of the property, by any incumbrances, by sale under execution, or otherwise except as provided in *this act.

[1943 c 247 § 67; Rem. Supp. 1943 § 3778-67.]

Notes:

     *Reviser's note: For "this act," see note following RCW 68.04.020.

 



RCW 68.24.090

Removal of dedication — Procedure.



     *** CHANGE IN 2009 *** (SEE 2126-S.SL) ***

Property dedicated to cemetery purposes shall be held and used exclusively for cemetery purposes, unless and until the dedication is removed from all or any part of it by an order and decree of the superior court of the county in which the property is situated, in a proceeding brought by the cemetery authority for that purpose and upon notice of hearing and proof satisfactory to the court:

     (1) That no placements of human remains were made in or that all placements of human remains have been removed from that portion of the property from which dedication is sought to be removed.

     (2) That the portion of the property from which dedication is sought to be removed is not being used for placement of human remains.

     (3) That notice of the proposed removal of dedication has been given in writing to both the cemetery board and the *office of archaeology and historic preservation. This notice must be given at least sixty days before filing the proceedings in superior court. The notice of the proposed removal of dedication shall be recorded with the auditor or recording officer of the county where the cemetery is located at least sixty days before filing the proceedings in superior court.

[2005 c 365 § 75; 1999 c 367 § 2; 1987 c 331 § 34; 1943 c 247 § 76; Rem. Supp. 1943 § 3778-76.]

Notes:

     *Reviser's note: Powers, duties, and functions of the office of archaeology and historic preservation were transferred to the department of archaeology and historic preservation pursuant to 2005 c 333 § 12.

     Effective date -- 1987 c 331: See RCW 68.05.900.

 



RCW 68.24.170

Record of ownership and transfers.


A record shall be kept of the ownership of all plots or rights of interment in the cemetery, which have been conveyed by the cemetery authority and of all transfers of plots and rights of interment in the cemetery. No transfer of any plot or right of interment, shall be complete or effective until recorded on the books of the cemetery authority.

[2005 c 365 § 83; 1943 c 247 § 40; Rem. Supp. 1943 § 3778-40. FORMER PART OF SECTION: 1943 c 247 § 41 now codified as RCW 68.24.175.]

 



RCW 68.56.010

Unlawful damage to graves, markers, shrubs, etc. — Interfering with funeral.


Every person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor who unlawfully or without right wilfully does any of the following:

     (1) Destroys, cuts, mutilates, effaces, or otherwise injures, tears down or removes, any tomb, plot, monument, memorial or marker in a cemetery, or any gate, door, fence, wall, post or railing, or any enclosure for the protection of a cemetery or any property in a cemetery.

     (2) Destroys, cuts, breaks, removes or injures any building, statuary, ornamentation, tree, shrub, flower or plant within the limits of a cemetery.

     (3) Disturbs, obstructs, detains or interferes with any person carrying or accompanying human remains to a cemetery or funeral establishment, or engaged in a funeral service, or an interment.

[1943 c 247 § 36; Rem. Supp. 1943 § 3778-36. Cf. 1909 c 249 § 240 and 1856-57 p 28 §§ 4, 5. Formerly RCW 68.48.010.]

 



RCW 68.56.030

Unlawful damage to graves, markers, shrubs, etc. — Exceptions.


The provisions of *RCW 68.48.010 do not apply to the removal or unavoidable breakage or injury, by a cemetery authority, of any thing placed in or upon any portion of its cemetery in violation of any of the rules or regulations of the cemetery authority, nor to the removal of anything placed in the cemetery by or with the consent of the cemetery authority which has become in a wrecked, unsightly or dilapidated condition.

[1943 c 247 § 37; Rem. Supp. 1943 § 3778-37. Formerly RCW 68.48.030.]

Notes:

     *Reviser's note: RCW 68.48.010 was recodified as RCW 68.56.010 pursuant to 1987 c 331 § 89.

68.56.050  <<  68.56.060 >>   68.56.070




RCW 68.56.060

Police authority — Who may exercise.


The sexton, superintendent or other person in charge of a cemetery, and such other persons as the cemetery authority designates have the authority of a police officer for the purpose of maintaining order, enforcing the rules and regulations of the cemetery association, the laws of the state, and the ordinances of the city or county, within the cemetery over which he has charge, and within such radius as may be necessary to protect the cemetery property.

[1943 c 247 § 55; Rem. Supp. 1943 § 3778-55. Formerly RCW 68.48.080.]

 



RCW 68.60.020

Dedication.


Any cemetery, abandoned cemetery, historical cemetery, or historic grave that has not been dedicated pursuant to RCW 68.24.030 and 68.24.040 shall be considered permanently dedicated and subject to RCW 68.24.070. Removal of dedication may only be made pursuant to RCW 68.24.090 and 68.24.100.

[1999 c 367 § 3; 1990 c 92 § 2.]

 


 

RCW 68.60.030

Preservation and maintenance corporations — Authorization of other corporations to restore, maintain, and protect abandoned cemeteries.



     *** CHANGE IN 2009 *** (SEE 2126-S.SL) ***

(1)(a) The archaeological and historical division of the department of community, trade, and economic development may grant by nontransferable certificate authority to maintain and protect an abandoned cemetery upon application made by a preservation organization which has been incorporated for the purpose of restoring, maintaining, and protecting an abandoned cemetery. Such authority shall be limited to the care, maintenance, restoration, protection, and historical preservation of the abandoned cemetery, and shall not include authority to make burials. In order to activate a historical cemetery for burials, an applicant must apply for a certificate of authority to operate a cemetery from the state cemetery board.

     (b) Those preservation and maintenance corporations that are granted authority to maintain and protect an abandoned cemetery shall be entitled to hold and possess burial records, maps, and other historical documents as may exist. Maintenance and preservation corporations that are granted authority to maintain and protect an abandoned cemetery shall not be liable to those claiming burial rights, ancestral ownership, or to any other person or organization alleging to have control by any form of conveyance not previously recorded at the county auditor's office within the county in which the abandoned cemetery exists. Such organizations shall not be liable for any reasonable alterations made during restoration work on memorials, roadways, walkways, features, plantings, or any other detail of the abandoned cemetery.

     (c) Should the maintenance and preservation corporation be dissolved, the archaeological and historical division of the department of community, trade, and economic development shall revoke the certificate of authority.

     (d) Maintenance and preservation corporations that are granted authority to maintain and protect an abandoned cemetery may establish care funds.

     (2) Except as provided in subsection (1) of this section, the department of community, trade, and economic development may, in its sole discretion, authorize any Washington nonprofit corporation that is not expressly incorporated for the purpose of restoring, maintaining, and protecting an abandoned cemetery, to restore, maintain, and protect one or more abandoned cemeteries. The authorization may include the right of access to any burial records, maps, and other historical documents, but shall not include the right to be the permanent custodian of original records, maps, or documents. This authorization shall be granted by a nontransferable certificate of authority. Any nonprofit corporation authorized and acting under this subsection is immune from liability to the same extent as if it were a preservation organization holding a certificate of authority under subsection (1) of this section.

     (3) The department of community, trade, and economic development shall establish standards and guidelines for granting certificates of authority under subsections (1) and (2) of this section to assure that any restoration, maintenance, and protection activities authorized under this subsection are conducted and supervised in an appropriate manner.

[2005 c 365 § 150; 1995 c 399 § 168; 1993 c 67 § 1; 1990 c 92 § 3.]

 



RCW 68.60.040

Protection of cemeteries — Penalties.


(1) Every person who in a cemetery unlawfully or without right willfully destroys, cuts, mutilates, effaces, or otherwise injures, tears down or removes, any tomb, plot, monument, memorial, or marker in a cemetery, or any gate, door, fence, wall, post, or railing, or any enclosure for the protection of a cemetery or any property in a cemetery is guilty of a class C felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

     (2) Every person who in a cemetery unlawfully or without right willfully destroys, cuts, breaks, removes, or injures any building, statuary, ornamentation, tree, shrub, flower, or plant within the limits of a cemetery is guilty of a gross misdemeanor punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

     (3) Every person who in a cemetery unlawfully or without right willfully opens a grave; removes personal effects of the decedent; removes all or portions of human remains; removes or damages caskets, surrounds, outer burial containers, or any other device used in making the original burial; transports unlawfully removed human remains from the cemetery; or knowingly receives unlawfully removed human remains from the cemetery is guilty of a class C felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW.

[1990 c 92 § 4.]

 



RCW 68.60.050

Protection of historic graves — Penalty.



     *** CHANGE IN 2009 *** (SEE 2126-S.SL) ***

(1) Any person who knowingly removes, mutilates, defaces, injures, or destroys any historic grave shall be guilty of a class C felony punishable under chapter 9A.20 RCW. Persons disturbing historic graves through inadvertence, including disturbance through construction, shall reinter the human remains under the supervision of the *office of archaeology and historic preservation. Expenses to reinter such human remains are to be provided by the *office of archaeology and historic preservation to the extent that funds for this purpose are appropriated by the legislature.

     (2) This section does not apply to actions taken in the performance of official law enforcement duties.

     (3) It shall be a complete defense in a prosecution under subsection (1) of this section if the defendant can prove by a preponderance of evidence that the alleged acts were accidental or inadvertent and that reasonable efforts were made to preserve the remains accidentally disturbed or discovered, and that the accidental discovery or disturbance was properly reported.

[1999 c 67 § 1; 1989 c 44 § 5. Formerly RCW 68.05.420.]

Notes:

     *Reviser's note: Powers, duties, and functions of the office of archaeology and historic preservation were transferred to the department of archaeology and historic preservation pursuant to 2005 c 333 § 12.

     Intent -- 1989 c 44: See RCW 27.44.030.

     Captions not law -- Liberal construction -- 1989 c 44: See RCW 27.44.900 and 27.44.901.

Aug 29, 2014 at 03:17 AM

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