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.
(1) Be written in clear understandable language and printed in easy-to-read type, size and style;
(2) Include the name and address of the seller, the contract buyer and the person for whom the contract is bought if other than the contract buyer;
(3) Contain a complete description of the property, goods or services bought, including an itemization of the retail price of the property, goods or services bought and, specifically, the retail price of the monument, marker, installation, foundation, the opening and closing of the grave site and any other charges. Failure to provide this information is a violation of subsection (f), section one hundred two, article six, chapter forty-six-a of this code, relating to unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices;
(4) Clearly disclose whether the retail price of the property, goods or services bought is guaranteed;
(5) Provide that when the particular property, goods or services specified in the contract are unavailable at the time of delivery, the seller shall furnish property, goods or services similar in size, style and equal in quality of material and workmanship, and that the representative of the deceased has the right to reasonably choose the property, goods or services to be substituted; and
(6) Be executed in duplicate and a signed copy given to the buyer.
(b) For purposes of this article, the following words and phrases have the following meanings:
(1) "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.
(2) "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.
(b) (1) Prior to deeming an owner's interment rights abandoned, a cemetery company shall send notice of such intent to the owner of record, his or her heirs or assigns or any next of kin, by a registered letter, return receipt requested, at the owner's last known address requesting the owner's current address or the names and addresses of the heirs or assigns of the owner of record. If a written response is received, then the records of the cemetery company shall be amended accordingly and the interment rights shall be maintained for seventy-five years from the date the written response was received by the cemetery company.
(2) If the registered letter is undeliverable or if no response is received within thirty days after the registered letter was sent, then the cemetery company shall advertise a notice of its intent to declare the interment rights abandoned in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the cemetery is located and also in the county of the last known address of the owner of record, which notice shall contain the name and business address of the cemetery and the name of the last owner of record. If no response to the newspaper notice is made on behalf of the owner of record or his or her heirs or assigns within one hundred twenty days, then the interment rights shall be deemed abandoned and shall revert to the cemetery company. Upon the reversion of interment rights to the cemetery company, the cemetery company shall amend its records accordingly and maintain these records for thirty years. If a written response is received, then the records of the cemetery company shall be amended accordingly and the interment rights shall be maintained for seventy-five years from the date the written response was received by the cemetery company.
(c) If, within thirty years after the interment rights have been declared abandoned, the owner of record or his or her heirs or assigns can prove to a cemetery company or a court of competent jurisdiction that he or she would be entitled to the interment rights of the owner of record if those rights had not reverted to the cemetery company as provided for by this section, then the cemetery company shall, at no cost, provide a right of interment similar to the one that was deemed abandoned.
(d) The provisions of this section shall take effect on the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine, and shall not be construed to apply retroactively.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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