Thursday, August 23, 2007
Do you spend much time thinking about being dead, or cemeteries? Me neither, but I recently stumbled across an interesting Idaho law that got me thinking along these lines; the Endowment Cemetery Care Act.
Most everyone has seen an old, abandoned gravesite or cemetery. It’s tough to take care of something over the centuries, which presumably is how long you’ll be dead. Just ask the Egyptians, or think about the time you visited a grandparent’s or great grandparent’s grave.
Various governments, city, county, state, will manage and maintain some cemeteries, so they are probably going to be stable over time. Private cemeteries fall into two categories: them that promise perpetual or endowment care, and them that don’t. The former are regulated by Idaho’s Endowment Cemetery Care Act, which requires a certain amount of money, per plot, crypt, etc., be placed in an irrevocable trust.
The income from the trust is available for care of the cemetery, theoretically forever. However, since the caretaker can take out all the income from the trust, the principal never increases, so over time inflation will reduce the value. Still, it’s better than nothing.
The unregulated ones, the ones that don’t promise perpetual care, can just fold up anytime they want and abandon the cemetery.