Death Care Series: What You Should Know About The Changes To The Various Act That Take Effect On January 1, 2024
On August 4, 2023, Illinois enacted the Michael Bauer Memorial Act, which makes changes to the Illinois Cemetery Oversight Act, the Illinois Cemetery Protection Act and the Illinois Disposition of Remains Act. Here is what you need to know about the recent amendments.
Cemetery Oversight Act. The stated purpose of this Act is “to ensure that the deceased be accorded equal treatment and respect for human dignity without reference to ethnic origins, cultural backgrounds, or religious affiliations.” To that end, the following changes have been made to the Oversight Act.
Section 10-23 (j) is revised to require licensed cemetery authorities (including those with a partial exemption) and their licensed cemetery managers and customer service employees “to have clear and specific cemetery rules and regulations, subject to other applicable law, including this Act, and to apply them equally to all consumers and individuals
families served.” The stricken word was replaced with the words in bold. It is not anticipated that this revision will have a material effect on cemetery authorities.
Section 20-5(f) is revised to require cemetery authorities to make their rules and regulations continuously available to the public by having the rules and regulations on an “Internet website or social media page, with a reference to and notice of the rules and regulations for services in relation to the cemetery.” If a cemetery authority does not have a website or social media page, it must provide an electronic or paper copy of such rules within 5 days of a request. Finally, in addition to making available current prices for interment, inurnment and entombment, a cemetery must also make available for viewing and provide a copy of its current prices for disinterment services.
Cemetery Protection Act. The revisions to this Act mirror in many ways the revisions to the Cemetery Oversight Act. Section 2(a) of this Act authorizes the cemetery authority to make rules and regulations governing the use of the cemetery. Section 2(b) was added to require that such rules be made available to the public on the cemetery authority’s Internet website or social media page. Additionally, each contract that the cemetery authority presents must have a reference to and notice of the Internet website or social media page that contains those rules and regulations.
In the event that the cemetery authority does not have an Internet website or social media page, Section 2(c) allows the cemetery authority to provide the consumer with an email or paper copy of the rules and regulations at the time that the contract is executed or within five (5) days of a request for a copy of the rules and regulations. Each contract should also contain a reference to and notice of the rules and regulations with information about where the consumer can access or obtain a copy of the rules and regulations.
Disposition of Remains Act. This Act has been revised to include a new paragraph under the Disputes section. Previously, this section only addressed disputes regarding the disposition of a decedent’s remains. With this amendment, any dispute over disinterment will be resolved by a circuit court. Additionally, if the court finds that a party to the disinterment dispute has acted in bad faith, the court may award costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees, against that party.