Death Care Series: Best Practices in Light of the Amendments to the Illinois Cemetery Oversight Act and Illinois Cemetery Protection Act that Go into Effect on January 1, 2024
The recent Amendments to the Illinois Cemetery Oversight Act and Illinois Cemetery Protection Act are focused on a cemetery’s rules and regulations and making those rules and regulations accessible to the public.
The Cemetery Oversight Act requires a cemetery to have “clear and specific cemetery rules and regulations” and to apply them equally to “all consumers and individuals.” In light of these new amendments, now is an opportune time for cemeteries to write or revise their rules and regulations. Such rules and regulations protect the cemetery environment and are helpful in providing both consumers and the public with guidance about the behavior expected within the cemetery. The Cemetery Protection Act also deters bad behavior by making violations of the rules and regulations a "petty offense" subject to a fine.
The Cemetery Protection Act authorizes a cemetery to create rules and regulations for the government of the cemetery. This includes rules regarding driving and speed of vehicles in the cemetery; the use of cemetery property, including roadways, sidewalks, buildings and ponds; the operations and management of the cemetery; the protection of visitors and employees; and for maintaining order and quiet within the cemetery.
After establishing its rules and regulations, the Cemetery Protection Act mandates that the cemetery authority must make them publicly accessible and continuously available on their website or social media page. Moreover, every contract should include a mention of the cemetery’s website or social media page where these rules and regulations are posted. In cases where a cemetery lacks an online presence, it is required to either email the rules and regulations to the consumer or provide a physical copy at the time of contract signing or within 5 business days upon request. Additionally, each contract must feature a reference to the rules and regulations along with a notice indicating where the consumer can acquire a copy of the same.
In light of the above, a cemetery should consider the following:
- Either have the rules and regulations or a link to the rules and regulations prominently displayed on your website landing page.
- Note in the rules and regulations that they can be updated at any time by the cemetery.
- Prominently place on contracts where the rules and regulations can be accessed via the website as well as a mailing address to submit written requests for a copy of the rules and regulations.
- In the event that a cemetery does not have a website, have an acknowledgement on the contract to be initialed by the consumer in which the consumer acknowledges receipt of the rules and regulations.