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CHAPTER 47-29

CEMETERY CORPORATIONS

47-29-1      Cemetery corporations authorized--Nonprofit corporation law as applicable.
47-29-2      Permissible bylaw provisions--General management--Conformity with other corporation law.
47-29-3      Cemetery lot owners as members of corporation--Vote--Jointly owned lots--Proxy voting.
47-29-4      Quorum of members--Proxies counted.
47-29-5      Notice of election of directors--Publication of notice--Time of publication--Notice of other meetings.
47-29-6      Directors required to be members.
47-29-7      Grounds previously used for burial--Lot owners as members of corporation.
47-29-8      Transfer of lot to individual owner for burial--Succession to ownership of lot--Joint owners.
47-29-9      Failure to inter or care for lot or mausoleum--Resale of lot--Transfer of mausoleum to municipality--Notice required.
47-29-10      Other laws applicable to nonperpetual care cemeteries.
47-29-11      Power of corporation to hold real estate--Maximum holdings--Platting and sale of lots.
47-29-12      Additional holdings of real property--Sale of additional holdings.
47-29-13      Surveying and platting of cemetery grounds--Recordation--Lot numbering.
47-29-14      Sale of unplatted and unused ground.
47-29-15      Sale of platted but unused, unsold and unneeded ground--Determination by governing body of corporation--Confirmation.
47-29-16      Circuit court petition for confirmation--Contents of petition--Hearing--Notice of hearing--Method of notice--Including multiple tracts in petition.
47-29-17      Order granting or denying petition--Order as conclusive absent appeal.
47-29-18      Judgment as vacating plat or survey--Replatting.
47-29-19      Extension of cemetery boundaries--Purchase of lands--Condemnation of lands--Condemnation laws applicable.
47-29-20      Improvements on cemetery lands--Prohibited uses.
47-29-21      Authorization to hold personal property.
47-29-22      Authorization to establish perpetual fund--Donations--Election of trustees--Bond and accounting of trustees.
47-29-23      Distribution of proceeds from sale of cemetery lots--Use in care of cemetery--Expenses--Profit prohibited.
47-29-24      Percentage of proceeds used to pay debts.
47-29-25      Cemetery property as exempt from taxation and local assessments--Appropriation for state highway purposes of unused lands.
47-29-26      Validation of previous cemetery lot deeds.


     47-29-1.   Cemetery corporations authorized--Nonprofit corporation law as applicable. Incorporations for the purpose of establishing, operating, or maintaining cemeteries may be formed under the provisions of chapters 47-22 to 47-28, inclusive, relating to nonprofit corporations so far as applicable and conformable to the powers, duties, limitations, and policy in this chapter prescribed for cemetery corporations or associations.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1901; SL 1966, ch 17, § 1.


     47-29-2.   Permissible bylaw provisions--General management--Conformity with other corporation law. Cemetery corporations may make such provisions in their bylaws for general management and operation of the corporation, elections of directors and officers, removals and filling of vacancies, and corporate meetings as may be permitted by and conformable to the statutes under which the same are organized and conformable to their articles of incorporation and this chapter.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1902.


     47-29-3.   Cemetery lot owners as members of corporation--Vote--Jointly owned lots--Proxy voting. The owner or owners or proprietors of a lot or lots in any cemetery, and none other, shall by virtue of such ownership or proprietorship of any such lot be members of the cemetery corporation and entitled to one vote only for each such person owning a lot or lots in said cemetery. If there be more than one proprietor of a single lot then such one of said proprietors as the majority of the proprietors of such lot may designate shall cast the vote for same. Written proxy shall entitle a member to vote for another in addition to his own vote.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1903.


     47-29-4.   Quorum of members--Proxies counted. Five members of a cemetery corporation entitled to a vote under the provisions of § 47-29-3 shall constitute a quorum of the corporation to transact business of any kind including the election of officers, adoption, amendment, or repeal of bylaws, or amendment of articles of incorporation. Written proxies may be counted in making up the quorum.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1903; SL 1983, ch 329, § 1.


     47-29-5.   Notice of election of directors--Publication of notice--Time of publication--Notice of other meetings. Notice of any election of directors or officers of a cemetery corporation, except the original organization election, shall be given by publishing the same in a newspaper published in the county in which the cemetery is located and nearest the vicinity thereof stating the time and place of election and officers to be elected. Such notice must be published at least ten days before the date fixed for such election. The notice required for other meetings of the officers or directors shall be as fixed in the bylaws.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1903.


     47-29-6.   Directors required to be members. Each director of a cemetery corporation shall be a member of the cemetery corporation.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1903; SL 1983, ch 329, § 2.


     47-29-7.   Grounds previously used for burial--Lot owners as members of corporation. When grounds purchased or otherwise acquired for cemetery purposes have been previously used as a burial ground, those who are lot owners at the time of the purchase shall continue to own the same and be members of the corporation with all the privileges the purchase of a corporation lot confers.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1904.


     47-29-8.   Transfer of lot to individual owner for burial--Succession to ownership of lot--Joint owners. Whenever an interment is made in any cemetery lot transferred to an individual owner by the corporation, the same thereby becomes forever inalienable while any person is buried therein and descends in regular line of succession to the heirs-at-law of the owner, but any one or more of such heirs or any other joint owners may release to each other his or their interest in the same.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1905.


     47-29-9.   Failure to inter or care for lot or mausoleum--Resale of lot--Transfer of mausoleum to municipality--Notice required. Any cemetery lot or lots, or parts of lots, transferred to an individual owner by the corporation, or any mausoleum if the charter of the mausoleum corporation has expired, and in which no interment has been made and which for a period of ten years or more remains uncared for and neglected by the owner or owners thereof, except where such owner or owners are entitled to perpetual care of such lot or lots, or parts of lots, may be resold by the association or the title to and responsibility for the repair and care of the building and grounds upon which the mausoleum is located may be transferred to the municipality in which the mausoleum is located. Notice of either the resale or title transfer shall be given and is final upon its publication for three successive weeks in a legal newspaper of the county where the lots or mausoleum are located. Resale of a cemetery lot or transfer of the title to a mausoleum may be made at any time after the completion of the publication.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1905; SL 1984, ch 302, § 1.


     47-29-10.   Other laws applicable to nonperpetual care cemeteries. Any nonperpetual care cemetery, including nonperpetual care cemetery organizations excepted from the provisions of chapter 55-12 by § 55-12-1, shall be subject to the duties imposed and the rights provided by §§ 47-29-8 and 47-29-9.

Source: SDC Supp 1960, § 11.19A11 as enacted by SL 1966, ch 18.


     47-29-11.   Power of corporation to hold real estate--Maximum holdings--Platting and sale of lots. Every cemetery corporation has power to purchase or take by gift, grant, or devise, or to hold real property not exceeding one hundred sixty acres for the sole use and purpose of a burial ground and to lay out the same into lots, with convenient avenues and walks, and to sell the lots for the sole use and purpose of burying the dead.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1906; SL 1949, ch 24; SL 1955, ch 16.


     47-29-12.   Additional holdings of real property--Sale of additional holdings. Any cemetery corporation shall also have power to acquire any real property other than real property specified in § 47-29-11, if such acquirement is by gift, by devise under a will, or by purchase at foreclosure sale of any such real property on which such corporation holds a lien. Any such real property heretofore so acquired by such corporation may continue to be owned and held by such corporation. Any such real property so acquired and outside the boundaries of other real estate acquired for cemetery purposes may be sold and conveyed by such corporation, the same as with reference to real property owned and held by other corporations.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1906 as added by SL 1955, ch 16.


     47-29-13.   Surveying and platting of cemetery grounds--Recordation--Lot numbering. A cemetery corporation shall cause its land, or such portion thereof as may from time to time become necessary for that purpose, to be surveyed into lots, avenues, and walks, and platted, and the plat of ground as surveyed shall be acknowledged and recorded in the office of the register of deeds of the county. Each lot shall be regularly numbered by the surveyor and such number shall be marked on the plat and recorded.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1906; SL 1949, ch 24; SL 1955, ch 16.


     47-29-14.   Sale of unplatted and unused ground. Any cemetery association or cemetery corporation which owns a tract of land which is included within the boundaries of real estate acquired for cemetery purposes, and which lies adjacent to the outer boundaries thereof, and which tract has not been surveyed as required by § 47-29-13 and in which tract no interment has been made, may sell the same when it is determined by it that such tract will not be needed for cemetery purposes.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1906 as added by SL 1949, ch 24; SL 1955, ch 16.


     47-29-15.   Sale of platted but unused, unsold and unneeded ground--Determination by governing body of corporation--Confirmation. If any cemetery association or cemetery corporation owns a tract of land surveyed and platted as required by § 47-29-13 which is included within the boundaries of real estate acquired for cemetery purposes, and which tract lies adjacent to the outer boundaries of such real estate acquired for cemetery purposes, and in which tract no interment has been made, and in which tract nobody holds any existing right, acquired by purchase or otherwise, to make an interment, said corporation or association may sell such tract either as an entirety or in subdivisions, if and when it is determined, as hereinafter provided, that there is no reasonable ground for belief that such tract or any part thereof will be needed for interment purposes for a period of twenty years in the future. Such determination shall be by the governing body of such corporation or association, confirmed as provided in §§ 47-29-16 and 47-29-17.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1906 as added by SL 1955, ch 16.


     47-29-16.   Circuit court petition for confirmation--Contents of petition--Hearing--Notice of hearing--Method of notice--Including multiple tracts in petition. Before making any sale or conveyance of the whole or any part of a tract described in § 47-29-15, the cemetery corporation or association shall file with the circuit court for the county in which such corporation or association maintains a cemetery a petition for confirmation of the determination made under § 47-29-15, which petition shall set forth the facts showing that such tract is eligible under said section for sale and conveyance. Such court shall thereupon by order appoint a time and place for hearing on such petition, which time shall be not less than thirty days from the date of filing such petition, and which order shall also contain a description of such tract, a statement as to the nature of the order sought by said petition, a reference to said petition on file with the clerk of said court for further particulars, and a statement that any person interested may appear at said hearing and be heard as to whether such petition is to be granted. Notice of such hearing shall be given by publication of such order in a legal newspaper published in said county once each week for three successive weeks prior to said hearing. Any number of such tracts, if meeting the requirements of § 47-29-15, may be included in such a petition, whether or not such tracts are contiguous.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1906 as added by SL 1955, ch 16.


     47-29-17.   Order granting or denying petition--Order as conclusive absent appeal. At the hearing required by § 47-29-16, and after receipt of evidence offered in support of such petition and evidence, if any, offered in opposition thereto, the circuit court shall grant such petition if satisfied that the evidence sustains the same, and if not, such petition shall be dismissed. If such court grants such petition, judgment shall be entered accordingly and, subject only to right of appeal, shall conclusively establish the right of the cemetery corporation or association to make such sale and such conveyance.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1906 as added by SL 1955, ch 16.


     47-29-18.   Judgment as vacating plat or survey--Replatting. Judgment granting a petition filed under § 47-29-16 shall have the effect of vacating any plat or survey theretofore made of such tract, whether or not such plat or survey has been recorded, and the cemetery corporation or association shall thereupon be authorized to cause to be made, as provided by law, a new plat of said tract or any part thereof and to cause such plat to be recorded.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1906 as added by SL 1955, ch 16.


     47-29-19.   Extension of cemetery boundaries--Purchase of lands--Condemnation of lands--Condemnation laws applicable. Whenever the officers of a cemetery association incorporated under and controlled by the laws of this state find it necessary to extend the boundaries of such cemetery in order to provide for the burial of the dead, they shall first locate and describe clearly the location and extent of the adjoining land desired. They shall then seek to secure the same by offer of purchase. If, however, the owner or owners of such tract or tracts adjoining the cemetery already established shall refuse to sell the lands described for proper and just compensation and by exorbitant price shall make it impracticable for such officers to purchase the same, such officers may proceed to have the land located and described by them condemned as provided in the statutes and rules of court for condemnation of private property for public use.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1907.


     47-29-20.   Improvements on cemetery lands--Prohibited uses. A cemetery corporation shall have power to inclose, improve, and embellish its grounds, avenues and walks, and to erect buildings or vaults for its use and to prescribe in its bylaws rules for the sale, inclosure, or ornamentation of lots and for erecting monuments or gravestones thereon; and to prohibit any use, division, improvement, or ornamentation of any lot which the corporation may deem improper; and to make other bylaws and acts to the end that all the appliances, conveniences, and benefits of the public and private cemetery may be obtained and secured.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1908.


     47-29-21.   Authorization to hold personal property. A cemetery corporation may hold such personal property as the legitimate and necessary purposes of the corporation may require.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1906; SL 1949, ch 24; SL 1955, ch 16.


     47-29-22.   Authorization to establish perpetual fund--Donations--Election of trustees--Bond and accounting of trustees. A cemetery corporation also has power:
             (1)      To establish a perpetual fund to be used in purchasing and maintaining mowing equipment, hiring maintenance staff, caring for, ornamenting, beautifying, and improving its grounds;
             (2)      To receive donations, devises, and legacies for such purpose; and
             (3)      To elect three trustees to care for and invest such trust fund in such manner and under such restrictions and for such term or terms as may be prescribed by its articles of incorporation or bylaws.
     The directors of any such corporation have power to require bonds from such trustees, from time to time, conditioned for the faithful discharge of their duties in such amounts as such board may deem necessary for the safety and proper security of such fund; and such trustees shall account at least once each year for all income arising from such perpetual fund and to make a full and detailed report of the condition of the fund if required by the board of directors.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1909; SL 2012, ch 225, § 1; SL 2013, ch 232, § 1.


     47-29-23.   Distribution of proceeds from sale of cemetery lots--Use in care of cemetery--Expenses--Profit prohibited. The proceeds arising from the sale or resale by a cemetery corporation of lots, after deducting expenses of purchasing, inclosing, laying out, and improving the ground and of erecting buildings, shall be exclusively applied, appropriated, and used in protecting, preserving, improving, and embellishing the cemetery and its appurtenances; in the preservation, care, and marking of abandoned or neglected graves and in the repairing of monuments or gravestones thereon; and paying the necessary expenses of the corporation; and must not be appropriated to any purpose of profit to the corporation or its members.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1910.


     47-29-24.   Percentage of proceeds used to pay debts. At least fifty percent of the gross proceeds of sales of lots or graves must be applied as often as every six months to the payment of the debts and obligations of the cemetery corporation.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1910.


     47-29-25.   Cemetery property as exempt from taxation and local assessments--Appropriation for state highway purposes of unused lands. All the property of every cemetery corporation and the lots sold by it to individual proprietors shall be exempt from taxation, assessment, lien, attachment, and from levy and sale upon execution and all such real property shall be exempt from appropriation for streets, roads, or any other public uses or purposes, except that the State Department of Transportation may appropriate real property necessary for highway construction from real property owned by cemetery corporations no portion of which has at the time of the commencement of the condemnation action been used for burial purposes.

Source: SDC 1939, § 11.1911; SL 1963, ch 32, § 1; SL 1964, ch 19, § 1.


     47-29-26.   Validation of previous cemetery lot deeds. All instruments of conveyance of real property, lots, or parts of lots made by any cemetery corporation prior to January 1, 1994, are, notwithstanding any omission, irregularity, or defect in such instruments and the proceedings, resolutions, and other actions had and taken by such cemetery corporation to sell, exchange, transfer, and convey the same, hereby validated, legalized, and cured to the extent that such conveyance shall operate to convey and transfer title to the person or persons named as grantee or grantees in such instruments of conveyance all the right, title, and interest of said cemetery corporation in and to such real property, lots, or parts of lots.

Source: SL 1957, ch 507; SDC Supp 1960, § 65.0339; SL 1994, ch 348, § 2.


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