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New Jersey Cemetery Board
Frequently Asked Questions
 
  1. How can I contact the New Jersey Cemetery Board office.
  2. Can a cemetery charge me anything it wants to for services provided?
  3. Does the New Jersey Cemetery Board regulate all cemeteries in New Jersey?
  4. Does the New Jersey Cemetery Board have jurisdiction over religious societies or organizations that purchase graves in bulk for its members?
  5. Can a complaint be filed against a cemetery?
  6. What is the cost of a grave?
  7. Can money be withdrawn from the cemetery’s Maintenance and Preservation Fund?
  8. Must I purchase a burial vault?
  9. Can my pet be buried with me?
  10. How can I find out in which cemetery someone is buried?
  11. How can I find information about an old cemetery?
  12. Who can I contact regarding a Catholic cemetery?
  13. How can I get a copy of the NJ Cemetery Board meeting agenda and minutes?
  14. Can a monument/vault company sell graves & maintain cemeteries?
  15. May I hire an outside contractor to care for my parentsgraves or take care of the graves myself?
  16. I want to sell back to the cemetery graves that I purchased years ago, but the cemetery will not purchase them back.  Is this legal?
  17. Can I be buried on my private property?
  18. If I donate graves to a charitable organization would a deposit to the Maintenance & Preservation Trust Fund have to be made?
  19. What is the Maintenance and Preservation Trust Fund that is required by NJ Cemetery Board Statutes and Regulations?
  20. Are there any State regulations concerning monument specifications and dimensions?
  21. Are there any State laws, regulations governing the disposal (burial/cremation) of pets? Is there any state licensing required to operate a business for these purposes?  What are the rules regarding starting a Pet Cemetery?
  22. Are there any limitations as to what is reasonable and customary for foundation & installation fees for monument /markers at a cemetery in NJ?
  23. With reference to the "Maintenance and Preservation Trust Fund" required for all cemeteries, does the "trust" need to be in writing?  Are there any regulations regarding the "trust funds? Are the "trust funds" supervised by the State and if so, how are they supervised?
  24. Is it possible to see the filed cemetery rates for plots and services on your web site?
  25. Does NJ have any statute/regulation/policy regarding nature preserve/green cemeteries?

1. How can I contact the New Jersey Cemetery Board office? 

A. New Jersey Cemetery Board
124 Halsey Street
P.O. Box 45036
Newark, New Jersey 07101
(973) 504-6553
www. njconsumeraffairs.gov/cemetery 

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2. Can a cemetery charge me anything it wants to for services provided? 

A. Every cemetery company shall have a price list which shall be posted by the cemetery company in its office or another conspicuous location at the cemetery and filed with the New Jersey Cemetery Board; a cemetery company cannot charge a fee for a service that is not on the price list filed with the Board office, except when the service provided is unique or highly specialized.

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3. Does the New Jersey Cemetery Board regulate all cemeteries in New Jersey?

A. No.  The New Jersey Cemetery Board licenses and regulates cemetery companies that are considered non-sectarian or non-religious corporations.

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4. Does the New Jersey Cemetery Board have jurisdiction over religious societies or organizations that purchase graves in bulk for its members?

A. No, it does not; however, the Board may have jurisdiction over the cemetery involved if it is non-sectarian or has applied to be under the Board’s jurisdiction. 

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5. Can a complaint be filed against a cemetery? 

A. Every consumer has a right to file a complaint against a cemetery company that possesses a Certificate of Authority issued by the New Jersey Cemetery Board.  Complaints may be filed by contacting the:

New Jersey Cemetery Board
124 Halsey Street
P.O. Box 45036
Newark, New Jersey 07101
(973) 504-6553
or by downloading a complaint form at: www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/complaint/cemcom.pdf 

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6. What is the cost of a grave?

A. Plot prices may vary widely between different cemeteries and different locations in the same cemetery.  There is also a fee for opening and closing the grave.  Be sure you understand what you are getting and that for which you are paying.  The New Jersey Cemetery Board is not authorized to establish the prices at which graves may be sold or the charges for services rendered by cemeteries.   

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7. Can money be withdrawn from the cemetery’s Maintenance and Preservation Fund?

A. Every cemetery company shall establish an irrevocable trust fund, called the Maintenance and Preservation Fund, the income from which shall be expended for the maintenance and preservation of the cemetery for perpetuity.  As the Fund is an irrevocable trust fund, money cannot be withdrawn from the corpus of the Fund.

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8. Must I purchase a burial vault?

A. New Jersey state law does not require that you buy a burial vault or outer container to surround the casket in the grave. However, each cemetery has the right to establish its own rules and regulations regarding this subject.  Many cemeteries require that you have such a container to help prevent the ground from sinking and to protect the casket and the remains. Either a grave liner or a burial vault will satisfy these requirements. 

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9. Can my pet be buried with me?

A.  No, by statute codified as N.J.S.A. 45:27-2, "cemetery" means any land or place used or dedicated for use for burial of human remains or disposition of cremated human remains.  A cemetery, by definition, may not accept pets, unless it is exclusively a pet cemetery.

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10. How can I find out in which cemetery someone is buried?

A. Contact the NJ Bureau of Vital Statistics and Registration.
1 (609) 292-4087
1 (866) 649-8726 (toll-free nationwide)
 www.state.nj.us/health/vital 

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11. How can I find information about an old cemetery?

A. Contact the Historic Preservation Office.
(609) 984-0543

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12. Who can I contact regarding a Catholic cemetery?

A. The Office of Catholic Cemeteries.
40 Jackson Road
Medford, NJ 08055 
(609) 654-8208 x15
(609) 654-1734 (fax)

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13. How can I get a copy of the NJ Cemetery Board meeting agenda and minutes?

A. Go to the NJ Cemetery Board web site: 
www. njconsumeraffairs.gov/cemetery
or contact the Board office at:
(973) 504-6553  

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14. Can a monument/vault company sell graves & maintain cemeteries?

A. No, by statute codified as N.J.S.A. 45:27-16c, the sale of graves & the maintenance of cemeteries by monument/vault companies is prohibited. 

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15. May I hire an outside contractor to care for my parents’ graves or take care of the graves myself?

A. Yes, by statute codified as N.J.S.A.45:27-31, you or an outside contractor may maintain the graves provided that the maintenance is subject to the supervision of the management of the cemetery company to insure compliance with the rules and regulations of the cemetery.  You may be charged a reasonable fee for such supervision.   

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16. I want to sell back to the cemetery graves that I purchased years ago, but the cemetery will not purchase them back.  Is this legal?

A. Cemeteries in New Jersey are under no obligation to purchase back graves.  If a cemetery  does purchase them back, it does not have to pay the current going price of similar graves. 

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17. Can I be buried on my private property?

A. No, the only place that burial can take place in New Jersey is on land that is dedicated for cemetery purposes.  For your property to be used for burial, you would have to apply to the New Jersey Cemetery Board for a Certificate of Authority to operate as "cemetery company." 

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18. If I donate graves to a charitable organization would a deposit to the Maintenance & Preservation Trust Fund have to be made?

A. At the time of the donation no deposit would have to be made, however, when the charitable organization sells, transfers, or assigns a grave, a donation to the Trust Fund would have to be made.

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19. What is the Maintenance and Preservation Trust Fund that is required by NJ Cemetery Board Statutes and Regulations?

A. It is an irrevocable trust fund; the income from which shall be expended for the maintenance and preservation of the cemetery. A cemetery company shall collect and pay into the Maintenance and Preservation Fund the following fees and charges:

(1) On the initial sale by a cemetery company of each grave, 15% of the gross sales price;
(2) 10% of the initial sales price of a crypt or niche in a public mausoleum or columbarium;
(3) On bulk sales of graves, 15% of the current retail gross sale price of comparable graves;
(4) On bulk sales of crypts or niches, 10% of the current retail gross sale price of comparable   crypts or niches;
(5) on transfer/resale of a grave, 15% of the current gross sales price of equivalent graves, less any amounts previously paid to the Maintenance and Preservation Fund on sales of that grave;
(6) on transfer/ resale  of a crypt or niche, 15% of the current gross sales price of equivalent crypts or niches, less any amounts previously paid to the Maintenance and Preservation Fund on sales of that crypt or niche;
(7) For each interment or for the placement of cremated human remains, 3% of the charge for the interment or placement or $20, whichever is more;
(8) For a foundation, base or installation, 10% of the charge for the foundation, base or installation, or $20, whichever is more.

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20. Are there any State regulations concerning monument specifications and dimensions?

A. NJ Cemetery Law does not require specific dimensions for monumentation. The regulations of a particular cemetery regarding the specifics of memorials are usually provided by the cemetery to the monument dealers.  If your local monument dealer does not have the cemetery's regulations, he/she should request a copy from the cemetery.   

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21. Are there any State laws, regulations governing the disposal (burial/cremation) of pets? Is there any state licensing required to operate a business for these purposes?  What are the rules regarding starting a Pet Cemetery? 

A. This Board does not have jurisdiction over pet cemeteries; they are not licensed in New Jersey.  Any inquires/complaints regarding Pets Cemeteries could be addressed to:
The Office of Consumer Protection
124 Halsey Street
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 503-6200
 

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22. Are there any limitations as to what is reasonable and customary for foundation & installation fees for monument /markers at a cemetery in NJ?

A. The fee for the installation of foundations varies from cemetery to cemetery; there is no set or customary fee.  The only requirement for cemeteries under the jurisdiction of this Board is that their most current price list of service fees must be filed with this Board office before the fee can be charged to consumers. 

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23. With reference to the "Maintenance and Preservation Trust Fund" required for all cemeteries, does the "trust" need to be in writing?  Are there any regulations regarding the "trust funds? Are the "trust funds" supervised by the State and if so, how are they supervised?

A. A Trust is an agreement between the cemetery and a financial institution and for the most part is in writing.  The Cemetery Board's statute and regulations govern the Trust Funds.  The Board has oversight over these Funds.  Every cemetery under the jurisdiction of this Board must file an Annual Report that shows the condition of the Fund; the Annual Reports are audited by this Board office. 

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24. Is it possible to see the filed cemetery rates for plots and services on your web site?

A. Service fees charged by cemeteries are not posted on our web site.  Each cemetery must file its service fees with the Board office.  If you are interested in a specific cemetery's fees, you can contact the Board office at 973-504-6553 and we will supply you with a copy. 

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25. Does NJ have any statute/regulation/policy regarding nature preserve/green cemeteries?

A. New Jersey does not have any statutes, regulations or policies regarding this type of burial.   

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