LANETT, Ala. — Alabama’s Department of Insurance says it all comes down to law—and frankly, the lack of it when it comes to cemetery regulation in Alabama.
Right now, no one in Alabama is legally charged to regulate cemeteries the way funeral homes are strictly regulated. But what the law does require of cemetery owners it to place 15% of sales for cemetery plots—and 5% of sales of mausoleum crypts into an endowment care trust fund. The interest off those funds are to be used for care and maintenance.
However, the trouble comes in with accountability. Because Alabama’s laws are so lax, some owners do not always place these funds in the endowment, as mandated.
The Department of Insurance tells News 3 that is how things started going downhill at Resthaven. When the state found the facility wasn’t placing funds in an endowment account some eight years ago, it told the former owners they had to get in compliance. The state says they did not, even after taking out a loan to do so.
According to the state, when the former owners didn’t repay that loan, the creditor foreclosed and the property went into bankruptcy. According to the Department of Insurance, endowment funds must have, at minimum, a $25,000 balance for maintenance. The department says Resthaven’s last statement on record, from July 2016, shows a mere $325 in the facility’s endowment fund.
The Alabama Department of Insurance wants to hear from you, should you have any concerns about Resthaven or any other cemeteries in the state. You can reach contact the office by calling (334) 240-4420 or reach the department via its website.