Cemetery plot: perpetuity is not eternal
Published on January 7, 2014
Here are some brief answers to questions that are regularly asked and that we are convinced will shed light on a number of questions. Our answers have been validated, for the most part, by opinions from Bryan O'Gallagher, legal adviser for the Association des cimetières catholiques romains du Québec.
Here are some points of law concerning the concession contract:
1. A Catholic cemetery is sacred property.
2. Civil and canon law are clear: a cemetery is non-commercial property unless the bishop is asked to desacralize the part of the cemetery that the parish corporation (fabrique) or vestry wishes to sell.
3. Being sacred, a cemetery or plot in a cemetery cannot be sold.
4. The concession is merely the granting of a right of use for a limited period of time.
5. Perpetuity is not "eternal"; it is limited to 100 years by the Civil Code of Québec since 1994.
Concession contract and maintenance contract:
People often confuse these two contracts, yet they are very different. The first grants the concessionaire a right to bury bodies, while the second indicates that the concessionaire has paid, or will annually pay, an amount for the cemetery officials to maintain his plot. It is very clear that the term of the concession contract must not be longer than the maintenance contract.
The funeral monument:
In our regulations, a funeral monument is also referred to as a "grave marker".
The right to place a monument on a granted plot is dealt with in the regulations;
It is the concessionaire who has the responsibility for maintenance of the monument.
The cemetery may impose certain limitations on the characteristics of the monument.
It is important to inform your insurer that you have a monument in the cemetery so that it is protected in case of vandalism.
Raymond Dubé, President
Gino Cloutier, Executive Director