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Cemetery Oversight Act Frequently Asked Questions

Disclaimer - the information contained in this question/answer format is intended for general reference only. In any instance where there is a discrepancy between the question/answer format and the language in the Act or Rules, the Act or Rules govern. See the complete copy of the Act and Rules.

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General Cemetery Oversight FAQs
 
Q. Has the Cemetery Oversight Act replaced existing laws regulating cemeteries?
A.

No. The Cemetery Oversight Act has been designed to provide complementary powers to the existing laws and to foster information sharing between regulators to improve responsiveness to consumer issues. The Cemetery Care Act, Cemetery Association Act and the Crematory Regulation Act continue intact.

Q. What cemeteries are regulated by the Act?
A.

All cemeteries will interact with the IDFPR. If a cemetery authority is not to be fully licensed under the COA, it must demonstrate, on forms to be provided by the Department that it qualifies for exemption or partial exemption under the law.

 
Consumer FAQs
 
Q. What are my rights as a consumer under the Cemetery Oversight Act?
A.

Consumers have rights spread through many sections of the COA. Sections containing the most important groupings of rights include Section 10-23 Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics, Article 20 Business Practice Provisions, and Article 35 Consumer Bill of Rights. Consumers can click here for an informational brochure on their rights when making cemetery and other final disposition purchases in Illinois.

Q. Which agency is accepting complaints against cemeteries right now?
A.

If you know that your question involves trust funds or pre-need contracts you may call the Comptroller’s Office directly at 1-877-203-3401. In general, any complaint not trust or pre-need related, against a cemetery authority or any question about cemetery practices and consumer rights can be addressed to the Department by calling the consumer hotline, which is

1-888-RLOVED1 (1-888-756-8331).
   
Industry FAQs
 
Q. Which parts of the Cemetery Oversight Act are in effect?
A.

With the publication of the Rules in the June 15, 2012 Illinois Register and their implementation July 1, 2012, all Sections of the Cemetery Oversight Act and Rules are now effective.  July 1, 2012 is the start of the six month time period to make application for cemetery authority license, cemetery partial exemption from license, or cemetery full exemption from licensure.

Q. What types of licenses and exemptions are contained in the COA?
A.

Cemetery Authority License, Cemetery Partial Exemption from License, Cemetery Full Exemption from License, Cemetery General Manager License and Cemetery Customer Service Employee License.

Q. Under what circumstances do I have to apply for a cemetery authority license?
A.

If your cemetery does not qualify to apply for a partial exemption or full exemption to licensure you must file for a cemetery authority license.

Q. Under what circumstances may I apply for partial exemption?
A.

If you are a religious cemetery, a public cemetery, or you have made 25 or fewer burials in each of the last two calendar years, you may apply for partial exemption.

Q. Under what circumstances may I apply for full exemption?
A.

If you are a family cemetery, a religious burial ground, a cemetery less than three acres or you have not made a burial in over 10 years, you may apply for full exemption.

Q. What are the qualifications to obtain a cemetery authority license in Illinois?
A.

Qualifications for licensure are explained in Sec. 10-21 of the Act. In summary an applicant, including any principal, owner, member, officer and shareholder holding 25% or more of corporate stock, must 1) not have committed any act that would have been disciplined under this Act, 2) provide a statement of cemetery assets and liabilities including all trusts, 3) not been convicted of Class X felony or felony involving fraud or dishonesty, 4) authorize criminal background check without fingerprinting, and 5) renewal with compliance of all other requirements of the Act and rules.

Q. When do I need to have my cemetery authority license or exemption application to the Department?
A.

Applications for current cemetery authority's license, or application for partial exemption, or application for exemption must be made between July 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012. Click here to go directly to cemetery oversight licensing page. Renewal applications for a cemetery authority's license are every two years beginning August 31, 2014. Renewal applications for partial exemption and exemption are every four years beginning August, 2016.

Q. What are the requirements for qualification for a cemetery manager and a cemetery customer service employee license in Illinois?
A.

Complete qualifications are listed in Sec. 10-21 (b) of the Act. An applicant for cemetery manager and for cemetery customer service employee license must 1) be 18 years old, 2) have acted in an ethical manner per Sec. 10-23 of this Act, 3) have completed High School or equivalent, 4) authorize criminal background check without fingerprinting, 5) have committed no violations of this Act, 6) provide proof of completion of an approved Certification program within 1 year of application, 7) not have a conviction of Class X felony, and 8) renewal with compliance of all other requirements of this Act.

Q. What circumstances do I have to apply as a cemetery manager?
A.

You must apply as a cemetery manager if you are a paid employee of a licensed cemetery authority responsible or holding himself or herself directly responsible for the operation, maintenance, development, or improvement of a cemetery. This does not include a volunteer who receives no compensation.

Q. When must I apply for my cemetery manager license?
A.

If you are a current cemetery manager you must apply on the same day the cemetery authority applies for license. When you go to work for a cemetery authority already licensed you must submit your application on or before your first day of employment. You must obtain Certification from a Department approved Certifier, listed on the Department website, within one year or your application date. Your license must be renewed during the open renewal period every two years beginning August, 2014. There is a 6 hour per renewal period Continuing Education (CE) requirement.

Q. What circumstances must I apply as a cemetery customer service employee?
A.

You must apply for a cemetery customer service employee license if you are a paid employee of a licensed cemetery authority who explains and executes contracts for cemetery goods or services with consumers, whether at the cemetery or an offsite location, irrespective of whether compensation is paid by the cemetery or a third party, and you are not a licensed cemetery manager. This does not include a volunteer who receives no compensation.

Q. When must I apply for a cemetery customer service employee license?
A.

The application must be submitted to the Department within 10 days after the cemetery authority for which you work becomes licensed under this Act or on or before your first day of work for a cemetery authority that is already licensed. You must obtain Certification from a Department approved certifier within one year of your application date. Your license must be renewed during the open renewal period every two years beginning August, 2014. There is a 3 hour per renewal period Continuing Education (CE) requirement.

Q. Can I apply for a cemetery manager license or cemetery customer service employee license if I am not currently working for a cemetery?
A.

Yes.

Q. If the cemetery is fully exempt is there anything it must do under the COA?
A.

Yes. 1) You must renew your status during the renewal period every four years, 2) monitor conditions that would cause your current status to change, 3) notify the Department of any change of address.

Q. What must a partially exempt cemetery do under the COA?
A.

Partially exempt cemeteries must, among other things: 1) provide reasonable maintenance based on your contracts and capability, 2) have an up to date map certified by the manager of the cemetery available for public use with the ability to show location of a burial index site corresponding to it, 3) maintain a burial index corresponding to manager certified map with recorded information of the deceased person's name, age, date of burial and location, 4) report burials to the Cemetery Oversight Database within ten business days of the burial, 5) not bury more than three spaces deep in the ground nor more than one person in an individual container except by contract, 6) use reasonable best efforts to control traffic at your cemetery so as to not block streets outside the cemetery, 7) have an itemized contract signed by a cemetery representative and the disposition of remains authorized representative with information such as the location of the interment, inurnment, or entombment, 8) not restrict payments to cash only and provide a receipt for full or partial payment, 9) conspicuously post the consumer sign and have available the consumer brochure provided by the Department in all cemetery offices, 10) accept mediation for unresolved consumer disputes, 11) comply with the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics, the Consumer Bill of Rights, which includes a dated price list provided to consumers and allows consumers to purchase merchandise or services, with some exceptions, from a third-party vendor without incurring a penalty or additional charge by the cemetery, 12) have clear and specific Rules and Regulations and apply them equally, 13) not misrepresent legal requirements or requirements under the cemetery Rules and Regulations or disclose confidential information of a deceased person, DORA representative, or family member, 14) renew your status during the renewal period every four years, 15) monitor conditions that would cause your current status to change, 16) notify the Department of any change of address, 17) not retaliate against any whistleblower, 18) not tie in additional merchandise or services to the future use of currently purchased items, with some exceptions.

Q. What are major provisions of the Act licensed cemetery authorities must comply?
A.

Licensed cemetery authorities must, among other things: 1) provide reasonable maintenance based on your contracts and capability, 2) have an up to date map certified by the manager of the cemetery available for public use with the ability to show location of a burial index site corresponding to it, 3) maintain a burial index corresponding to map with recorded information of the deceased person's name, age, date of burial and location, 4) report burials to the cemetery oversight database within ten business days of the burial, 5) not bury more than three spaces deep in the ground nor more than one person in an individual container except by contract, 6) use reasonable best efforts to control traffic at your cemetery so as to not block streets outside the cemetery, 7) have an itemized contract signed by a cemetery representative and the disposition of remains authorized consumer representative with information such as the location of the interment, inurnment, or entombment, 8) not restrict payments to cash only and provide a receipt for full or partial payment, 9) conspicuously post the consumer sign and have available the consumer brochure provided by the Department in all cemetery offices, 10) provide a time for access to the cemetery 11) comply with the Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics and the Consumer Bill of Rights, which includes a dated price list provided to consumers and allows consumers to purchase merchandise or services, with some exceptions, from a third-party vendor without incurring a penalty or additional charge by the cemetery, 12) have clear and specific Rules and Regulations, make them available to the public, and apply them equally in all cases, 13) not misrepresent legal requirements or requirements under the cemetery rules and regulations or disclose confidential information of a deceased person, DORA representative, or family member, 14) renew your status during the renewal period every two years, 15) monitor conditions that would cause your current status to change, 16) notify the Department of any change of address, 16) cooperate with any investigation or hearing 17) determine if you need a licensed manager and/or a cemetery customer employee and make application if necessary, 18) apply for license on forms provided with complete information including authority for background check and questionnaire completion by 25% ownership or more, 19) renew for licensure if any person or entity obtains at least 51% change of ownership, 20) not retaliate against any whistleblower, 21) write the exact location of the burial on the Burial Permit, 22) display your license.

Q. Will my cemetery have to pay any fees under the Cemetery Oversight Act?
A.

There are no ($0) fees for application of exempt cemeteries. Application fees are $150.00 (4 year renewal) for partially exempt cemeteries and $75.00 (2 year renewal) for licensed cemetery authorities. The application fee for licensed cemetery managers and customer service employees is $25.00 (2 year renewal). Other fees for duplicate copies of licenses and other general fees are in Section 1249.20 of the Rules. This Section also gives cemetery authorities and licensed individuals the ability to request a variance or fee reduction from the Department. The Department may grant the variance or hardship waiver of fee, if certain criteria are met, and if in the judgment of the Department, the fee or requirement would be unduly burdensome.

Q. Who is to pay for the Cemetery Oversight Database burial entries?
A.

Each cemetery authority not fully exempt under the Act shall enter all burials, including relocations, into the Illinois Cemetery Oversight Database within 10 business days of the burial effective December 1, 2010 and pay a fee to the database provider as established by the Department and the database provider (see www.ilcod.com or call 855-694-5263). Required entries into the Database for burials on or after July 1, 2012 shall be at no cost to the cemetery and paid for by the Department. The Department will not pay for burial database entries required between December 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012.

Q. Where can I get a copy of the required sign and brochure?
A.

The required sign can be downloaded click here needs to be printed in color) and the brochure can be downloaded click here.

Q. Where can I get a copy of the Cemetery Oversight Act (225 ILCS 411/) and a copy of the Rules (68 Ill. Admin. Code 1249)?
A.

A copy of the Act can be downloaded click here (COA) and a copy of the Rules can be downloaded by click here.