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Is this standard or bordering on unethical?
Posted by: Gail Trecosta (ID *****2392) Date: November 30, 2006 at 10:47:53
  of 38926


Just wondering what you guys think of this. I just received a response from a very large NYC cemetery for a list of internments in a particular graveholding.

Well, with the list was this....
"Upon examination of our records, we find that there are outstanding annual care charges due on this graveholding in the amount of $1071.00. A remittance in the amount would be appreciated."

"We recommend that all graveholdings be placed under Perpetual Care. The cost for your graveholding is $1550.00, in addition to the annual care charges mentioned above. However, if you provide for Perpetual Care at this time, you may eliminate the 2006 annual care charges ($54.00) making the total amount due $2567.00. This may be paid in a single payment or in installments, at times and in amounts convenient to you, providing that the entire amount is paid within twelve months."

Keep in mind that this graveholding was purchased in 1899, apparently by my great great grandmother. The last burial in the grave was in 1927. I did not previously know of the existance of this graveholding until a previous query indicated there was a graveholding purchased in the name of one of my ancestors. I about had a heart attack when I got the letter--here I am requesting genealogy information and getting a bill for $2500 dollars! My husband said not to do him any favors and order interment lists for his side of the family!!!

I called this cemetery today and they said this was NOT a bill, there was no obligation to pay. It was only a reminder as they figured since I was doing genealogy research, it was likely for my relatives and that I might want to pay. They said they send out letters like that every day. They said the amount actually equals the amount owed if I were to want to bury someone there.

I also asked about my name on the receipt for the payment for the internment list. They handwrote on that form my name in the box for "responsible party". They said that is only for that form.

What do you guys think? I've requested/received internment lists before (from this same cemetery) without getting this letter. I personally am not impressed with the wording of the letter. Why not be clear about what the funds are for and why one might choose to pay or choose to not pay. Why not just say they are short on funds and would appreciate donations that would help care for our ancestors gravesites? What about someone who might get that letter who thinks if they don't pay, poor Aunt Millie's gravesite will not be cared for?


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