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The Florida Statutes

The 2019 Florida Statutes

Title XXXIII
REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS
Chapter 497
FUNERAL, CEMETERY, AND CONSUMER SERVICES
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F.S. 497.272
497.272 Construction of mausoleums, columbaria, and belowground crypts; preconstruction trust fund; compliance requirement.
(1) A cemetery company shall start construction of that section of a mausoleum, columbarium, or bank of belowground crypts in which sales, contracts for sales, reservations for sales, or agreements for sales are being made within 4 years after the date of the first such sale or 50 percent of the mausoleum, columbarium, or belowground crypts have been sold and the purchase price has been received, whichever occurs first. The construction shall be completed within 5 years after the date of the first sale made. However, extensions for completion, not to exceed 1 year, may be granted by the department for good cause shown. If the units have not been completely constructed at the time of need or the time specified herein, all moneys paid shall be refunded upon request, plus interest earned thereon for that portion of the moneys deposited in the trust fund and an amount equal to the interest that would have been earned on that portion of the moneys that were not in trust.
(2) A cemetery company which plans to offer for sale space in a section of a mausoleum, columbarium, or bank of belowground crypts prior to construction shall establish a preconstruction trust fund by written instrument. The preconstruction trust fund shall be administered by a corporate trustee and operated in conformity with s. 497.458. The preconstruction trust fund shall be separate from any other trust funds that may be required by this chapter. The written instrument by which the trustee of the preconstruction trust fund agrees to act as trustee shall contain a statement that the trust is created pursuant to the requirements of this section. The trust shall be subject to examination by the licensing authority.
(3) Before a sale, contract for sale, reservation for sale, or agreement for sale in a mausoleum section, columbarium, or bank of belowground crypts may be made, the cemetery company shall compute the amount to be deposited to the preconstruction trust fund. The total amount to be deposited in the fund for each unit of the project shall be computed by dividing the cost of the project plus 10 percent of the cost, as computed by a licensed contractor, engineer, or architect, by the number of crypts in the section or bank of belowground crypts or the number of niches in the columbarium. When payments are received in installments, the percentage of the installment payment placed in trust must be identical to the percentage which the payment received bears to the total cost of the contract, including other merchandise and services purchased. Preconstruction trust fund payments shall be made within 30 days after the end of the month in which payment is received.
(4) When the cemetery company delivers a completed crypt or niche acceptable to the purchaser in lieu of the crypt or niche purchased prior to construction, all sums deposited to the preconstruction trust fund for that purchaser shall be paid to the cemetery company.
(5) Each cemetery company may negotiate, at the time of establishment of the preconstruction trust fund, a procedure for withdrawal of the escrowed funds as a part of the construction cost of the mausoleum section, columbarium, or bank of belowground crypts contemplated, subject to the approval of the department. Upon completion of the mausoleum section, columbarium, or bank of belowground crypts, the cemetery company shall certify completion to the trustee and shall be entitled to withdraw all funds deposited to the account thereof.
(6) If the mausoleum section, columbarium, or bank of belowground crypts is not completed within the time limits set out in this section, the trustee shall contract for and cause the project to be completed and pay therefor from the trust funds deposited to the project’s account paying any balance, less cost and expenses, to the cemetery company. The refund provisions of subsection (1) apply only to the extent there are funds remaining in excess of the costs to complete the facilities, prior to any payments to the cemetery company.
(7) On or before April 1 of each year, the trustee shall file with the licensing authority in the form prescribed by rule a full and true statement as to the activities of any trust established pursuant to this chapter for the preceding calendar year.
(8) In lieu of the payments outlined hereunder to the preconstruction trust fund, the cemetery company may deliver to the department a performance bond in an amount and by a surety company acceptable to the department.
History.s. 7, ch. 72-78; s. 3, ch. 76-168; s. 1, ch. 77-457; ss. 27, 39, 40, ch. 80-238; s. 412, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; s. 1, ch. 89-8; ss. 66, 122, ch. 93-399; s. 13, ch. 96-400; s. 7, ch. 98-268; s. 54, ch. 2004-301.
Note.Former s. 559.482; s. 497.029; s. 497.257.