Orcutt, DeBolt bill protecting burial plots and cemeteries signed into law

A new law will now protect ownership of a previously purchased burial plot in an abandoned cemetery. Sponsored by Reps. Ed Orcutt and Richard DeBolt, House Bill 1907 was signed by the governor on Friday morning after receiving unanimous approval in the House and Senate.

The new law addresses the problems that might arise when a cemetery is effectively abandoned but an individual already owns a burial plot there.

The issue came to the lawmakers’ attention from a constituent, said Orcutt, R-Kalama. A woman with a terminally ill mother feared she would be unable to bury her mother next to her already deceased father, despite having already purchased the plot.

“This has been a terrible obstacle for many families in our area,” said Orcutt. “It’s essentially a property rights issue, and mourning families should not have to worry about keeping mothers and fathers together when it comes to making final arrangements. I’m happy we could resolve this and protect others from similar experiences in the future.”

Additionally, House Bill 1907 expands the definition of a cemetery to include burial parks, mausoleums, and columbariums. It also specifies requirements for the proper transfer of records, including maps and other associated documents, to the Washington state archives when a cemetery no longer has an official owner.

The new law will take effect later this year.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov