Selected Attorney General Opinions
Impacting Cemetery Law in Texas
by Donald Ray Burger
Attorney at Law

To read the specific Attorney General Opinion discussed below, go to the Attorney General website and search by the number of the opinion (the letters and number after the date of the opinion below), by clicking here.

-August 15, 2006 (GA-0448): A typical family cemetery is not a “cemetery organization” subject to section 711.034 survey requirements.

-August 19, 2004 (GA-0235): Defines a section 713.021 “private cemetery” to be one used “only by a family or a small portion of the community.”

-September 26, 2001 (JC-0417): This opinion has an extensive discussion of what the word “association” means under Texas law and whether a church is an association. The opinion does not resolve the issue but decided it on a technicality.

-March 14, 2001 (JC-0355): Holds that, in Chapter 711, some sections apply to all “cemeteries” and some sections apply only to “cemetery organizations.”

-January 12, 2001 (JC-0329): Although a county commissioner may not use county property to open or close graves in a private cemetery for no charge, a county may use county resources to maintain a cemetery that has a grave marker more than fifty years old under 713.028. However, opening & closing new graves does not, by itself, constitute the “maintenance” of a cemetery.

-June 22, 2000 (JC-0235): This opinion discusses the various ways land can be dedicated as a cemetery, and the effect of that dedication on subsequent transfers of the land. The opinion also discusses the definition of an “abandoned cemetery” and notes that “…we do not believe that the mere fact that graves are neglected would justify a finding that a cemetery has been abandoned.”

-February 26, 1993 (93-16): Holds that Chapter 711 does not prohibit the burial of pets in human cemeteries. The opinion notes, however, that the cemetery corporation could have its own rule on this subject.

-February 17, 1958 (WW-373): Holds that the predecessor section to 711.008 establishing locations of cemeteries near city limits cannot be waived by a city or commissioner’s court.

Last updated: August 11, 2008

Written by Donald Ray Burger, Attorney at Law

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