Think a “perpetual care” contract on a loved one’s grave means they will be taken care of forever?
My American Heritage Dictionary defines “perpetual” as “lasting for eternity.”
But the U.S. cemetery industry has a different definition: “until the money runs out.”
When I signed an agreement for perpetual care of my father’s grave, I thought it would be maintained — well, forever.
But according to the NY State Cemetery Board, the cemetery may ask you for more money — or refuse to continue upkeep on the grave.
They can do so when the yield on your original fee for the service (the money is deposited in a special fund) does not generate enough income to provide adequate care.
Is this merely a matter of contractual fine print?
Or is the term “perpetual care” false advertising?
P.S. I was once called by a cemetery who wanted me to write an ad for them.
This headline immediately popped into my mind:
Of course it was not the one we used….
Source: NY Daily News, 11/28/06, p. 45.