Mark Doll, the chairman of the Finance Council for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, has an article in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which gives a complete explanation of the decision in Milwaukee to establish a cemetery trust with the money that had been set aside over the course of many decades for the perpetual care of cemetery plots. The article was also submitted to The New York Times, which declined to publish it.
Here’s an excerpt:
For many decades, the archdiocese told buyers of grave sites that it would put money aside to ensure perpetual care, and buyers of grave sites were assured that funds had been set aside specifically for that purpose. Similar to the process required by Wisconsin law for non-church cemeteries, the archdiocese put a portion of the money from cemetery lots sales into a separate account from the archdiocese’s general funds. There was a regular and separate audit of the trust fund each year by an independent auditor, and the money was invested by a different group of outside investment managers. Because these funds were held in trust, special attention was given to ensuring that they were independent of the general fund and that they would be there for their intended and pledged purpose — to care for the resting places of the departed.
In spring of 2007, the finance council as a group unanimously recommended that the archdiocese formalize the way it fulfills this church responsibility.
You can read the entire article here.