Cemetery files for bankruptcy

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

DINWIDDIE, VA (WWBT) - Dinwiddie Memorial Park filed for bankruptcy nearly two weeks ago. It's a move that's left some of its customers with questions.

Lena Simpson was laid to rest here some 30 years ago. Today is her birthday.

"I'll never forget you," said Lena's son Bobby Simpson.

Bobby says he was surprised to hear that Dinwiddie Memorial Park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. His first thought...

"I just want to know who's going to take over. Who's going to help with the upkeep of it?" Bobby said.

Bobby also wonders if the bankruptcy filing will impact visits. We took his concerns to NBC 12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin.

"What people should understand is even when a cemetery goes into bankruptcy - the law in Virginia assures families that the cemetery will continue to operate on a day to day basis. That they'll always be able to visit their loved ones within those grounds," said Benjamin.

Benjamin says while the company is in bankruptcy the owner is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the grounds.

"In a worse case scenario if a cemetery becomes neglected or abandoned the law has a mechanism for a locality to begin condemnation proceedings and take over the plot," Benjamin said.

And if customers have questions about the bankruptcy that are not being answered by the owner...

"Go to the bankruptcy trustee. That's the attorney appointed by bankruptcy court to watch over the ongoing operation of business," Benjamin said.

Information that's sure to give Simpson and others a sense of peace and comfort.

We reached out to the owner of the cemetery but an employee told me he had no comment. Late today the attorney representing the company released this statement: "Dinwiddie memorial park filed for bankruptcy based on a dispute with one of its creditors." He adds, "There should be no impact, short term, on the daily operation of the company."

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