Maintenance trust funds for memorial parks:

Why is it important for customers?

Private memorial parks are a blessing compared to the usual public cemeteries, especially when it comes to proper planning, year-round maintenance and security, extra facilities as well as after sales services. While all these perks are great, nothing comes for free. Funding is extremely important for any memorial park in order for it to be continuously managed and maintained for years to come.

One of the main things that bereavement care giant, Nirvana Asia Group often emphasizes on is its maintenance trust fund of up to RM100 million; but what is it really? In effect, the maintenance trust fund established by Nirvana Asia is a perpetual trust fund. Designed to operate indefinitely, an individual or entity places assets or funds in a perpetual trust with certain conditions and restrictions for how the funds are distributed or used.

In the event the individual passes away – or in the case of an entity, closes down – the perpetual trust goes into effect in which the assets or funds are distributed to named beneficiaries based on the rules and conditions which were set earlier. For Nirvana Asia’s maintenance trust fund, it ensures that its memorial parks are continuously maintained and managed regardless of the company’s status in the future. To illustrate the importance of this, let us take a look at an actual event that has just recently occurred in the United States.

The tragic case of the Roger Williams Park Mausoleum

In 1926, a man named Thomas Cullinan completed his new, three-storey, private mausoleum in the American city of Cranston, Rhode Island. The Roger Williams Park Mausoleum was a massive and luxurious stone structure with compartmented walls designed to accept hundreds of interments for many years. Cullinan passed away in 1938, leaving the maintenance and care of the mausoleum to his daughters, Helen and Katherine.

When the last surviving daughter, Helen died in 2002, no provisions were made for the maintenance and care of the mausoleum – placing the building in receivership. Since then, the mausoleum has fallen into a state of disrepair and is literally falling apart. To worsen matters, the city of Cranston declared it as being structurally unsound in January 2005. The structure was fenced off, locked and posted with no-trespassing signs in the same year.

Since then, the 500 or so souls who repose in the mausoleum are left at the mercy of nature, vandals and graverobbers. Despite years of legal hearings, there are still no solutions in sight. There have been plans to relocate the bodies elsewhere. However, due to the hazardous conditions within, the cost of the removing and reinterring each body is estimated to cost $6,000 (RM25,098). Neither the city nor the state is able to provide funding – leaving the fate of those left in the crumbling building in the hands of their families. The effort is further hampered by the fact that the interment records were lost and nobody knows exactly who or how many people were interred in the mausoleum.

Nirvana Asia’s RM100 million maintenance trust fund provides peace of mind

The sad truth is that the tragedy of Roger Williams Park Mausoleum can occur to any privately managed memorial park, even those managed by a large entity such as Nirvana Memorial Park. Nobody can accurately predict what can happen in the future; but just like the concept of pre-planning, we can plan ahead to lessen the impact of any untoward event and minimize the risks as much as possible. Nirvana Asia Group recognizes and acknowledges all these risks. Especially in Asian countries where filial piety forms the backbone of our culture and society, to be able to ensure that our ancestors rest in peace so that present and future generations may continue to honour them is no trivial matter.

That is why Nirvana Asia views the establishment of a maintenance trust fund of over RM100 million as crucial in ensuring sustainability of the memorial parks’ management and maintenance. To further safeguard the interests of and trust given by customers, the maintenance trust fund is managed by an independent trustee run by a reputable financial institution. Best of all, customers will only be required to make a one-time maintenance fee payment during the purchase of burial plots or columbarium niches to contribute to the trust fund. This way, Nirvana Asia’s assurance of peace of mind for its customers will continue to ring true for many generations to come.

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