The owner of any land on which is located a previously unidentified graveyard or an
abandoned family graveyard, and there has been no reservation of rights in such graveyard,
or when the beneficiaries of any reservations of rights desire to waive such rights,
and in which no body has been interred for twenty-five years may file a bill in equity
in the circuit court of the county or in the circuit or corporation court wherein
such land is located for the purpose of having the remains interred in such graveyard
removed to some more suitable repository. To such bill all persons in interest, known or unknown, other than the plaintiffs
shall be duly made defendants. If any of such parties be unknown, the plaintiffs shall undertake active, good faith
efforts to locate interested parties including, at a minimum, publication of at least
one notice in a local newspaper of general circulation, notice posted at the site
of the graveyard, and notice to and consultation with any historic preservation or
other such commission, as well as area historical and genealogical societies. In addition, the plaintiff is encouraged to post such notice on the Internet, including
appropriate websites and through the use of social media, and to consult with the
Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Upon the case being properly matured for hearing, and proof being made of the propriety
of the removal, the court may order the removal made and the remains properly deposited
in another place, at the expense of the petitioner. Such removal and reinterment shall be done with due care and decency.
In determining the question of removal the court shall consider the historical significance
of such graveyard and shall consider as well the wishes of the parties concerned so
far as they are brought to its knowledge, including the desire of any beneficiaries
of any reservation of rights to waive such reservation of rights in favor of removal,
and so considering shall exercise a sound discretion in granting or refusing the relief
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