(a) Every cemetery authority operating an endowment care cemetery shall establish an endowment care fund which shall be placed with and held by a bank, trust company, savings and loan association, or other financial institution authorized to provide trust services under Title 5, as amended, or under the applicable laws of the United States or any other state, or a board of trustees, consisting of at least three members, who shall reside in the State of Alabama, one of whom is engaged in outside cemetery management, and each of whom shall be bonded to honestly perform the duties of trustee under a formal trust agreement.
(b) Except as specifically provided in this subsection, commencing on July 1, 2014, a person serving on a board of trustees or cemetery authority may not also serve as a trustee of an endowment care fund for the cemetery authority. A board of trustees in existence on July 1, 2014, may continue to serve as the trustee of an endowment care fund if the board of trustees otherwise complies with this subsection. Unless exempted by the commissioner pursuant to this subsection, on or before January 1, 2015, each member of a board of trustees in existence on July 1, 2014, shall furnish the bond required by subsection (a) in the greater of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or the amount in each endowment care fund for which the board acts as trustee as of December 31, 2014. Thereafter, the amount of the bonds shall be increased on January 1 of each succeeding year to equal the amount in each endowment care fund as of the immediately preceding December 31. The commissioner shall exempt a board of trustees from the bond requirement if the board of trustees provides to the commissioner an annual audit report that satisfies all of the following criteria:
(1) The report is prepared by a certified public accountant authorized to practice in Alabama.
(2) The report evidences that the review made the subject of the report by the accountant encompasses each endowment care fund for which the board acts as trustee.
(3) The report notes relating to the endowment care fund or funds are in a form that is reasonably acceptable to the commissioner.
(4) The report does not evidence any material violation of or noncompliance with this chapter relating to an endowment care fund.
(c) The corporate trustee or board of trustees shall be referred to as a qualified trustee. Unless otherwise specified in this article or in the terms of the trust instrument, the trustee of any trust established under or pursuant to this article shall have all powers granted to trustees under Article 14 of Chapter 3 of Title 19. The incorporation herein of such powers shall not be deemed to imply any duties of trustees of trusts established under or pursuant to this article not expressly delineated in this article.
(d) The cemetery authority may employ a person to advise the trustee in the management of the fund.
(e) The cemetery authority may enter into a contract with the qualified trustee for the management and investment of the endowment care fund, which contract may provide for the payment of income from the fund of reasonable fees or commissions to the trustee, and its reasonable expenses for administering the trust.
(f) As often as he or she may deem necessary, the commissioner may examine the records or facilities, or both, of any cemetery authority operating an endowment care cemetery.