1715.05 Disposition of unused real estate.

When the title to real estate is vested in trustees for the use of churches or congregations of churches, and owing to its peculiar situation or to the nature of the trust or conditions upon which it is held, such real estate for twenty years has not been claimed by or appropriated to the use of churches or congregations as originally contemplated and such trustees are in doubt as to what disposition to make of it, or when any public church site and meetinghouse has been abandoned by the public as a place of worship and the trustees invested with the title to such property have sold it and are in doubt as to what disposition to make of the proceeds, such trustees may file a petition in the court of common pleas of the county where the property is situated, setting forth all the facts in the case and asking such court's direction as to the proper disposition of such property or proceeds.

Notice of the filing of such petition must be given by publication, in some newspaper published in and of general circulation in the county where it is filed, for four consecutive weeks, setting forth the object and prayer of the petition and that a person, church, or congregation claiming an interest in the subject matter thereof may appear and file an answer thereto.

On final hearing of the case the court shall make such order or decree as will best secure the rights of the churches, congregation, or persons having an interest in such property or proceeds and as will best promote the interests of religion, conforming as nearly as possible to the nature and terms of the original trust or purpose with which such property or proceeds were charged, and shall tax the costs of the proceeding as justice requires.

Effective Date: 10-07-1977