The Last Will of Napoleon Bonaparte states, “…It is my wish that my ashes may repose on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of the French people, whom I have loved so well”. It is interesting to note that Napoleon wishes, and not instructs, this type of burial. In Ontario, there is no legal requirement for the estate trustee to follow the wishes expressed by the testator. Even if a Will includes burial instructions, these are merely precatory and are not binding on the estate trustee.
As such, the estate trustee has the paramount legal authority to determine the place and manner of burial. Below, I highlight some interesting, and alternative, burial options an estate trustee may want to consider.
Space Burial – For the price of $1,990 Elysium Space will send cremated remains into space. The remains will launch into low orbit, and circle the earth for a few months before re-entering the atmosphere. A mobile app is even included which shows, in real time, the spacecraft location and how the world looks from the deceased’s perspective. This app professes to be the personal gateway to your loved one, resting in peace while the Milky Way is magnificently rising over the celestial horizon.
Natural Earth Burials – A natural earth burial is the burying of a body in a biodegradable coffin or a shroud in a shallow grave without the use of chemicals. This enables a more natural decomposition. The body is marked with a tree, not a tombstone, and the exact location is registered using a global positioning system. Benefits include the fact that the body decomposes faster, there is no pollution of the soil from a coffin, and less land is used.
Personalized Coffins – In order to ensure that funerals are more personal and special, a company based out of Australia offers to make personal, emotional, and environmentally friendly coffins. This includes an option to decorate the coffin yourself. Apparently, this is very popular in Ghana, where customized coffins include a Mercedes Benz, fish, and wrench.