Tag: burial arrangements
We hear regularly about the high cost of real estate in Toronto. It appears that we will be taking this news to our grave.
The cost of a cemetery plot can be staggering. At Mount Pleasant Cemetery, operated by Mount Pleasant Group, and one of the few cemeteries that posts their prices online, the price of a grave ranges from $24,974 to $48,118, depending on location (location, location), and whether you want to install a flat marker memorial or an upright memorial. The cost of the marker is extra, as is the cost of other services, such an interment ($1,160 to $1,320), use of a tent, mats, late afternoon burials (an extra $165 if between 3:30 pm and 4 pm, or $205 if between 4 pm and 4:30 pm), reopening a grave to bury second remains ($5,080), and other administration fees.
Knob Hill Farms grocery store owner and businessman Steve Stavro is famously buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Stavro, who died in 2006, is rumoured to have a grave marker that cost $800,000.
An indoor mausoleum space ranges from $18,970 to $32,455 at Prospect Cemetery, near St. Clair and Caledonia, which is also run by Mount Pleasant Group.
Like other real estate, the price is often lower outside of Toronto. Prices for a plot in Thornton Cemetery in Oshawa range from $2,389 to $3,540.
Of course, if price is an issue, other options exist. We have posted several blogs on green burials and other alternatives to a traditional burial, and the growing prevalence of cremation.
Here’s a scenario that’s becoming more common. A family member dies. The deceased had expressed a preference for cremation, and you, as the estate trustee, honour those wishes. The funeral home hands you a rather heavy velvet bag full of ashes and then, well, and then what?
Rest assured, you’re not alone. According to the Cremation Association of North America, more than 68% of Canadians are cremated at death, a number that’s expected to rise to nearly 75% by 2020. And if a friend or relative’s ashes are entrusted to you, you must decide the final resting place for the deceased.
You have more options than you might think. For example, you can:
- Bury the ashes in a traditional cemetery plot
- Place them in a structure designed to store ashes (a columbarium)
- Scatter the ashes – over private land, crown land, or even over lakes and oceans
While there are some restrictions on where you can scatter ashes, the laws are far more liberal than you might think. Here’s an overview of what’s permitted in Ontario.
If you are unsure about whether a location allows for the scattering of ashes, check in advance to make sure.
Travelling with ashes
For many people, the preferred location for the burial or scattering of ashes requires plane travel, and that adds an extra layer of complication.
While some airlines allow for cremated remains to be stored in checked luggage, others only allow these remains in your carry-on baggage. So, check with your airline before you fly. Either way, ashes must be in a container that can be viewed by security scanners. Think plastic or cardboard and not metal. You can find more information here.
Do you want to be creative? It’s truly amazing what people will do with the ashes of loved ones, from creating vinyl records, to making pencils, to the claim of Keith Richards that he snorted some of his dad’s ashes up his nose. This article has 27 ideas for those who are a bit more creative minded. It may not ultimately be for you, but it makes for entertaining reading nonetheless.
Thank you for reading,
An estate trustee has the legal authority to arrange the place and manner of the burial or cremation of the deceased. The estate trustee also has a duty to see that the deceased is buried in a suitable manner and that no undue expense is incurred. Where a person dies without a will, and an administrator has not yet been appointed by the court, the deceased’s next of kin may direct the manner of burial or cremation. In some cases, the deceased may have made arrangements for a funeral and pre-paid for their own burial or cremation. There are certain statutory and common law consumer protections in regard to the procurement of funeral services.
Burial and cremation services are governed by the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002. Pursuant to s.42(1), a purchaser of internment rights, defined in s. 1 as “the right to require or direct the interment of human remains in a lot”, may cancel the contract at any time within 30 days after the contract was made. The operator must fully refund all money received upon notice of cancellation. A cemetery operator will be unable to enforce a contract unless it meets the formal requirements set out in the regulations.
Contract law also provides certain protections to those purchasing funeral or burial services. In the recent case of Tsekhman v Spero, the Court held that contracts for funeral and interment services are contracts for “peace of mind”. A breach of contract, therefore, can result in damages for mental suffering. In this case, the Court found that a delay in fulfilling the contract for burial prejudiced the Plaintiffs’ ability to abide by their Jewish laws and customs and to honour their parents’ wishes. The court held damages for loss of peace of mind in a contract case such as this one should be modest.
Thank you for reading … enjoy the rest of your day!