Who has Legal Authority to Deal with your Cremated Remains?

pre funeral planner Mississauga Oakville

Many people know that they wish to be cremated, however when I ask them what they would like their family to do with their cremated remains, I am often met with a blank look. People will say “well, I don’t care I will be dead.” While this is true, I don’t think these people realize the potential they are creating for family feuding. Yes families do argue, disagree, fight and litigate over who has the right to and what to do with mom or dad’s cremated remains. So who has the legal authority to deal with your cremated remains?

If there is a valid will, then the Estate Trustee has the legal authority to take possession of and decide what to do with the cremated remains. However if there is not a valid will, then the Table of Sanguinity is followed. This literally means that the blood line is followed. The sequence would be first closest next of kin (for example your spouse) and if there is no spouse, then children etc.

Recently a person died without a valid will and wished to be cremated. Without a spouse, the closest next of kin are her children, and guess what?  They each want mom’s cremated remains! They will not relinquish their position and consent to dividing the cremated remains, so they could each have a portion of their mother’s cremated remains. Really? Do you think this is what their mom wanted? I don’t think so.

In accordance with the Funeral Burial and Cremation Services Act – July 1, 2012; a funeral home is allowed to charge a $350.00 refundable deposit on the cremated remains. If the Estate Trustee takes possession of the cremated remains prior to 1 year from the date of the cremation; then this deposit is refunded to the estate of the deceased. However in this scenario there is not a valid will, so there is not a named Estate Trustee.

Apart from the awkward position this puts the funeral home in; the cremated remains will not be released to either child. The children will have to make an application to the court and receive a Certificate of Appointment of Succeeding Estate Trustee without a Will. This process will take significant time and money.

All of this could be avoided with taking the following steps:

  1. Have a valid will that appoints an Estate Trustee. Include directions as to what is to be done with the cremated remains in the will.
    2. Have a prepaid funeral arrangement at the funeral home that includes directions as to the distribution of their cremated remains.

Many people are comfortable with the notion of being cremated, however they need to take this decision one step further and decide what they would like done with their cremated remains.

What can be done with Cremated Remains? There are 4 choices.

  1. The cremated remains can be returned to the family
    2. Cremated remains can be buried or scattered on your own personal property
    3. Cremated remains can be buried or scattered on Crown Lands
    4. Cremated Remains can be buried, scattered, or entombed in a niche at a cemetery

If any of this resonates with you and you would like to avoid this type of situation, please contact me and let’s chat. It is very easy and cost effective to set up your funeral file ahead of time.
Don’t leave a mess. Instead leave a solution for your loved ones. Now is the time to take care of this, not when things a falling apart quickly.

As always, I welcome your feedback too. You can connect with me by phone or email, leave a comment here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator and licensed funeral director specializing in prepaid funeral planning. To set up an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact her directly.

Living Organ Donation – Let’s Talk

organ and tissue donation OntarioMany people are familiar with deceased organ and tissues donation, however it is possible to also consider healthy living organ donation. Living organ donation could include a kidney, part of the liver, lung, small bowel, or pancreas. The focus of this blog is live kidney donation.

Unfortunately the need for transplanted organs – live or deceased is far greater than the supply. Many people on the kidney wait-list will die before they receive a compatible kidney. Continue reading

Estate Planning – Where Do I Put My Money?

funeral preplanning expert MississaugaBen Franklin said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” This statement was made centuries ago and still rings true today. When you think about your estate, do you struggle with where to put your money? Are you getting a tax refund this year? Have you maxed out your RSP and TFSA? Yes? If this is your fortunate financial situation, well done and good for you! What’s next? Continue reading

Funeral Memorial Service – The Cost of Procrastination

funeral preplanner MississaugaHave you ever wondered how much procrastination could cost you? Eight years ago a gentlemen stopped into the funeral home inquiring about the cost of a Memorial Service. During our conversation I outlined what was included in the service and the cost of this type of funeral.

At the conclusion of our discussions he gathered up the quotation sheet and the pre-need information package and said “This sounds really good, I am going to go home and talk to my wife about this, and we will get back to you in a week or so.” I thanked him for his time and mentioned that I would follow up with him next week. When I followed up they were busy with other things and promised they would get back to me.

They did 8 years later.

Continue reading

Can Prepaid Funeral Payments be Deducted on Tax Returns?

licensed Pre funeral planner MississaugaOne of the questions that I am asked is whether or not prepaid funeral payments can be deducted on Personal Tax Returns. The answer unfortunately is no and here’s why.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has designated that funds held in a prepaid funeral account called an Eligible Funeral Arrangement (EFA) must be guaranteed to $100,000.00 and earns tax exempt interest. The funds held in the EFA continue to earn tax exempt interest throughout the life of the funeral beneficiary.

When the funeral beneficiary dies, the funds are released to the selected funeral home. These funds are used to pay for the desired type of funeral service. If there are residual funds in the EFA, a T5 may be issued to the estate of the deceased. Continue reading

What Happens to Gold in Teeth Upon Cremation?

cremation and gold teethWith the price of gold, the question “what happens to the gold in my teeth when I am cremated?” has been asked of me a few times recently. A friend’s mother for example has always said “don’t cremate me with all this gold in my mouth!” Contrary to popular belief there is actually very little gold in the gold dental crowns, caps or bridges that people have in their mouths.

During the process of cremation, the retort (or chamber where the body is placed), is registered at 1800ºC. During the 3 – 4 hours that the retort is active, the gold in the dental work oxidizes. Many people think that the gold vaporizes and this is not the case. Gold vaporizes above 2000°C. Continue reading

Who Will Preplan & Prepay Your Funeral Arrangements if you Can’t?

Alzheimers and funeral preplanningIt is estimated that by the year 2020 – 1 in 4 people will be diagnosed with cognitive related issues under the Alzheimer’s umbrella. The onset of cognitive decline may be slow and progressive or rapid and unexpected. The Alzheimer’s Society advocates “Speak Up” – get your affairs in order now. I have adapted this information in the context of prepaid funeral pre-planning. The question I pose to you is:  If you are not of mental capacity – then who will make your funeral pre-arrangements for you? Continue reading

3 Reasons this is not your News to Share on Social Media

licensed funeral preplanner MississaugaWith the advent of social media, it is so much easier to get messages out to many people quickly. This can be a good thing, and it can also backfire quickly. When a person dies and this person is not your immediate family member, is it your news to tell first that the person died? I don’t think it is. Here are 3 reasons why.

1. Premature Announcement

The public posting of someone’s death may reach some relatives before the family has had a chance to tell them themselves. Whether the death was sudden and unexpected or the family knew their loved one was dying, I feel it is the responsibility of the immediate family members to let people know in their circles, that their loved one died. Continue reading

Are you Concerned About Protecting your ODSP Payment?

Ontario Disability PaymentIn the Province of Ontario regulations, the Ontario Disability Support Payment (ODSP) is a monthly payment, paid out to people who are found to be a “person with a disability” as defined under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act. A person with a disability is someone who has a substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and is expected to last a year or more. The physical or mental impairment must directly result in a substantial restriction in the person’s ability to work, take care of his or her self, or take part in community life. Additionally, the Province of Ontario regulations state that the impairment(s), its’ duration, and the restriction(s) must also be verified by an approved health care professional. Are you concerned about protecting this payment? Continue reading

Canadian and Allied Veteran Funeral and Burial Program

canadian and allied veteran funeral burial programIn honour of Remembrance Day, I thought I would share this article from The Bugler that was published in 2011. There are still many people who are not aware of this Canadian and Allied Veteran Funeral and Burial Program, which the Last Post Fund delivers on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada. Please click on the images below to enlarge them for easier reading. Continue reading