Caution to (probably Ontario) Canadians re Cemetery Plots

joyfulguyMay 23, 2009

I heard on the radio the other day that there are some plans under way to change the laws governing the transfer of cemetery plots, to allow those who hold them to sell their interest to whomever they wish, at whatever is the going price.

Up until now, if a person had purchased an interest in a cemetery plot and no longer wished to hold it, s/he could transfer that title to only one entity - it had to be "sold" back to the cemetery.

And it was required that the selling price be exactly the price that had been paid for it, regardless of how many years earlier the plots had been purchased, and of the going rates for plots at the time of resale.

This may be a federal issue, but I think that it affects mainly Ontario residents ... but if you live in other areas, do some checking to see whether it affects you.

I remember my father telling me several years ago that he had an interest in some cemetery plots in this area, where he lived prior to 1946, at which time he sold his farm and moved a couple of thousand miles to Saskatchewan. He was willing to transfer them to me if I were willing to pay a certain amount to the cemetery in order to maintain the rights to them. I did not accept his offer.

When I called the cemetery the other day, they said that my father is the title holder to twenty plots in their cemetery. I think that Dad said that they were in an area of the cemetery somewhat far back from the areas that are currently being used, i.e. won't be current for a number of years.

The address that the cemetery says that they have for him is one that he had not used subsequent to 1963, when brother married and took over the farm, and Dad and Mom moved to the city.

They say that his title to the lots took place in 1959 ... and that it took place at zero cost.

So ... if I may be the beneficiary of them in my father's estate, I would required to transfer title back to the cemetery ... at zero compensation.

I am thinking of asking them if they will "sell" me another 20 plots ...

... at zero payment from me.

I think that father said that the land on which the cemetery operates was owned by his old aunt, who had sold the land to the cemetery many years ago ... with those 20 plots being held by her, in addition to whatever other compensation that she may have received.

I told the cemetery that such was sort of like transferring the title to a car to a different owner ... and being given a tire in return.

One day when I was a child Aunt Pat had been helping in our home (Mom was ill for a number of years, beginning when I, the oldest son, was about 6, and Grandma, her sister, lived with us) and Dad drove her back to her small home in the village at the end of the day.

After she got out of Dad's car, she walked across the street/highway to get her mail, and on her return was hit by a car driven by a drunk and killed. She died about 1940 and I understood that she left her right to the cemetery plots to Dad in her will. But the cemetery states that title was registered to him in 1959.

If they had value at the time that title was registered to my Aunt, then they should have had value on her death. If title was transferred back to the cemetery, then the cemetery would have paid her estate and the title would have reverted to them. But in that case, there would be no title to transfer from Aunt Pat to Dad. When title moved from Aunt Pat to Dad, that residual value should have moved with it. Dad would not have bought plots in this area in 1959, as he had moved away permanently.

Quite an involved issue, it seems!

In any case, if you "own" cemetery plots, I think that it would be a good idea to check out the rules that may apply to transfer, should you decide that you no longer want to hold it. And in case the rules have been as I indicated above, you may want to hang on to them until the rules change. (Who knows how long it may take to government to change the rules ... but ... try not to die in the meantime, O.K.?).

Good wishes for having a spot to place your body on your demise.

Dad, and the ex-, chose cremation ... so they don't need much space. Dad's ashes (1986) were buried above Mom's plot in a different cemetery here in the city.

The ex- suggested to her/our children that they drop her ashes (2004) into the Detroit River, as she used to like a campground beside it in Detroit when she was RVing. So far, that haven't done it. She was interested in miniatures as a hobby after she took early retirement and had bult a house about 3 feet square ... which now resides on a table in my living room ... and her ashes occupy one of the rooms in her miniature house.

ole joyful

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Thanks for the warning.....we do have two plots that we probably won't use.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 11:08AM
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Hi Heather,

You're welcome ...

... and I'm wondering whether you are planning on living forever?

I'd thought that, enjoying good health at 80, I'd like something akin to that ...

... until I got digging established grass with a fork, rising, getting down on knees, crawling along with plants to transplant in a small scoop, digging holes to receive them, carrying large bottles of water etc. while getting the garden going.

I have some volunteer radishes in the area where radishes went to seed the year before last, and some that came up from seeds dropped last year ... plus, as last year, some volunteer squash plants where some deteriorated ones had been thrown back on the garden.

My arthritic index finger on right hand lets me know that it's there, on occasion. Knees like some help from hands when rising from the ground.

I think that, when I finish this journey, I too will be cremated. I think that, though the main plots on our family plot in the cemetery where Dad and Mom are buried are filled, it may be possible for my ashes to be buried just a short way underground on a plot already occupied, as Dad's was.

Good wishes to you and yours for the upcoming season.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 24, 2009 at 2:12AM
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