Thanks to our estate litigation colleagues at the Toronto firm of Hull & Hull LLP for bringing to our attention the following interesting opportunity for those wishing to buy a little piece of Vancouver real estate for only $22,500 plus H.S. T. The lot is admittedly on the small size- indeed just large enough to fit a casket because in fact this is the price for which reclaimed plots may become available in Vancouver’s main, if not only City owned cemetary.
A provision in the little known British Columbia Cremation, Internment and Funeral Services Act permits cemeteries to “reclaim” graves and sell them to new purchasers. Apparently Vancouver’s civic cemetary ran out of space in 1986. However, the reclamation provision permits unused plots to be released but on several conditions. Firstly, the plots must have been purchased at least 50 years prior to their reclamation. Additionally, there must be attempts to contact or give notice to the previous owners and if an owner comes forward after the re-selling of the plot, the cemetary must offer a plot of equal or greater value.
The statuory provisions have reportedly permitted the cemetary to re-sell more than 150 unused plots.
This news item in itself is perhaps of only passing interest to most of us. But it does raise the generally important issue of estate and life planning. Typically when we as lawyers refer to estate planning, we encourage our clients to consider various legal structures which may include a will, trust or power of attorney and generally the seeking of professional advice to deal with future legal, financial and health matters.
But how many of us consider the purchase of a burial plot and informal directives as to the type of funeral thereby relieving our friends and families of one futher detail to deal with. Ethical wills are also now becoming increasingly common to consider. In the Middle Ages, ethical wills were not considered unusual- they were used as a form of ethical urging beyond the grave to surviving family member as to how to they should conduct themselves in accordance with religious or other moral values.
There are any number of internet sites and books on ethical wills and generally the kinds of matters to consider when planning for the inevitable.
And returning now to burial plots, in future blogs we will consider various provisions of the Cremation, Internment and Funeral Services Act. But if you cannot wait for any further information, there is always the CityVancouver cemetary to contact for a little piece of Vancouver real estate.
Thanks to the following websites: