Interment Rights

What are interment rights?

Interment Rights include the right to inter human remains within a specifically assigned space at a cemetery, and as well as the right to authorize memorialization within that space; subject to the bylaws of the cemetery. 

Is it important to be the Interment Rights holder? 

As per Ontario Regulation 31/11,  Item 161. (1) No cemetery operator shall inter human remains in a lot, other than the remains of the interment rights holder, without the written consent of the interment rights holder.  Furthermore, as per the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, (2002), the interment rights holder also has the right to erect a monument and have reasonable access to the lot.

How do I know who the interment rights holder might be for the family plot?

The interment rights holder is named specifically on the Cemetery issued Certificate of Interment Rights and the Cemetery’s official Registry of Interment Rights Holders.   Please note that if the interment rights holder gave you the certificate, the interment rights are not yours until such time as you present the certificate to the cemetery to transfer the interment rights and a new certificate is issued.  Only the cemetery can confirm interment rights.  Contact us if you are unsure or would like to know more.

Does the Interment Rights Holder own the land?

The land or lots remains titled to the Cemetery.  The Cemetery only offers the  right to direct interments and memorialization with an assigned space (lot) within the cemetery.  This right is call 'interment rights' and may only be assigned by cemetery  or reassigned by a transfer with the approval of the cemetery.  All activity within that space is subject to the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, (2002), its regulations and the Cemetery's by-laws.

The Interment Rights Holder of record is no longer alive. Can I/we still exercise the interment rights?

Cemeteries do not decide who can and cannot use the plot.  That decision as well as the authorization for that decision must come from the Interment Rights Holder of record.  If the Interment Rights Holder has passed and did not leave written instruction or authorization, then the remaining family is left with the choice to either apply to the Cemetery for a transfer of the interment rights or  purchase their own interment rights.  The Cemetery may grant a transfer of the interment rights if the applicant(s) present documentation that clearly supports that the Interment Rights Holder of record has endorsed such a transfer.  The three most common types of written endorsements are;  

  • A copy of the original Certificate of Interment Rights that is clearly signed and dated by the Interment Rights Holder with a clear statement naming a beneficiary as a successor to the interment rights;
  • a letter signed and dated by the Interment Rights Holder of record clearly naming a beneficiary as a successor to the interment rights; or
  • The Interment Rights Holder's Last Will that identifies the beneficiaries as successors for the interment rights or the beneficiaries for the estate's residual assets. 

Claimant's are welcome to contact the cemetery to discuss further options that might be available if they are unable to present any one of these three documents. 

Do Interment Rights automatically transfer or pass to a spouse or children or grand children?

Interment rights remain in the name of the Interment Rights Holder of record until such time as sufficient documentation is provided to the cemetery that demonstrates otherwise.  The provincial regulations and the cemetery's by-laws clearly outline what is required of the Interment Rights Holder to see that the remaining interment rights are transferred.

What if I/we cannot find the Interment Rights Holder's Last Will or if the Interment Rights Holder died intestate (without a Last Will)?

If a diligent search does not produce a copy of a Last Will or the Interment Rights Holder died without a Last Will - then there is still an option for a transfer of interment rights.  In consultation with the Cemetery, our staff will help determine, as per Ontario's intestacy laws, who might be the legal heir(s) or successor(s) to the Interment Rights Holder of record. This, of course, will require a family tree on your part.  We will start with a review of the family tree, as each and every blood (or adopted) descendant of the Interment Rights Holder of record, would have equal claim.  If there are missing or incomplete "branches" in the family tree, then the transfer could only proceed once the family tree is completed.  Unfortunately the Cemetery cannot help with that.  If contact with extended family members has been lost or severed, then the transfer could only proceed once a reconnection is made.  The next step, after all the possible beneficiaries are identified and can be reached, each of them will be required to complete the Cemetery's Claim/Release Letter. The letter allows each beneficiary the option to either release themselves from any claim or allow them to be included as an applicant for the interment rights.  Once these letters are completed and compiled, the claimant will consult with the Cemetery to prepare a Statement Under Oath that will include a copy of the family tree and all of the Claim/Release Letters.   The burden and any costs associated with searching for the Last Will and completing the necessary forms shall remain the sole responsibility of the claimant(s).

Why is a transfer of interment rights important?

A transfer of interment rights ensures the surviving family that there is a continuous living ownership of the interment rights and someone who can attend to the affairs of the plot on behalf of the family; especially to authorize future interments and memorialization.  A transfer of interment rights provides peace of mind that the "family plot" can continue to be used (space permitting) by future generations. Furthermore interment rights holders are member  of the Cataraqui Cemetery Company - a not for profit organization.  As such, it is important to the operation of the cemetery that members are actively involved in the governance of the Cemetery.

As the interment rights holder, what can I do to avoid my family from having to go through the legal process of  presenting my  Last Will  and transferring the interment rights after I die?

Our first suggestion for you, the interment rights holder,  is to meet with one of our helpful staff here at the Cemetery, to complete an Interment Pre-Authorization Form. This form remains on file with the Cemetery as it  pre-authorizes the interment of the individuals that  you have specifically named.  Second, we recommend adding a joint or co-interment rights holder so that there are at least two individuals that can authorize plot activity.  It is a good idea to have individual(s) from different generations as co-interment rights holders.   The last suggestion is to leave the cemetery with a letter that endorses your transfer of the interment rights to a pre-selected next of kin.   Note:  Having too many co-interment rights holders can be as problematic as not having a living interment rights holder.