Resale of Interment Rights
As of July 1, 2012, Ontario consumers with unused and unwanted interment and scattering rights will be able to either resell them on the open market or return them to the cemetery where they were purchased.
As a Cemetery Operator, you need to decide if your cemetery will allow or prohibit resale of interment rights on the open market. Then you need to reflect this decision in your by-laws.
This will determine what your role will be when a consumer contacts you wanting to sell their unused interment rights.
You should also note that the rules that apply to the resale of interment rights apply to the resale of scattering rights as well.
By-laws Prohibiting the Resale of Interment Rights on the Open Market
If your by-laws prohibit resale of interment rights on the open market, consumers will have the right to cancel their contract with you. If they do, you are obligated to repurchase interment rights from the rights holder at the price set on your current price list. You can only reduce the repurchase price by the amount of money you deposited in your Care and Maintenance Fund at the time of their original sale.
However, it’s an individual cemetery’s choice whether to do this or not. Some cemetery operators may want to refund the full price because of their customer service policies. Just remember that you cannot withdraw money from your Care and Maintenance Fund to cover this cost.
If you then re-sell those rights to another client, you need to make sure that you deposit the appropriate amount of money into your Care and Maintenance Fund. If you repurchased the rights at the full price set on your current price list, then the amount you deposit should be the current amount required less the amount you deposited when you originally sold the interment rights.
Also, you are not required to repurchase a lot in a plot where one or more of the lots have already been used. However, in these situations, you may choose to make arrangements with your client.
Finally, you’ll need to provide consumers with a copy of your by-laws when they are looking to purchase interment rights.
By-laws Allowing the Resale of Interment Rights on the Open Market
If your by-laws allow the resale of interment rights on the open market, consumers are free to sell unused rights directly to a third party.
Nevertheless, the sale must be done through you. You will need to verify that the seller is, in fact, the interment rights holder, update the Public Register and issue a new interment rights certificate. You may charge an administrative fee for this service and you do not need to make a deposit to your Care and Maintenance Fund afterwards.
Interment rights can only be resold at fair market value, so a seller and buyer will need to refer to your price list when planning a sale. It is also prohibited for anyone other than a cemetery operator or other licensee under the FBCSA to purchase interment or scattering rights for the purpose of reselling them for profit.
Private sellers are not required to make any price reductions or payments to your Care and Maintenance Fund. If, however, you are a non-commercial cemetery operator and the lot in question was originally sold prior to 1955 and no funds were collected to maintain it, you may charge the interment rights holder a deposit for your Care and Maintenance. This deposit should be the amount required under your current price list.
You must give any consumer looking to purchase interment rights a copy of your by-laws before they sign a contract with you.