Two things are certain in life - death and taxes. We know that one day we will die, and with the way government is handing out all this money, every one of us will pay. Whether it’s at the gas station, at the grocery store, thru your local LCBO, the new tax on Medical marijuana or wherever else, in some way or another in the end, we will all pay. Just keep an eye out and see for yourself.
Do you ever wonder how much government collects in taxes? Remember how the GST was supposed to be temporary?
Anyway, death is the sure thing and a recent situation motivated me to write this month’s column.
Being in my 50’s, I still consider myself a spring chicken. Now my mother on the other hand being well over 80 years old and still goes like the energizer bunny, recently travelled to her “old country”. Having to take care of some of her bills while she was gone, we found out that I can’t just walk into the bank and pay bills for her. Because of that, it was off to the lawyer’s office to have Wills and Powers of Attorney done up.
Part of the required information for the Will was “What plans does your mother have when she dies?” That was easy, (or so I thought), as my grandfather had pre-arranged with the cemetery for burial of himself, my grandmother, and my mom. Upon making calls to the cemetery, we were limited to what information we could get because of confidentiality. What we did find out was that the plot was never dedicated to my mother so we would have to pay extra money to the cemetery to go through a huge process even when all my aunts and uncles knew the plot was dedicated to my mother. WHAT!?
I decided to call someone in the community that I respected to look in to this further. I called Katherine Scimmi at McKenzie & Blundy Funeral Home as I knew Katherine would answer my questions and wouldn’t sugar coat anything.
According to Katherine, “For many years funeral homes and cemeteries were governed under different government boards. Funeral homes were under the Funeral Act and cemeteries were under the Cemetery Act. After 12 years of discussions in January of 2015 both were put under the new Bereavement Authority of Ontario. That being said, they still had different rules to live by. Funeral Homes have always had very stringent reporting requirements and inspections requirements yearly. Funeral Homes have always had big brother (Government) watching every move they make, which is a good thing for the public. This was done to protect the consumer, although funeral homes must abide by certain regulations, cemeteries have a little more leniency and every cemetery can make certain rules pertaining to the rules of their own cemetery.”
Which according to Katherine, this is what I had come up against. “The consumer must realize that Funeral Homes and Cemeteries are separate businesses although we work together for the betterment of the consumer. With the change in regulations, Funeral Homes can now own a cemetery and a cemetery could own a funeral home. That has not been done here in Sarnia Lambton community. The Funeral Homes here are still privately owned.” She felt that questions and situations like mine are exactly what the Bereavement Authority are there for, to help the consumer get answers and clarifications.
She touched on CPP’s new estate rules and how the government has gotten smart when it comes to transferring property before a loved one dies. For someone who said, “No funeral, no burial, nothing, just give that money to my kids”, it sure has me thinking. If you would like more information on death or upcoming public sessions, you can call McKenzie and Blundy at 519-344-3131 or check them out on the web at www.mckenzieblundy.com
And on that note, Happy new year all...here’s to another great year and may you all be blessed this year with health, happiness and prosperity.