If I bounced a cheque to a funeral home....

Okay Im new here, but I really want to know this. My mother in law is divorced from my dying father in law but she’s made this all her business. My hub’s brother is useless at making decisions and is crying poor. (Mom in law doesnt think my brother in law is either "financially or emotionally capable of helping with the funeral expenses! He’s the older brother…but never mind…) Father in law has next to no money either. (Enough to pay for his place in the care facility) So, it may come down to my husband and I paying the memorial society for his dad’s cremation. We are barely getting by, but someone has to do something.

My mother in law’s solution is “don’t pay” or “bounce a cheque”. (I was never quite clear if she meant a cheque drawn on our account, or father in law’s)I am not doing that, but Id love to know what exactly would happen if we did. Personally, I cant imagine anything worse. Im wondering if they would release the “cremains” to us if the cheque bounced. Im guessing not.

Any ideas what would happen? and is the the right forum? It doesnt seeem to fit the tone of “general questions”.

Well, it can stay here, since the answers will be somewhat factual. Yet, there will be opinions as well. We’ll see.

Personally, I think deliberately bouncing a cheque is bad enough, but for a cremation? That’s about as tacky as it gets. And this poor man is alive to witness all this scheming?

No offense to you, I see you mean well. It’s just… wow, I can’t explain, really. Bouncing a cheque for a cremation. Ugh.

The funeral home would be well within its legal rights to pursue the person who wrote the bad check. They would probably perform the services, though.

I have no intention of bouncing a cheque to anyone. Husband (who works for min wage) and I will pay even if we have to cash some RRSPs or something. My mother in law just doesnt think anyone should have to pay for the father in law’s burial… especially when I said if there’s no money left in the account, then the two brothers will have to split the cost. It comes down to protecting number one son, and letting the other one (the one I married) figure it out for himself.

I do not like my mother in law, and its not the usual reasons women dont like their mothers in law. Bounce a cheque to the memorial society! Ugh!

What she is suggesting is illegal as well as immoral.

Doesn’t the state pay for a pauper’s funeral?

My husband works at a funeral home. They don’t cremate people at their funeral home, they send the body out to be cremated but I think it’s a similar enough situation that I can comment.

The check or payment would have to be arranged at the tme of death and a contract would be filled out and signed. Assuming a check bounced after the cremation was completed they would probably hold the cremains until some suitable form of payment could be made. The contract would include some form of interest on the unpaid debt. Interest at my husband’s funeral home is at 18 and a half percent. The debt if not paid would be turned over to collections and would start to affect your credit.

Your best bet if you are planning on making sure it’s paid for is to go to the funeral home and setting up a pre-paid plan. You can arrange to make small payments until he actually passes, and that will help defer some of the cost.

If you make your situation known to the Funeral Director, I’m sure they will try to help you out. Unfortunately, there are far too many cases such as yours where family is unwilling / unable to help.

This is an option, however the body would be buried in an unmarked grave in a city owned and operated cemetary. Probably not what the family would want.

The family doesn’t seem to care much for this man - would they care that he was buried in a pauper’s grave? Why not donate his body to a medical school after his death?


Well here’s one possibility…

Tri-State Crematory

Bodies in pit found in crematory owner’s backyard

Thank you for all your responses. Let me make it clear that I am NOT going to bounce a cheque or renege on payment in any way. This is in Canada if any Canadians have opinions/links. Oh and yes Mom in law and number one son do care what happens to papa-in law. They just dont want to pay for it. (Or rather Mom in law just refuses to even think that number one son might get part of the bill)

Mom in law is already planning the funeral as some kind of social event for herself. Talk about having her cake and eating it too, she wants to be divorced from him, but still get to be “the grieving widow” in the front pew at the church they went to before the divorce and that she still goes to. She even asked me if I want to go shopping for clothes for the funeral with her. She said she’d treat me to lunch after! Gag!

Oh she said she’d pay for the church part… (the part that impacts her social standing) just not the cremation, etc… about 1000 dollars… Ive researched.

Pardon me, Im not usually the wish someone was dead type, but why do I wish it was HER impending funeral not my father in laws. Who by the way is still alive, and alert. Could go any day or could go in six months.

Okay thanks for letting me rant.

I second StGermain, donate his body to a medical school/research facility. That will thwart MIL’s party and no one will have to pay for the funeral, as there won’t be one.

Who says you have to pay for Dad’s passing? If MIL wants a party, your husband shouldn’t have to pay a dime.

My guess, to avoid responsibility of funeral expenses, is that you have to abandon the body. When someone dies in a hospital (or anywhere else, AFAIK) a relative steps forward, claims the remains, and issues instructions for disposal.

I’m not sure that there is any legal obligation make such a claim on the corpse. If there is no such claim made, whatever facility (hospital, county morgue, etc.) has the body is stuck with dealing with disposing of the remains.

When my father was terminally ill, my mother bought an “insurance policy” to cover part of the expenses of his funeral. Like most insurance policies, it’s a gamble - how long do you pay in before it pays out? But it was specifically geared toward funeral expenses and in my father’s case, it was only a matter of a month or two before he died.


Just use a jar of Folger’s crystals.

Check with local authorities about a “pauper’s funeral”. From the look of this piece things are quite civilized in Texas and they concede that circumstances arise where the family cannot afford the cost.

What religion are your in-laws? If they’re mainline Protestant (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Unitarian…), you probably could donate the body to a medical school and still have a nice memorial service. My family is Lutheran (ELCA) and when my grandfather died, when held the memorial service without having his ashes in the church.

Now, if they’re Catholic or Jewish that’s probably not possible, and my fundamentalist cousins would frown on it.

Your father-in-law’s estate may qualify for a Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit if he worked and paid into the Canada Pension Plan for enough years. The average payment is about $1200.00 to the estate. Check the Government of Canada website at www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/isp.

He may have also paid into a group insurance plan with his work that could help pay for funeral expenses. Check that out.

If he was ever in the Canadian Armed Forces then check out Veterans Affairs Canada for benefits that the estate may qualify for.

Please make sure that your father-in-law has a valid will, perhaps naming your husband as executor, before he passes on as this will make finalizing the estate easier.

Hope this helps. This is a difficult time for your husband so be as supportive as you can.

Tahnks for the advice. No one in the @@# family wants to deal with arrangements… wills, etc. Goodness knows, in health care myself, Ive seen it but never lived it and dont know all the ins and outs. My husband isnt handling this well, my father in law is 62, two sons,the good guy I married and the other one… (am I the only one who thinks that the older brother…“junior” actually, should be stepping up more, esp since my husband has a disability?)and F-I-L no other family except my #@%%%# mother in law.

They are of a specific ethnic group, as well as semi strict Lutherans, and want a funeral with cremains in the church. Medical school is a good idea though, I will check on that one. Otherwise, Ive contacted the BC memeorial society and we will get the service done through there. Not free, but reasonable, and I’ve decided we should just suck it up and do the right thing. There will be some money left, especially if we can get a freaking will.

After a lot of thought, Ive decided that doing right by pappy in law and the knowledge we did is worth more than a few hundred bucks, and although I didnt know him as the healthy vibrant man he once was I can’t see the point of chiseling on something like this. Its about respecting my husbands dad, not about saving a few dollars.

Also the smug satisfaction of knowing we arent cheap bastardsand letting junior mojo and momo mojo see us being classy

When my ex died, his then-wife skipped out on all the funeral payments (like we didn’t see THAT coming!). Then, when one of his friends wanted to buy a stone for his gravesite, she had a shit-fit because she thought his children should have purchased it. She skipped town, so I’m sure they never caught up with her. But I can tell you she doesn’t have two cents to rub together.

When my mom died, we donated her body to the anatomical gift society. The plot was already paid for, so we just had minimal expenses, and it still came to over a grand. Dying is very expensive.