O'Neil Funeral Home (London) Limited
350 William Street
London, ON N6B 3C7
519 - 432 - 7136




The Executor (or Administrator) of the deceased's estate always has priority over everyone else. We must find out, in every case, if there is a Will, who the Executor is, and, if possible, get a copy of the Will or other proof that the person is indeed the Executor. If there is a dispute over who is the Executor, the law demands that we must have written proof of some kind that names exactly who the Executor is before any final funeral arrangements can be made.


When there is no Executor or Administrator, common law (or case law) provides that the next of kin has the right to make the funeral arrangements.


The spouse of the deceased is the husband or wife or the person of the opposite or same sex with whom the deceased was living in a conjugal relationship before their death.


If there is no spouse, the person most likely to be appointed administrator of the estate should make the arrangements. Those people are in the following order of priority:

1. Spouse

2. Children

3. Grandchildren

4. Great-grandchildren

5. Father or Mother

6. Brothers or Sisters

7. Grandparents

8. Uncles, Aunts, Nephews, Nieces

9. Collateral relatives (cousins etc.)

(Note that if the deceased is a minor the parents take priority and the above does not apply.)

IMPORTANT - Please Read
What is "Common-Law"?

 Individual government agencies inside Canada define the term "Common Law Marriage" in different ways.  What might be recognized by the Federal Government is not always recognized by Provincial or Municipal governments.  The same issue applies to banks, insurance companies, and various pension plans.  Some agencies recognize a 6 month time period, some 1 year and some 3 years.  The situation can become even more complicated if you have any estate to settle outside of Canada, because governments in the USA, European Union or Asia do not always recognize Canadian Common law standards. 

We are often asked "How do I prove I was the Common Law Spouse."  There is NO set answer in law to this question, and almost every lawyer we have asked about this topic has a different response. 

Our first and foremost advice is this: If you are in ANY Common Law relationship, consult a lawyer for proper legal advice for your situation and have a will drawn up.  Clearly appoint an EXECUTOR.  If you do this, most of the issues that arise when somebody challenges or questions an common law relationship will be clearly dealt with.

- Minors or persons who are under the age of eighteen years, cannot write legal wills nor appoint an executor. Any will written by a person under the age of 18 years, regardless of their current age, is not recognized by the courts

- If an estate is administered by a government agency such as Discretionary Benefits of the City of London, the Ontario Guardian and Public Trustee, or the Children's Aid Society of Ontario, then the law states that any and all copies of the Funeral Director's Proof of Death Statements shall be given directly to the agency involved and not to any family member.

- Furthermore, these government agencies cannot authorize either embalming or cremation, usually only a family member can do either. A Coroner or Medical Officer of Health in extreme circumstances can authorize either for the sake of public health.

- An Executor has the right to change, amend or cancel any pre-arranged funeral service contract, or any directions as to the final disposition of your body, including cancelling signed organ donor cards. Common Law clearly states that "You Cannot Rule From The Grave." Choose carefully who your executor is. Trust Companies and Law Offices are often closed on holidays and weekends, and if a death occurs on these dates, it might not be possible to make any arrangements for a few days.

O’Neil Funeral Home, 350 William St., London, ON N6B 3C7 519-432-7136

This document copyright © 2014 O’Neil Funeral Home (London) Limited. All rights reserved. No reproduction in whole or part without written consent

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