The son of a Victoria senior who died more than a year ago is pleading for his mom’s ashes to be returned so she can be buried with her late husband on Salt Spring Island.
Both Phyllis Malcolm’s son and daughter say their mother’s lawyer has held on to her cremated remains but they have no idea why because he has quit returning their calls and emails.
Malcolm died on January 31, 2020, at nearly 100-years-old. Her son, John Malcolm, says he’s desperate to bring his mom’s ashes back to Salt Spring Island so she can be properly buried.
“She doesn’t really deserve this, you know?” he said.
Malcolm says as far as he’s been told, his mother’s Victoria lawyer, Tino Di Bella, has held onto her ashes in his vault at his Fort Street law office. But Malcolm says in the copy of her will he has, it states she wants to be buried with her late spouse, John Sr., on Salt Spring Island.
“It’s something she said to me every time I visited her, that she wanted to be buried with my dad, so it hurts,” Malcolm said.
While Di Bella was named executor of Phyllis Malcolm’s estate, John Malcolm says his repeated requests for answers about his mother’s remains have gone unanswered over the past year.
“Legally he has a right as executor to hold onto the remains, so he has a legal right to do this, does he have a moral and ethical right to do this? I think not,” said the concerned son.
Malcolm lodged a complaint with the Law Society of B.C. who has issued a citation against Di Bella alleging that he failed to cooperate with their investigation and failed to respond to their requests.
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Di Bella sent a statement to CHEK News Thursday afternoon saying that he can’t say much because of client confidentiality, but that “any person who is an executor is tasked with carrying out the final wishes of the deceased.”
He added that he wishes COVID-19 restrictions would end to “allow families like Mrs. Malcolm’s to gather from near and afar to celebrate her life and honour her final wishes.”
John Malcolm says he is determined to keep fighting to see his mother buried next to his father and for his family’s broken hearts to finally get the chance to mend.