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Some things to consider if you’re thinking of pre-planning your funeral

The Funeral Service Association of Canada estimates that only about one-third of people pre-plan their funeral. If you’re considering funeral pre-planning in Ottawa, you may have a lot of questions. You might even think it’s morbid to think about your own death. Discussing death with your family can be challenging. They may believe you’re dying from an illness and keeping a secret from them, when all you’re doing is just thinking ahead. Don’t let the thought of funeral pre-planning intimidate you. Get the process started now so your loved ones aren’t left wondering what you wanted for your final rites.  

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1. Will my family take it amiss if I pre-plan my own funeral? 

It’s hard to know exactly how your family will react if you plan your funeral. In most cases, when a death occurs, the family is left behind wondering what the deceased would want. Sometimes, families even fight over the details of the funeral service. Think of funeral pre-planning as a gift you give your loved ones. Your death will be stressful, regardless of any pre-planning, but your plan can certainly reduce the burden on your family.  

2. Why are younger people planning their own funerals? 

As older generations pass away, their children and grandchildren are realizing that no one talked about end-of-life options. This can often spur a discussion about funeral planning in Ottawa. Younger people are realizing that they don’t want their loved ones to have to make those difficult choices for them. Pre-planning also tells your loved ones which traditions are important to you.  

3. If I want to pre-pay for my funeral pre-planning, how can I do this? 

There are three common methods to pay for funeral pre-planning:  

  1. In advance – you pay the amount to the provider and the money is set aside in trust until needed.  
  2. Through an insurance policy specifically for the funeral expenses.  
  3. You can make payments to the provider to pay for the contract.   

4. Funeral costs may change and go up or down. How will this affect my pre-paid amount? 

Your costs will be determined at the time of death. Some pre-paid plans for funerals in Ottawa lock in prices on services and supplies. If your service provider holds the money in trust, the money it earns over the years can be used for any additional charges. If there is any money left over after the services and supplies are paid, then it will be distributed according to the terms of your contract.  

5. Do I have to pre-pay to pre-plan a funeral? 

Pre-planning a funeral is different from pre-paying for the funeral, even though the two are often done together. Your plan for your funeral is a document that outlines your end-of-life decisions, such as whether you want to be cremated or buried or what type of service you want. Pre-paying for your funeral involves setting up an arrangement for payment to fulfil your end-of-life decisions. This also takes a big burden off your family when you die.  

Some things to consider if you’re thinking of pre-planning your funeral

6. Are there payment plans to pre-pay for a funeral? 

Many Ottawa funeral homes do offer payment plans for funerals. If there is any balance left on the plan when you die, your legal representative will need to pay the balance. Another option to pay your final expenses is to take out an insurance policy that pays for your funeral. You can discuss these options with a funeral home.  

7. Is funeral pre-planning covered by a legal contract? 

Your funeral plan might be a legal contract, but it can depend on how the plan is outlined. A contract has certain legal implications and must include the terms and conditions of the contract. Pre-paying for a funeral comes with certain rights and restrictions. You should read through any contract before signing to make sure you understand the terms.  

8. What does a legal contract for funeral pre-planning include? 

A legal contract for funeral pre-planning should include:   

  • The name of the person who is paying for services.  
  • The recipient of the services.  
  • The name of the company that is providing the services.  
  • The services or supplies you chose.  
  • The terms of the contract, including a right to cancel.  
  • Any taxes that need to be paid.  
  • If interment or scattering of the ashes is included, the contract should include details about the location.  
  • The payment contract may be separate.  

9. What happens if you want to pre-plan your funeral but are incapacitated? 

If you are incapacitated, any funeral pre-planning should go through your legal guardian or representative. We recommend communicating your wishes to your legal representative. You may want to create a written record of your wishes and give it to the funeral home, or another loved one. We encourage people to pre-plan their funeral before they think they will need it, to avoid this type of situation.  

10. Can your legal representative make changes to your funeral plans after your death? 

Yes, your legal representative can make changes after you die, but most funeral homes in Ottawa encourage legal representatives to follow through with your pre-planning requests. However, if there are issues that need to be worked out, your legal representative does have the authority to do what’s best under the circumstances.  

The funeral directors with First Memorial Funeral Services are here to answer your questions about pre-planning. Our resources can help you open the dialogue with your loved ones to start planning your funeral or theirs. Contact us for more information.

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