Why pre-planning your funeral is the right choice

October 22, 2014

Pre-planning your funeral may not sound like a fun afternoon activity, but it can ultimately save money and help spare your loved ones from facing important decisions at a difficult time.

Why pre-planning your funeral is the right choice

The benefits of pre-planning

Pre-planning your funeral allows you to control how your remains will be treated, from service details to remains disposal. Different family members may have different ideas about how you wanted your funeral to proceed, but a pre-planned contract makes your true wishes known to all involved.

In pre-planning, you can specify whether you want a service, if you want to be cremated and even specify who you'd like to name as pallbearers. You can convey very specific funeral wishes as well. For example, you might indicate which area you want your ashes to be scattered or if there is a certain person you want to be buried next to. If you want a service, you can go into details about what kind of music you want to play or who you would like to officiate during the ceremony.

How to pre-plan

The best way to pre-plan your funeral is to speak with a local funeral home director. He/she can sit down with you and review all available options, including whether you want a service, burial or cremation.

After you've made some decisions regarding your funeral, you will sign a pre-need contract with your funeral director outlining exactly what your funeral will include. You can also choose to prepay for your funeral, which can help reduce overall costs, but it is not required that you do this. Speak to the funeral director about any discounts he/she can provide.

There are important rules to keep in mind in Canada that are covered by the Funeral Services Act. For example, you should know that you have 30 days to cancel your pre-need contract without sustaining any charges or penalties under Canadian law. That's why speaking to a lawyer can sometimes be helpful to learn what your rights are.

As a further precaution, discuss with the funeral director or a lawyer regarding what happens if the funeral home goes out of business or how you can go about altering your pre-need contract if you change your mind about specific elements of the contract.

After the contract

Once you've signed your pre-need plan, you'll want to store all your paperwork in a safe place. Inform a close friend or family member that you've made pre-arrangements for your funeral and where your paperwork can be found.

Give a copy of your pre-need plan to your lawyer, if you have one. Your funeral home should keep a copy as well, which can be accessed in the event that your own contract is unavailable.

More people are choosing to pre-plan their funeral every year. Pre-planning your funeral is a practical task that will make your own wishes known while saving money and helping your loved ones through a difficult process. With funeral details arranged, your family and friends can dedicate more time to honouring your memory.

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