Leaving a Good Voice Mail Message

seniors and voice mailOver the past few weeks, my elderly parents have been moving; discontinuing phone and cable, confirming moving details, etc. This resulted in a number of telephone messages. A couple of things became very apparent to me that I thought I would share with respect to how people can leave a good voice mail message.

Few people actually answer their phone anymore. Yes there is email, however my parents are not used to doing business this way. Their preference is to use the telephone so we need to consider this in our communication.

When people left messages for my parents they spoke too quickly and rattled their number off too fast. My mom found this very frustrating. Complicating matters is that she wears two hearing aids. Very often mom had to listen to messages 4 and even 5 times before she could understand who was calling, the subject of the call and get their return number.

In the end I often had to listen to the messages and write them down for her. For a few of the messages I also had to listen a few times to get the name, number written down correctly and what the message was.

I have a couple of suggestions. They may seem totally obvious yet many people do not leave a good voice mail message.

1. Say your name slowly and where you are calling from
2. State the reason for your call
3. Say your call back number extremely slowly. For example state the area code and then silently count to 5. Then leave the first three digits of your number and again silently count to five. For the remaining 4 digits say the first two and silently count to 5 and then state the final two. The length of the pause should be long enough that you feel uncomfortable about the length of the pause.

Finish your message and state your name, the nature of your business and your call back number, again extremely slowly.

Regardless of our age and preferred mode of communication, it is still imperative and professional courtesy to leave a good voice mail message.

I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me via phone or email, leave a comment here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,


The Importance of Naming a Beneficiary

Benefits of a beneficiaryWhy is it important to name a beneficiary on our life insurance policy?

A beneficiary is the person, charity or other organization that you name to receive your money or property from your life insurance policy, investment accounts or trust funds. For example: Mr. Anderson has a $30,000 life insurance policy and named his wife as the first beneficiary and his two children as the second beneficiaries. If Mr. Anderson dies before his wife does, then she will receive tax free, the $30,000 death benefit of his policy.

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Do you Have Your Advance Care Plan in Place?

Advanced Care PlanDo you Have Your Advance Care Plan in Place? An Advance Care Plan is a process of conversations and decisions while you are of capacity. Reflecting your values, beliefs, goals, wishes, resources and faith, an Advance Care Plan outlines your wishes concerning future care.

Future Care takes into consideration your wishes concerning personal hygiene, nutrition, shelter clothing, safety, as well as health care, medical treatments, services or interventions. In the event of a sudden and unexpected incapacity such as car accident; or a longer progressive incapacity such as Alzheimer’s disease, your Advance Care Plan outlines your wishes for future health and personal care preferences in the event you are incapable of consenting to or refusing medical treatment or other care. Continue reading

Why and How People Become Funeral Directors in Ontario

License Funeral Director OntarioThis month is the celebration of 100 years of Funeral Professionals. To the dedicated men and women who feel a sense of calling to become a funeral director, we salute you.  Have you ever wondered why and how people become Funeral Directors here in Ontario?

Often the students in the Funeral Services Program at Humber College or College Boreal express a sense of duty to learn how to assist families through the funeral process at one of the most painful and emotional times of their lives.

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What is a State Funeral & How is it Organized?

state funeralThe recent state funeral to honour the former Federal Finance Minister Mr. Jim Flaherty, peaked my interest as to how a State Funeral is organized in Canada.

Under the asepsis of the Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH), a state funeral is a public event, held to honour and commemorate present and former Governors Generals, Prime Ministers and sitting members of the Ministry. Also a state funeral may be offered to an eminent Canadian at the discretion of the Prime Minister.  A State funeral offered, organized and executed by the Government of Canada – Governor General-in-Council, with the DCH as the lead agency, offers the public an opportunity to pay their respects to the deceased.

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9 Ways to Get Full Value from Your Funeral Plan

pre-paid funerals OntarioDid you know Funeral Homes must provide you with a current price list that describes all the goods and service they offer and that this price list must be provided without cost or obligation? And, by law, all funeral homes must follow the same format in their price list. This assists the consumer to be able to compare and contrast the prices and selections fairly. However for many people the price list can still be confusing.  The best way to directly compare cost, is to shop around ahead of time and work with the funeral home and licensed funeral director you are most comfortable with. Here are 9 ways to ensure you get the full value from your funeral plan. Continue reading

Locating Missing Life Insurance Policies

funeral preplanning OntarioMy Father always said not to worry there is lots of life insurance.  However when he died and I was helping my mom to close the estate, we could not find any life insurance policy.  We looked in all the obvious places; safety deposit box, and important files at home, finding nothing.  For all these years Dad had indicated that there was a fair amount of life insurance implying around $300,000.00.  This is a lot of money and would make a tremendous difference for my mom. What can we do about locating missing life insurance policies?

Most people who have life insurance treat their policies as valuable documents. Accordingly people may store them so safely, that they forget where they are or they have not told their Estate Trustee where the policies are.  There are also circumstances when policies can be destroyed, lost or stolen.

Under certain circumstances the OmbudService for Life and Health Insurance (OLHI) will conduct a search of the member life insurance companies to potentially locate unclaimed life insurance policies.  As this search is extensive, there must be a premise that an un-located policy does exist and details of the deceased must be available.  Additionally OLHI will not conduct a search within 3 months of the date of death or beyond 3 years from the date of death.

Moreover, the applicant must have a capacity relationship to the decedent, such as the Estate Trustee, Liquidator, Administrator, Beneficiary, Heir or other specified relationship.

Also a portion of the request for a policy search must convenience OLHI that there is a reasonable basis to assume the decedent had life insurance, and that exhaustive efforts have been made to locate the policy.

The scope of the OLHI search is limited to member companies.  Although most insurance companies in Canada belong to OLHI, there may be a policy with a non-member company that this search would not locate.  The life insurance policy search also excludes group life insurance policies and policies held outside of Canada.

Finally the OLHI will only contact the: Estate Trustee, Lawyer, Beneficiary, or direct heir of the deceased if a policy is located.

If you would like more information, please click here to connect to the OLHI website. Their other contact information is:

Information Services
OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance
401 Bay Street, Suite 1507, Box 7
Toronto, Ontario
M5H 2Y4

Tel: 416-777-2043    Fax: 416-777-9750

I welcome your feedback. Please leave a link back to your own blog as well if you have one. You can connect with me via email or phone, leave a comment right here on the site, or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website.

Until next time,


Is a Funeral Home Needed When you Opt for Cremation?

Cremation and funeral homeI only want cremation so I don’t need a funeral home, right?

No, actually that is incorrect.  Many people think that if they simply want their body to be cremated when they die, there is no need to involve a funeral home.  This is not correct.  The closest next of kin, legal representative or Estate Trustee needs to call a Funeral Home.

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Prepaid Funeral Plan for Loved Ones this Valentine’s Day

funeral planning expert MississaugaIn the Toronto Star February 8, 2014 article by Bob Aaron, he suggests an “offbeat gift suggestion for Valentine’s Day this week.  This year, he suggests preparing a Will and POA for Property and Personal care as an “expression of love, caring and compassion.” I would add one more item to this list – prepare a prepaid funeral plan. Continue reading