Are you Concerned About Protecting your ODSP Payment?

Ontario Disability PaymentIn the Province of Ontario regulations, the Ontario Disability Support Payment (ODSP) is a monthly payment, paid out to people who are found to be a “person with a disability” as defined under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act. A person with a disability is someone who has a substantial physical or mental impairment that is continuous or recurrent and is expected to last a year or more. The physical or mental impairment must directly result in a substantial restriction in the person’s ability to work, take care of his or her self, or take part in community life. Additionally, the Province of Ontario regulations state that the impairment(s), its’ duration, and the restriction(s) must also be verified by an approved health care professional. Are you concerned about protecting this payment?

To qualify for Income support, the individual must be 18 years or older, live in Ontario and be in financial need. The province will review the family’s income; assets, housing costs and the size of the family unit to determine financial eligibility.

Families in this situation are often also concerned about the final expenses for an individual receiving the ODSP. Fortunately in Ontario, setting up a prepaid funeral for a person receiving the ODSP, does not challenge their assets or reduce the amount of their monthly ODSP payment.

How does this work?

When a prepaid funeral plan is set up by an authorized person for an individual receiving the ODSP, these funds are place into an Eligible Funeral Arrangement or EFA. Additionally, an EFA can only be set up by a licensed Funeral Home with a licensed Funeral Director.
Since May 1993, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) permits up to $15,000 to be set into an EFA for the sole purpose of pre-funding eventual funeral arrangements. Contributions in the EFA earn interest. The interest earned is income tax deferred and is most likely tax exempt. Additionally, this accumulated income is not counted as a relevant contribution in the EFA. However, if the pre-funded funeral plan is greater than $15,000.00, then the interest earned on the amount over $15,000.00 is taxable as income.

If you would like to learn more about how to set up your EFA and protect the ODSP payment, I welcome you to contact me. You can reach me by phone or email, leave a comment or question 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,

Kat

Canadian and Allied Veteran Funeral and Burial Program

canadian and allied veteran funeral burial programIn honour of Remembrance Day, I thought I would share this article from The Bugler that was published in 2011. There are still many people who are not aware of this Canadian and Allied Veteran Funeral and Burial Program, which the Last Post Fund delivers on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada. Please click on the images below to enlarge them for easier reading. Continue reading

When is the “Right” Time to Consider Prepaid Funeral Planning?

funeral preplanner MississaugaThis weekend I was at the Toronto Zoomer Show helping out in our ‘Funeral Planning Made Simple’ booth. It was enormously interesting to watch people look at the banner – Funeral Planning … and then look away quickly; not making any eye contact with me. They would scowl, mutter, swear, sigh, shake their head and keep on walking. The people who read the banner and commented said things like: “I’m not ready yet”, “It’s too soon”, “That’s not something I want to talk about”, “I don’t care what my family does, I’ll be dead.” So my question to you is, when is the “right” time to talk about and make prepaid funeral arrangements? Why is it that the general public does not want to talk about their eventual mortality?

I think on a conscious level we do know that there is an entry date and expiry date for all of us. Yet most people seem resistant to look into the range of funeral options and make plans that fit their values and budget.

Ironically the people who had made their funeral plans were quite proud of this and shared their experiences with me. One lady said: “I thought it would be very depressing to talk about my eventual funeral plans. My experience was the exact opposite. We were actually laughing and had a good time overall. I am very glad that I have things in place and now my kids don’t have to wonder about what I want or how to pay for it.”

I know when the worst time is to look at funeral pre-planning. This is when your family has to do this for you. Last week I met with a lady and her two daughters at the funeral home because her husband is in palliative care. Imagine the stress and strain on her, trying to figure out how to celebrate her husband’s life. He would never talk about this and had never told her if he wanted to be buried or cremated. Now he can’t and she will have to work out the best plan she can, with the input from her daughters, and our assistance at the funeral home.

So how can we begin this necessary dialogue? What is it that you would need you hear, see, feel, know about, that would motivate you to talk about your prepaid funeral plans? I welcome your feedback! Share your thoughts on this with me. And when you are ready, I am here to help. You can connect with me via email or telephone, 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,

Kat

Is Cremation Right for You? – 12 Questions to Consider

cremation2Increasingly more people are preplanning and selecting cremation as their preferred eventual form of disposition. The rationale that people share with me is that they feel it is easier for the family and that it will be less expensive. Very likely this is the case, yet I would ask you to consider the following 12 questions to be sure this is right for you and that it is the most suitable option that reflects your values, wishes, and the needs of your family.

1. Do you want your family and friends to see you one last time before cremation?
2. Would you want visiting before cremation?
3. Would you want a service before cremation?
4. Would this service be secular or non-secular?
5. Where would the service be held?
6. Do you want visiting after cremation?
7. Do you want a service after cremation?
8. Do you want a celebration or memorial service to honour your life?
9. Who are we to take direction from regarding your wishes?
10.What would you like to be done with your cremated remains?
11.Would you want a newspaper notice?
12.Would you want a reception, and if so, what does that look like?

Very often people decide that cremation is what they want, however, there are many other decisions to make along with this to be sure that your family has this one-time-only opportunity to celebrate and honour your life.

Need more information?  I would love the opportunity to chat with you. You can reach me by phone or email, submit 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,

Kat

Death Away from Home – Secure Return Travel Assurance Plan (SRAP)

cheap travel insuranceA while back a gentleman called me and said: “I want that travel thing you have.” I thanked him for calling, and I was thrilled that he knew about “that travel thing.” I suggested that I meet with him to explain the benefits of the Secure Return Travel Assurance Plan (SRAP). He said: “No I live in Toronto and gas is too expensive to have you drive here and explain it to me, can we do this over the phone?” I said: “Absolutely!” Little did he know how important that phone call would be.

We proceeded to cover the features of this very affordable lifetime plan: Continue reading

Act Now – 10 Things to Save your Estate $1000s of Dollars!

licensed pre funeral planner MississaugaAn adult son called me today asking about what he could do and how to start organizing his mother’s affairs. His mom now has advanced Alzheimer’s and before her cognitive decline she drafted a valid Power of Attorney for Property and Personal Care and a valid Will. Here are my suggestions for 10 ways to save your estate $1000s of dollars if you act now. Continue reading

Dying Away From Home

dying away from homeOver the weekend a friend contacted me to let me know that his wife’s memorial visiting and service was this week. I was in shock. I hadn’t seen them in a year or so and I couldn’t believe it when he told me she died while on holiday in Italy. On top of the shock, he relayed part of the logistical, financial and nightmare dealing with the authorities in Italy.  Here is his story.  How would you deal with your loved one dying away from home? Continue reading

2 Ways to Reduce Costs of Paying for a Funeral

funeral costs copyHave you ever wondered how you would pay for a funeral? I am sure you have heard that funerals are expensive – right?  Not necessarily! People are conscious of not spending a lot on a funeral and getting excellent value for what they do select. Here are 2 ways to help reduce the cost. Continue reading

Going Down Green – 5 Criteria for an Eco-Friendly Burial

eco friendly burialEco-friendly, natural or Green earth burial is gaining momentum. According to a 2013 study done by the Natural Burial Association of Canada, 50% of respondents viewed natural burial favorably, after they were aware of this option. On March 7, 2013 the Green Burial Society of Canada (GBSC) was incorporated as a society. At the AGM, this not-for-profit organization developed 5 criteria for green or natural burial designation:

1. No embalming
2. Simple covering of the deceased such as a shroud or simple box
3. No concrete liner or vault
4. Simple memorialization
5. Some aspect of habitat enhancement Continue reading

Kat Downey, Canadian Certified Executor Advisor (CEA)

CEA OntarioI am thrilled to introduce you to the CICEA and let you know that I successfully completed the 30 hour on-line course offered by the Canadian Institute of Certified Estate Advisors and successfully completed the Certified Executor Advisor Examination.

As the first licensed Funeral Director in Ontario with the CEA designation, I can be a great resource to my clients and community.

Continue reading