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Reinvest Your Tax Return in an Eligible Funeral Arrangement

Did you receive a tax return after filing your income taxes? Wondering what to do with your tax refund to get the best bang for your buck?  You work hard for your money, so why not have your money work hard for you a second time?

Investing in an Eligible Funeral Arrangement

You can use all or part of your tax refund to set up an Eligible Funeral Arrangement.

An Eligible Funeral Arrangement (EFA) is a fully prepaid or partially prepaid eventual funeral arrangement that you set up with a licensed Funeral Home and a licensed Funeral Director.

What Are the Advantages to an Eligible Funeral Arrangement?

  • The money in the EFA is always the purchaser’s money
  • Your funds are insured to $100,000.00
  • Your funds earn tax exempt 1.75% interest
  • There are no medical questions asked, everyone is accepted
  • Easy to enroll
  • It is a simple process
  • It is a loving gift to your family
  • You are in control of your money and your wishes
  • You lock in the future price of the funeral and the inflationary risk rests with the funeral home, not the purchaser

Why Is This a Good Investment?

Eventually we all will need to have some type of funeral to celebrate our life.  In addition to arranging your celebration, you have left your family with a funded funeral plan.

Don’t leave your family a funeral tab. Rather, leave them a solid plan now.  Instead, let your family know how you want your life to be celebrated.  Your loved ones will be relieved and grateful that you have let them know what you want done in the end and that there is money set aside to fund your plan.

I would love to hear from you and help get the conversation started.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, 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. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too.

Until next time,

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. Not only is she a Certified Professional Consultant on Ageing and an Executive Advisor, but she is compassionately understanding.  To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly

why you need a legal will
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8 Reasons Why You Need a Legal Will

Who needs a legal Will? Every adult of mental capacity over the age of 18 years!

But, I Don’t Have Any Assets

Many people say that they do not have any assets therefore they do not need a legal will.  This is not true.  You may have few assets, yet you still need someone to be your legal voice for you when you die.

The main objective of a will is to name a person to be your Estate Trustee, to act on your behalf and to close off your estate when you die.

If you were to witness the family dysfunction, additional costs and emotional and physical turmoil that people go through when there is not a Will in place, I think you would seriously reconsider your rational to not have a valid Will.

Is Drafting a Legal Will Expensive?

Drafting a will does not have to be expensive.  There are no–cost and low-cost ways to draft a valid will.

Having a valid will in place shows that you care for your family, friends, pets and favorite charities.

Having a Valid Will Allows For:

  1. You to decide who will look after your minor children
  2. You to decide who will look after your pets
  3. Deciding who gets your assets
  4. Faster and easier settlement of your Estate
  5. Transfer of your estate in a tax effective manner
  6. Lower administration cost of your Estate
  7. Less taxes paid to the Provincial and Federal Government
  8. You to leave a bequest to your favorite charity

In short, having a valid Will in place protects the people you care about.

If you are not sure how to start or what makes a Will valid, all you have to do is connect with me and let’s chat.

It truly is that easy.

Remember where there is a Will there is a way to leave a loving legacy – because Your Legacy Matters.

I would love to hear from you and help get the conversation started.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, 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. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too.

Until next time,

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. Not only is she a Certified Professional Consultant on Ageing and an Executive Advisor, but she is compassionately understanding.  To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly

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Tombstone to Monument: Part 3, Pillow Marker

According to Random House College Dictionary, the term tombstone originally referred to a stone marker that was usually inscribed on a tomb or grave

In this 4 part blog series I will talk about upright, flat, pillow and digital markers.

There are many things to consider when arranging for a pillow marker.

If it is a pillow marker the first consideration is the cemetery regulations.  Cemetery by-laws regulate the placement of pillow markers on graves within their grounds.  The rules and regulations will also stipulate the size, materials and type of pillow marker allowed.  Before your finalize your order be sure you are in compliance with the Cemetery regulations, as they can and are known to refuse the placement of a  pillow  marker that does not comply with the by-laws.

A pillow marker is similar to a flat marker.  The difference is that they have a slanted face, created by having a higher back edge.  Pillow markers can be sited flat on a concrete base on the ground or they can be sited upright with the slant side facing forward.  Again there is a concrete base on the ground first.

Image courtesy of Headstones and Memorials.com

Can you personalize a pillow marker?

There is a wide range of stone colours to select from as shown in the chart below.

Pillowed markers may be personalized with custom shapes, sizes, or designs

A pillow marker can also be personalized with emblems or symbols that are carved into the granite.  Below is a very small sample of the personalization options available.

How much does a Pillow Marker cost?

Several factors are involved in the price of pillow marker. Factors that will influence the cost include: the size, type of material, personalization details, number of letters, the type of engraving or etching on the stone.  Included in the pricing of a pillow marker will be the foundation that the marker is placed on, as well as the installation cost of siting the pillow marker.

If you would like to know more about the process please connect with me

I would love to hear from you and help get the conversation started.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, 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. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly

P.S. Tombstone is also the name of a city south east of Tucson, Arizona scene of the gunfight at the OK corral in 1881

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Celebration of Life: Committal Service – Part 3

There are several ways to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one.

In part 1 of this blog I mentioned that a funeral service means that the body of the deceased is present at the service. In part 2 I mentioned that at a memorial service the body is not present.  Now, I will explain what a Committal Service is and how it is different from the other two services.

A committal service may be the last step in a funeral or memorial service.  Alternatively a committal service could be a standalone celebration of life.

A committal service can be associated with cremation, burial or entombment.

With cremation the committal service could be at a cemetery or at a private location.  If the committal service for cremation is at a cemetery than the cremated remains can be buried into the ground, scatted in a memorial garden or inurned into a niche in a columbarium.

A committal service may also be held at the crematorium prior to the initiation of the cremation process.  This may also be called witnessing cremation and is especially important to people observing Hindu funeral traditions.

With earth burial the committal service is held at the graveside and the final benediction is observed before the casket is lowered into the grave.  Often people will put flowers on top of the casket to pay their last respects to the deceased.  It is the family’s choice to remain to see the casket lowered into the grave and the grave filled in.  Some families elect to participate in this by added a handful or shovelful of soil into the grave.

With entombment of a casket the committal service is held in the mausoleum.  After the final benediction many families remain to witness the casket being raised into the mausoleum space and sealed.

Whether you would like your life celebrated with a funeral, memorial or committal service, it is important to create the right type of service to say goodbye.  This helps your family and loved one express their grief and comfort each other.

You can take this pressure off of your family and friends by creating your own funeral file.  Things to consider doing now are to write your own obituary.  If you are not sure where to start, read other obituaries in print or online.  What do you like about them?  What don’t you like?  The important part is to start.  Perhaps think of three words that sum up your life contributions and achievements.  By outlining what is important to you and what your life means to you; you are letting others know about you and how you want to be remembered.  Just start, something is better than nothing.

Consider also including pictures, songs, poems, readings, or scriptures that you like. The absolute best way to record your wishes for your celebration of life is to have it written down and prepaid at the funeral home.

If you are unsure how/where to start, I invite you to connect with me.  I work with my clients to make this process easier and to avoid any headaches for the family during an already emotional time after the deceased has passed.  To help start the discussion, I offer a free consultation to see the available options and how to get started preplanning.

I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, 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. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

 

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What is the difference between a funeral service and a memorial service? Part 1

There are several ways to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one.  Sometimes the terms can be a bit confusing.  Many people do not know the main difference between a funeral service and a memorial service.  At a funeral service the body is present, while at a memorial service it is not.

A funeral service means that the body of the deceased will be present at the funeral service.

The body will be in a casket and the casket may be open or closed.  What I see more often now is that the casket is open initially for the immediate family members only prior to the public visitation.  This private time allows the immediate family members to view the deceased and pay their final respects as they say good-bye for the last time.

The casket is then closed for the public visitation.  Typical visiting times are from two to four in the afternoon and then again from seven to nine in the evening.  These times are not obligatory.  Some families may elect to have visiting from four to nine in the evening or any variation of this.  It is quite uncommon now to have visiting for two or three days.  If there are multiple visiting times it is usually to celebrate the life of a public figure or perhaps it was a sudden and tragic death.

The next day the funeral service may be held in the funeral home or place of worship. If the casket was open for the visitation, it will be closed for the funeral service.  If the funeral is held in a place of worship, then clergy presides.  If the funeral is held in the funeral home, then clergy or a funeral celebrant usually presides.  This is not mandatory and some families elect to have family members conduct the funeral service.

Following the funeral service the deceased is either buried or cremated.

Many families are now electing to have a reception immediately following the funeral service, and the final committal will be done later and privately with the immediate family only.  The rationale here is that if the family has the burial immediately following the funeral service many people will not remain in attendance for the reception and will leave after the funeral service.  Of course this is situational as sometimes the cemetery is close by and people will attend the committal service and/or wait until the family returns from the committal service for the reception.  A reception is not mandatory, yet many families appreciate the social aspects of a reception and the opportunity to catch up with family members and friends.

If the casket is to be cremated and if the funeral was at a place of worship the casket will be returned to the funeral home and then transferred to the crematorium.  The cremated remains will be returned to the funeral home within a few days.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog next week to help you decide what type of service is best for you.

I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, 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. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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Does Your Family Have an Emergency Preparedness Plan?

What would you do if you were one of the people in Fort McMurray who were told they only have 10 minutes to pack and that you have to leave everything behind right now?

Shocking, horrific, incomprehensible, and overwhelming for the 80,000 + people who had to do exactly this this past week after forest fires destroyed their homes and everything except what they could physically carry.

What would you decide take?  Where do you even start?

Have an Emergency Bag Packed at All Times

Even without the threat of an impending emergency, having an emergency bag packed and placed in one accessible location at all times is a great idea. Family members could pack their own bag, a bag that they can easily carry themselves, such as a backpack.  Consider having a family emergency plan, detailing where your packed emergency bag(s) is/are, where you would meet and how you would communicate or rendezvous to let each other know your status.   The Canadian Red Cross and the Federal Government website both suggest that your emergency bag have enough supplies to last for 3 days.

What to include in your Emergency Bag:

  1. Important papers or photocopies of these documents:
  • SIN card
  • Health Card
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Personal Identification Card
  • Will
  • POA
  1. Cash, especially small bills, Debit and Credit cards
  2. Basic first aid kit including Band-Aids, disinfectant, small scissors, etc.
  3. Basic tools and equipment such as a shovel, bungee cords, tape, multi-function pocket knife, manual can-opener, whistle, string, etc.
  4. Battery or crank radio and flashlight
  5. Extra batteries
  6. Blanket or sleeping bag
  7. Personal items and comfortable clothing and shoes
  8. High-energy non-perishable food items such as power bars or dried foods
  9. Potable water stored in small containers; 2 liters per person per day

What Can You Do Now to Prepare for an Emergency?

  1. Prepare your emergency bag
  2. Place it in your readily accessible location
  3. Where applicable prepare a family emergency plan
  4. Have an In Case of Emergency ICE contact readily located on your phone or person (see below)
  5. The same should be done with a list of any allergies that members of your family have
  6. Update your contact list on your phone, virtually or on paper
  7. Keep your vehicle in top running condition with regular maintenance
  8. Keep your devices fully charged. You can even charge and store a “backup battery bank” to recharge your devices on the go

To help get your family emergency plan started, I invite you to contact me to receive a free In Case of Emergency ICE contact form.  Does your family have an emergency preparedness plan in place?  I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, 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. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

In the meantime our thoughts prayers and perhaps donations go out to our fellow Canadians in Alberta.

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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What is Advance Care Planning and How Do You Choose Who Will Represent You?

Advance Care Planning is the process of deciding and documenting who is your voice and to what extent you want medical treatment in the event of your mental incapacity.

Many people have shared with me that their ideal way to die is to go to sleep and not wake up.  Certainly some people do die this way.  In reality however, many people will have a longer process involved in their future care before they die.

How do you set up an Advanced Care Plan? Read more

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What Happens to One’s Social Media & Digital Footprint When They Die?

Last year a colleague died suddenly and tragically.  It was a tremendous shock to the community and people showed up in droves to pay their respects.  Last week a request to endorse this person popped up on LinkedIn and I was immediately thrown right back to last year.  This left me thinking about what is the best way to handle a deceased person’s presence on social media?  What will happen to their social media accounts and digital footprint in general? Read more

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What Needs to Be Done When Someone Dies?

I had three calls this week from colleagues asking me to guide them through the process of what has to happen when a loved one dies.  Unfortunately in each case there was no preplanning nor had the families had any conversations about what type of funeral the deceased wanted.  Imagine their total bewilderment and shock at having to make important once in a life time decisions – all while they are in a state of total emotional overwhelm.

I think we could all agree that this is not the optimal state of mind to be in to have to make funeral decisions.  Especially when there are so many steps involved that haven’t been thought about.  To give you an idea of this comprehensive list, I have prepared a short list of just a few of the many steps involved in what needs to be done when someone dies. Read more

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The Unexpected Tax Incentive Canadians Don’t Necessarily Want to Think About

A coffin with a flower arrangement in a morgue

My article “The Unexpected Tax Incentive Canadians Don’t Necessarily Want to Think About” was recently published by Gail Johnson in Yahoo Finance Canada.  I would like to share this article with you here.

There’s a tax incentive that some Canadians are dying to get.

Income earned on contributions made to an “Eligible Funeral Arrangement” is allowed to grow tax-free under Canada’s Income Tax Act. Read more