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Dispelling the Myths about Funeral Preplanning – Part 1

A Coffee a Day is a Funeral Prepaid

iStock_000023619424XSmallReally?  Absolutely!  It can cost as little as $50.00 per month or even less to prepay your final funeral arrangements.  The couple I worked with this past weekend started their prepaid funeral arrangements for under $25.00 per month.  We worked within their budget and what they wanted to fund first and that is how the contract was set up.  We will add different items into the prepaid funeral contract over time and they will eventually have their entire funeral pre-funded within a budget that is comfortable to them. In this blog series, we will dispel some of the myths about funeral pre-planning.

Unfortunately, many people are under the impression that funerals are expensive or that they have to prepay funeral arrangements in one lump sum.  This is not the case. The average funeral cost in Ontario is around $8,800.00, and I have organized funerals that were $2,000 to over $15,000.00.  It really does depend on what you want to set up ahead of time and how you want your life to be celebrated.  People often ask me about the cost of a funeral, and that can depend for example on the casket selected.  Caskets are usually made of wood, metal or cloth covered particleboard.  The entry level pricing for a casket is around $600.00 and can go as high as you wish.

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What Do You Do If Someone Dies At Home?

bigstock-Old-Hand-Care-Elderly-7749577People have often asked me what to do if someone were to die at home. There are actually two scenarios to consider. The first scenario is if a person dies suddenly and unexpectedly at home. The second scenario is a palliative care person choosing to die at home.  In this blog post, I will discuss what to do in both cases.

1. Sudden Death

In this scenario, 911 Emergency Services are called and the responding Police, Fire and Medical Emergency personnel will arrive at the home. Very likely the Coroner will be called to the scene as well. The Coroner’s Office has the highest authority in the Province or Territory and it will literally be the Coroner’s decision of whether an autopsy will be performed at the coroner’s office or whether the body will be released through the Coroner’s Office to the attending Funeral Home.

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Landing Papers – Who Knew They Are so Important?!

bigstock-Passport-Stamps-4027299As part of our After Care program, I was recently assisting a man with some of the necessary paperwork involved in closing part of his mom’s estate.  One of the questions I asked him was if his mom had a valid Canadian Passport?  He replied that she did not; rather she had a valid British Passport.  In the course of our conversation I asked him if I could look at the passport.  One great part of my job is that I get to look at old marriage certificates, immigration papers, passports, or birth certificates.  I love the stamps and seals or markings on these documents.  Often the writing is very precise as well. This I find very interesting.

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4 Service Canada Issues to Consider When Doing Funeral Preplanning

bigstock-Wealthy-Nest-Egg-29498726Last week we discussed 5 items to put on your funeral pre planning list. In keeping with this theme, I would like to share with you 4 Service Canada considerations with respect to budgeting the to-dos on your funeral pre-planning list.

I would recommend that you contact the Canadian Pension Plan and see how the changes introduced from 2011 to 2016 may give your more options as you make the transition from work to retirement.  The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is administered through Service Canada and you may contact Service Canada or call them at 1-800-277-9914 toll free in Canada and the United States.  If you require assistance for hearing or speech impairments, then call the TTY number at 1-800-255-4786.  If you are calling outside of Canada or the United States, then please call 613-990-2244  and Service Canada will accept collect calls.  Alternatively you could make an appointment and visit a Service Canada Centre.

Here are the 4 things I would encourage you to explore:

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5 Items to Put on Your Funeral Preplanning List

bigstock-Business-agent-planning-with-a-26440379With the start of another New Year and the memories of the good times spent with family and friends receding, many people look at their overall Estate picture and realize that the funeral preplanning piece is still on their mental to-do list.  To complete the funeral preplanning piece, you may have even made an actual list.  Now is the time to cross this, mentally or physically, off your to-do list and achieve peace of mind knowing that you have taken care of the future the to the best of your ability.

The overall picture of funeral prelanning involves 5 pieces:

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3 Canada Pension Benefits You and Your Executor Should Know About

Birth CertificateAs far as the Canadian Government is concerned, there are two important dates in our lives:  our birth date and our date of death.  Although we may not want to think about our own mortality – eventually this is going to happen so ensuring your personal papers are in order and readily accessible is highly recommended. Here are 3 Canada Pension Benefits that your executor should know about.

1. Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit

One of the things your executor needs to do is to apply to Service Canada for the Canadian Pension Plan Death benefit.  The current maximum is $2,500.00 and is payable to the estate of the deceased contributor.  To apply for this benefit, your executor must provide the following:

  • The deceased’s SIN number
  • Date and place of birth
  • Date of death, and
  • A copy of the funeral director’s death certificate.
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Are You Leaving Your Estate in Chaos?

The best gift you can give your children during your lifetime is your unconditional love.  The second best gift is to organize your important papers.  I have worked with people who are suddenly thrust into the chaos of closing their parent’s estate with little or no knowledge of what they have.  When asked if there is a company pension benefit that continues for their mom, the deer in the headlights look comes over their face and they say “I don’t know”.  Similarly, when asked if their dad had personal life insurance or if the mortgage was insured, there is a uniformly vague answer, “I don’t know, Dad never talked about that kind of stuff”.

I don’t believe that people would knowingly leave things in such as mess.  I choose to believe that people would organize things better.  However life tends to side track us with other things that come up; things that seems more important or are more interesting to do. Besides, there is always tomorrow… or is there?

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Will You Die Intestate?

19762015_sMany of us do not like to consider our own mortality.  Yet, for people with courage and a sense of responsibility; they do draft a valid, up to date, properly witnessed will, reflecting their wishes for the distribution of their estate when they die. Unfortunately too many people die intestate, meaning they die without a will.  It is estimated that 50% of Canadians do not have a valid will.

Recently I was assisting two young men between 21 and 25 years of age.  Their mother died suddenly and unexpectedly and she did not have a will.  These young men are now thrown into the estate area with no idea of what their mother had, what she wanted done with the residue of her estate nor where her important papers were.  What a way to grow up fast!  I choose to believe that she did not knowingly intend to leave this mess for her sons to figure out on their own.

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Settling Foreign Property in an Estate

I WISH I HAD LISTENED

bigstock-cheerful-middle-aged-woman-emb-48853013How many times have your heard a change in the tone or inflection of your parents voice? Did you find your ears perked up and then you knew you’d better listen to what was going to come next? This happens to us even when we are adult children. We all know that tone of voice, commanding our attention. Unfortunately even as adults, we may not “listen” and then wish we had especially when it comes time to settling an estate!

Recently a lady I was assisting to close off some of her dad’s estate documents, lamented this same fact.  She said “Kat, I wish I had listened.  Every other year we went to Portugal with our father and he mentioned several times that he wanted to show us the property he owned there.  Well you know how it goes, there are things to see, things to do, other family members to visit and well …………,  I never did get the specific information or locations of the property dad owned.  Now that he has died, I need to deal with selling this property and honestly, I do not even know where it is.  My other family members in Portugal are not sure either.  Oh I wish I had listened and paid more attention to what my dad wanted to share with me.”

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