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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

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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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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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Spring Cleaning: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle with a Warm Hand

Wow, our lives sure can get busy and complicated.  We take care of our families – shuttling children to school, activities, getting the school forms signed, accumulating stuff, then chucking that “stuff” into a temporary storage space, while thinking “I’ll get to it later”. Maybe tomorrow, maybe on the weekend, maybe next week.  Then more time passes and before you know it there is more “stuff” accumulated everywhere.

As we get older, we may find that we use less and less of our everyday items.  We may have younger family members, children or grandchildren who may benefit from them.  Why not share some of your memories with family & friends and encourage them to make new ones?  This is a simple part of estate planning that can be done at any age, at any time.  The more organized your estate is, the less stress we leave our estate trustee in organizing it with the added stress of our passing. Read more

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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. Read more

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Dispelling 3 Cremation Myths

bigstock-Religion-death-and-dolor--f-24592610On Sunday while at my parent’s place to celebrate Father’s Day with my dad, their neighbor started to ask me questions about cremation. And during this conversation I realized that some of the things that she thought were true – in fact are not so I thought it might be helpful to write this blog to dispel 3 myths about Cremation.

1. When a person dies and they want cremation they go directly to the Crematorium, Right?  No, this is not the case.

When a person dies and they select cremation as the form of disposition, the body is taken to the Funeral Home of choice. When a person dies, a Medical Certificate of Death is signed and once the paperwork is completed by the hospital,  the body is then said to be released.  This is when the funeral home will send a licensed funeral director to the place of death and transfer the deceased to the Funeral Home.  Once the body is at the funeral home a Coroner is called to view the deceased at the funeral home and sign a Cremation Application.  The Coroner’s Office has the highest authority in the province of Ontario and the Coroner’s signature is verifying that there is nothing suspicious about why or how the person died.  Otherwise further investigation may take place and the body would not be cremated. When the death has been registered with the province and the Cremation Application complete, then the body is taken to the Crematorium.

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Express Appreciation for Your Dad This Father’s Day

father's dayWith Father’s Day on the horizon many of us have the opportunity to share time with our dad’s to express our appreciation of their unconditional love and how their influence has shaped our lives.

My dad is not of the generation that was hands on with the family.  However he was an excellent provider. What dad is particularly proud of is that he was “Freedom 55.” As a career agent with London Life Insurance, dad retired at 55 years of age and is thrilled that he is now retired longer than he worked.  Well done Dad.  He also scheduled the first 2 weeks of August every year to take the family camping, first with a tent, and later a trailer.  Dad seemed to love driving even with two annoying kids in the back seat.  Throughout the years I have seen Canada from coast to coast, and portions of the United States.

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