casket legacy matters kat downey
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9 Financial Benefits of Re-Investing Your Tax Returns with an Eligible Funeral Arrangement

Do you receive a tax refund? If yes, you may be wondering how to best optimize your hard-earned money in a way that is both meaningful and financially sensible for you and your family. Why not have your money work hard for you by prepaying your future funeral arrangements? The best way to do this is by using all or part of your tax refund to set up an Eligible Funeral Arrangement. 

What is 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. 

Financial Benefits of an Eligible Funeral Arrangement 

The financial advantage of prepaying funeral arrangements is that your money is: 

  1. Always invested under your name 
  2. Your funds are insured up to $100.000.00 
  3. Your funds earn tax exempt 1.75% interest 
  4. There are no medical questions asked 
  5. It is easy to enroll 
  6. It is simple process 
  7. It is a loving gift to your family 
  8. You are in full control of your money and your wishes 
  9. You lock in the future price of the funeral and any inflationary risks rest with the funeral home, not your family.  

Why is This a Good Idea? 

Eventually, we will all need to have some type of funeral to celebrate our life. Don’t leave your family a huge funeral tab. Instead, leave them with a solid plan for how you want your life to be celebrated.  Your loved ones will be both relieved and grateful that you already have a plan in place for them to follow – completely free of financial strain or burden. Show your family how much you truly care, even after you’re gone.  

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 the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too. 

Until next time, 


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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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.


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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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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Settling Foreign Property in an Estate


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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