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Who has the Legal Authority to Make Decisions When You Die?

Man with urnWhen funeral arrangements are being made, the Funeral Director is often caught in the middle, between family members and wishes for the type of funeral being planned.  You may think that when a family’s mother or father has died and a funeral has to be planned, that the family would be a cohesive decision making unit.  This is often not the case.  When death and money mix, various family members can have radically different views as to the type of funeral to plan and merchandise to select for the funeral.  This is especially the case if mom or dad did not preplan or prepay his or her own funeral arrangements.  In this blog post, we’ll talk about who has the legal authority to make decisions when you die.

I have been assisting families when they all look around the table and ask each other if mom or dad ever talked about the kind of funeral they wanted.  Did they want burial or cremation? Did they want a service in the Church or the Chapel?  Blank stares and the “deer in the headlight look” come over the families’ faces and they are left in a lurch to learn about funeral planning, their options, merchandise selections – all the while wondering if this is really what mom or dad would have wanted.  I know of one family, whose father died and he never spoke about the type of funeral he wanted, nor whether it was to be burial or cremation.  The families’ consensus finally was to have a service for dad and then have him cremated.  Everyone felt good with that decision and process – until they found the will and read it to find out that he preferred burial!  Oh Dear!  We do not have the technology to un-cremate a person and now the family is left with the memory that they did not do what their father had wanted done.

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3 Major Changes to the Ontario Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act

bigstock-Mourning-woman-on-funeral-with-47269159On July 1 2012 the new Ontario Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act comes into effect.  There are 3 major changes in the legislation concerning prepaid funeral contracts.  They are:

  1. The Funeral home must guarantee all goods and services listed on the prepaid contract.
  2. Funeral Homes may not accept prepayment for cemetery related services.
  3. The administration fee has increased.

Each of these legislative changes is discussed in turn.

1. Prepaid funeral contracts

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Dispelling 2 More Funeral Preplanning Myths

3263252_sIn my last blog post, I discussed the fact that there are myths with respect to funeral preplanning and discussed some of the legislation that surrounds it. In this blog post, I’ll dispel 2 more funeral preplanning myths; that of cost and cremation.

Myth #1: It’s expensive to preplan a funeral, right? No, absolutely not.

It’s Free.

Preplanning a funeral does not cost any money. In fact it is a loving gift to let your family know what you would prefer to celebrate your life in the end.

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