Frequently Asked Questions

This page offers a brief guide to some of the most frequently asked questions about funeral services.

Our funeral directors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can help advise you on the steps you need to take and discuss the various options available to you.

What Should I Do When A Death Occurs?

The person with the legal authority to make funeral arrangements is the Executor of the Will. Some times, by mutual agreement, the authority to make the arrangements is passed on to someone in the family or a friend of the family.

Who Should Make The Funeral Arrangements?

The person with the legal authority to make funeral arrangements is the Executor of the Will. If there is no Will, there is a specific order of priority as to who may make funeral arrangements as per the “Cremation, Interment and Funeral Services Act of BC.”

Why have a funeral?

A funeral is a ceremony to mark a person’s death. It is a custom that provides a way for family, friends and community to gather, say goodbye and support one another. A funeral is the first step in the grieving and healing journey.

What do funeral directors do?

Funeral directors are professionals trained and experienced in helping families deal with the challenges of the death of a loved one. They make funeral  arrangements in keeping with the families wishes.

Why embalming?

Embalming helps to temporarily preserve the body. It minimizes the decomposition process and enhances a body’s appearance to make it suitable for display at a funeral. Embalming is not a requirement of law in Canada; however, most provinces require embalming when a death has occurred from a contagious disease or when a body is to be transported, by common carrier, from one province or state to another.

Can I decide what I want done with my remains while I'm still alive?

Yes. Just as you plan for a college education, a future wedding or a new home, you may plan for your own funeral. It is the best way to ensure that your wishes for final disposition are followed.

If a death occurs in another province or country can my local funeral home help me?

Yes. They can make all the necessary arrangements, on your behalf, with a funeral home in the area where the death took place. They can help you transfer the remains to another province, to another country or from another country back home to Canada.

Is a funeral or memorial service always held in a funeral home or place of worship?

No. A service can usually be arranged at a location that family and friends feel would be comfortable and appropriate. Your funeral director can assist you with arranging a meaningful service.

Can a service less formal than a funeral or memorial be arranged?

Yes. A wake or gathering of friends may be arranged and both are less formal events. They allow for family and friends to gather share memories and support one another. They may include refreshments and may be held at appropriate locations including an accommodating funeral home, a park, a restaurant, or the home of a family member or friend.

Does the price I get from the funeral home include all charges?

Not always. The Funeral Director is responsible for explaining all charges that are specific to the funeral home services and the merchandise as stated in its price list. Additional charges may, however, fall under the category of cash advances which may be for newspaper notices, flowers, honorarium’s for clergy, soloist, organist or some other special request etc.

Why are funerals so expensive?

Prices may vary between funeral homes depending on the type of funeral service and the merchandise you purchase. If you find that prices seem high to you, we suggest that you check with other firms. It can be a challenge to shop around for a funeral service at the last minute so you may want to speak with your local funeral director ahead of time to plan a service that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Will life insurance pay for funerals?

Yes. Most funeral homes will allow for an insurance assignment to pay for the funeral service as a convenience to the client family. This type of assignment transaction is processed by the insurance company. They only release funeral expenses to the funeral service provider. Any remaining balance is paid directly to the beneficiary. It’s a good idea to speak with your funeral provider well in advance to ensure that your insurance policy may be applied to the type of funeral service you want.  Life insurance only pays for a funeral service. It is the family that makes all of the important decisions surrounding a funeral service.

Is it appropriate to have a viewing and not a service?

Yes, if it is the wish of the family. In such a case the funeral director will arrange designated times for calling hours, have the times published in the newspaper and simply add to the obituary notice that services will be private or at the convenience of the family. This information will make it clear to the public as to the arrangements and fulfill the wishes of the family.

How can I personalize a funeral service?

There are many ways to personalize a funeral service and your funeral director can assist you with arranging meaningful choices. One way may be to bring a personal item/items into the funeral home to be displayed in or near the casket. For example an avid golfer may have a favorite golf club placed in the casket; an avid hunter or fisherman might have some of their personal fishing or hunting gear placed in the casket; a potter or artist might have some of their work displayed on a memory table.

Do clergy always officiate at a funeral service?

No. In place of clergy it is appropriate for the funeral director, a family member or a friend to share personal thoughts, memories and feelings about the deceased as part of the service.

These are some of the many questions you may have. If you have others, not answered here, please make a note to ask your director.

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