What is preplanning?
Preplanning is simply the process of drawing up plans for a funeral before they are needed.
It involves gathering a variety of family information and making decisions about the type of services that you want. For instance, where the funeral itself should take place and who might participate. Working together with a funeral director or preplanning counsellor, you organize and record all of this information.
Our staff can lead you through the process providing advice and guidance along the way. They will ensure that you have all the information you need about our services and merchandise allowing you to make informed decisions.
You may choose to pay for the arrangements in advance or your plans can simply be held on file at the funeral home to be carried out when they are needed and invoiced to the estate or family at that time. Our staff will explain your options when you meet them.
While everyone who makes the decision to preplan has their own reasons for doing so we are often told that the greatest motivator is the desire is to protect their family by ensuring that they won't face the difficult task of making arrangements at a time of loss.
We advocate preplanning because our experience has shown us that not only is planning ahead virtually stress-free but people have the time and the information they need to make carefully considered, pressure-free decisions that are the right choices for them and their families.
What about prepayment?
"Is this what she would have wanted?" is an all too common question when families plan at time of need. Making your wishes clear may prove to be a very real gift to your loved ones.
For many people funeral preplanning has also become an extension of the estate planning process. It is simply one more thing they choose to take care of as they plan for retirement and the next stage in their lives.
There are, of course, financial considerations as well. Choosing to prefund funeral arrangements is another way in which people act to protect their families and prepaying can mean locking in the cost of the arrangements at current prices.
Whatever their reasons most people who preplan seem to be glad they did.
Should I prepay?
Once again each person's individual circumstances and other factors will influence this decision but there are a number of advantages to prepayment that you should consider.
Guaranteed cost: when you fully fund preplanned arrangements we guarantee the cost of the designated services and merchandise at today's prices. You will be protected from the effects of inflation on funeral costs over time. There are related services such as newspaper notices for which we cannot guarantee costs because they are not provided by us.
Our staff, however, are skilled at helping you to estimate these expenditures and to make allowances for them in your funding arrangements.
Family security: with funding in place and your costs guaranteed there will be no charge to your family or your estate for the plans you've made at the time they are carried out. People tell us that they like knowing that their families won't face both a loss and an unexpected financial burden at the same time.
Estate planning: people often choose to preplan and prepay in the years leading up to their retirement. Typically, it is at this point in our lives that we are in our prime earning years and have the most expendable income. For many this is both the easiest time to manage the expense and, by locking in the cost, an opportunity to remove an unpredictable future expense from their financial planning requirements.
Budgeting: our preplanning program offers a payment plan option that allows you to pay the cost over a period of time and, in some cases, you can still take advantage of the cost guarantees discussed above. See our Payment Options section for details.
Those who choose to pay for funeral arrangements in advance generally have a choice with regard to how
and when they pay.
In Ontario today we recommend an insurance product as the ideal way to pay for preplanned arrangements. We believe this is the best option because of the flexibility and protection it offers.
You have the choice of making a single full payment or making regular partial payments over a predetermined period of time.
Because this is insurance, most people will have full coverage right away even if they choose to pay over several months or years. In other words, if death should occur unexpectedly after only a few payments have been made, the plans you made will be fully paid for by the insurance company.
With full payment you are eligible for our locked in price guarantee meaning the services you've arranged are paid in full regardless of any increase in our prices between the time of arrangement and the time the funeral plan is carried out.
In today's world of easy travel and active retirees, our insurance products also include the option of special coverage to protect you and your family should a death occur unexpectedly away from home. The necessary care and transport of the deceased can be a significant expense. Have us explain how this special policy covers you in such circumstances.
Your funeral director or preplanning counsellor can tell you more about how these options work and may be able to offer you additional choices and benefits depending upon the arrangements you make.
Am I ready to preplan? - common questions
We know that there are many things to be considered in making preplanning decisions so we thought it might be helpful to answer a few of the common questions people often have as they enter the process.
If I prepay, where does my money go? Is it safe?
Yes, your money is safe. If your arrangements are funded with an insurance product we recommend, the insurance policy is yours. The funeral home can only access those funds once we deliver the services you have contracted for. For those who have placed funds in trust for this purpose, the same applies - they remain your funds until the arrangements are carried out.
What if I move away?
Prearrangements are fully transferable, as is the funding plan you may have put in place. If you move to a new community and decide that your funeral will take place there your plans can go with you. Once you have determined which funeral home you wish to deal with simply advise them that you have a funeral plan in place and they will assist you in arranging to transfer the plan and funding. If you find yourself in a new community and uncertain as to where to take your plan, please don't hesitate to call us. We are acquainted with funeral directors in many different places and may be able to introduce you to a colleague who can meet your needs.
Can I bring a friend for family member when I preplan?
Certainly. First of all we encourage you to discuss your options with family members or others who are close to you - either before you talk with us or after. You are welcome to have anyone you want present when we meet. Once a plan is in place you should let others know so that your preparations won't be overlooked later.
Can I preplan a funeral for someone else?
Yes you can, if you have responsibility for that person's care. As any contract you enter into will be between you and the funeral home we suggest that you be sure to have either a clear authorization from the person to act on their behalf or that you are able to demonstrate legal responsibility for managing their affairs.
We would be surprised if there weren't. Please feel free to contact us at 905-685-6584 or by e-mail with any questions or concerns you may have.
We look forward to hearing from you.
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Patrick J. Darte
39 Court St.
St. Catharines, ON