Prearrangements can be discussed in comfort and confidence either at the funeral home or in your home. This service is provided without cost or obligation. You may also arrange to prefinance your funeral.
Many people today choose to prearrange their own, or a loved one’s, funeral, relieving family or friends of the task of making difficult decisions at an emotionally vulnerable time. Ferguson Funeral Homes can offer you varied arrangement options that accommodate needs within your individual budget.
You may begin by meeting with one of our licensed funeral directors to discuss your directions and document those instructions. We can guide you through the many decisions that are required to organize your thoughts, wishes, and directions, including special requests you know would add meaning to the experience for your family. We can provide answers and options that suit your needs.
Our directors will listen and secure your wishes and directions in writing, maintaining those wishes as records at the funeral home. We’re pleased to hold instructions in confidence and are always willing to address changes or amendments which may become necessary with the passage of time and changing life events. In most cases, your executor and family should be fully aware of your wishes prior to the need. By including your funeral plans in your estate planning, you provide clear and concise direction to your executor and family.
Funeral preplanning is a gift you can share with your family while giving you confidence that your wishes will be executed as directed.
We can provide you with an accurate estimate of costs at the time of the preplanning and we can update that costing information for you from time to time as circumstances may be altered and costs adjusted to accommodate current schedules related to your preplanning.
Remember, you don’t have to prepay the funeral to have it pre-planned. Your expressed directions are important to you and to the family’s understanding of those directions. Payment can be deferred, delayed, or acted upon at time of need as funds may become available to you or your estate.
How to preplan a funeral
There are many different ways to begin the planning ahead conversation. You know your family and how your loved ones might best respond to the topic. For some families, it might be a casual conversation over dinner or another family gathering. For other families, a formal meeting might be better suited.
Regardless of your approach, the conversation is much easier to have when death is not imminent. Bringing up the subject with loved ones earlier in life when they’re younger, and most likely healthier, makes the topic easier to discuss and keeps the focus on the celebration of life rather than on an impending loss.
Here are some tips that may help you start the advance planning conversation with your loved ones:
- Set a time to have the conversation. Schedule it as an appointment with your loved ones, whether you want to share your plans with them or ask them to make their plans to share with you.
- Tell your parent or loved one that you want to ensure their final arrangements are done according to their wishes, and you need their help to make that happen.
- Ease into the conversation. Questions such as “Have you ever thought about where you would like to be buried?” or “What type of funeral would you like to have?” may open the discussion to more details about your loved one’s wishes.
- Take advantage of funeral-related opportunities. Attending the funeral of a friend, family member, or colleague or watching a movie or television show with funeral scenes may naturally prompt the discussion with your own loved ones. Talk about what you liked or didn’t like about the services you saw or attended.
- Tell your children or loved ones that because you care for them so much, you don’t want to burden them with difficult decisions when you’re gone. Tell them you’ve made your own final arrangements, and give them a written record of what they are.
- Make it a family affair. Schedule an appointment with your chosen funeral home and invite your children along to participate in the selection of services, funeral merchandise and wishes for final disposition.
Whether you’re sharing plans for your own final arrangements with loved ones, or encouraging loved ones to make and share their plans with you, the conversation about planning ahead is an important one that every family should have. While no one wants to think about their death or the death of a loved one any sooner than they must, having the conversation in advance alleviates the need for potentially more unpleasant or difficult conversations in the future.
You may also arrange to prefinance your funeral. This ensures that the price you pay for those services selected today, invested or secured on your behalf, will accommodate the rising costs of the future without further cost to you, your family, or your estate. Interest accruing in those funds held in trust is not currently subject to annual taxation while it remains in that trusted investment. Your prepayment, held in trust, can provide even more peace of mind for you and your family.
Upon reconciliation of the prepaid agreement at the time of need, any funds considered “excess” will be returned to the estate or individual responsible and entitled to receive such refund. Should there be a shortfall between the amount received and the reconciliation it will be the responsibility of the funeral home to accommodate such without further cost to the Purchaser or Estate. Ferguson Funeral Home neither takes nor receives any “finder fee” or “commission” on such trust instruments, and all funds are invested wholly for the benefit of the client with a preferred interest rate reflecting a reciprocal confidence between the financial institution entrusted to hold the funds and the funeral home.
Invested funds are also protected by governing law regarding such deposits and, additionally, by a compensation fund established for the purpose of ensuring security of such funds and the performance of contract obligations by the funeral home.
Funeral services can be expensive. There are times when one may not have sufficient funds available to fully prepay a funeral of one’s wishes or anticipated requirements at the present time. An insurance-funded funeral payment plan, which may span months or years, may be required to ensure that expressed wishes are satisfied at the time of need.
If a death occurs unexpectedly before all payments are made, there is every likelihood that the client will have coverage because of the insurance aspect of the funding. While the insurance company dictates limitations and exceptions, generally if a death occurs unexpectedly after a few payments have been provided, the insurance nature of the investment relieves the requirement of further premium payments.
The nature of multiple payments may lower the individual payments to allow you to secure those services requested without the major impact of a one-time expense or withdrawal of funds. Insurance-funded funerals can be “paid up” should the client’s availability to fully fund the funeral become available, and appropriate adjustments to the balances or subsequent payments will be calculated at that time. Always remember that both your financial interests and prepaid and personal arrangements are protected by law and regulation.
A Guide to Death Care in Ontario
The Bereavement Authority of Ontario (BAO) is a government delegated authority administering provisions of the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002 (FBCSA) on behalf of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services. Responsible for protection of the public interest, the BAO regulates and supports licensed funeral establishment operators, directors and preplanners; cemetery, crematorium and alternative disposition operators; transfer service operators; and bereavement sector sales representatives across Ontario.
The BAO’s Consumer Information Guide: A Guide to Death Care in Ontario is a free consumer-protection information booklet written for families and the public to know their rights and responsibilities before entering into contracts with organizations licensed under the Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, 2002.