Facts and Myths  

1. Preplanning of funeral arrangements is the only way to ensure that one's wishes are carried out. In their grief, a family can easily overspend when the deceased would have preferred a simple funeral.

2. Prepayment of funerals- Perhaps? On the plus side, the cost will not change. The money is put into a trust account and is deemed to collect enough interest to cover any increased costs. If there is any money left over in the account after the funeral, it must be returned to the estate. Also there is no pressure on the families to make needless expenditures. They must be made aware of the methods of payment. There may be a penalty of a percentage of the original price up to a maximum of $200 if the arrangement is cancelled.

On the negative side, even though prepaid contracts are regulated by law, there have been cases of fraud or abuse of trust funds. Putting the money in a trust account also protects funds from funeral home creditors if the home goes out of business. For more on this topic see "
The Hidden Risks of Investing Money in Prepaid Funerals".
It can be difficult to predict where you will die.You might pass away while traveling, or you may wish to move closer to your children in some other part of the country. Changing your arrangements is easy if you have not prepaid.

3. Don't use your will or safety deposit box to hold a description of arrangements you have made for your funeral! Funerals usually take place (including disposal of the body) less then a week after the person dies. The Will does not even get officially read until after the funeral has taken place! By then it is too late. So a will, in itself, is no guarantee that you will have the funeral that you want. A safety deposit box is just as bad! The only person who can open the safety deposit box of the deceased is - you guessed it! - the deceased. At least not without some documentation which usually comes, again, after the funeral. So where should you put the description of your funeral arrangements? The more people who have a copy, the more likely you are to have what you want. You can choose to give copies to your next- of- kin (preferably to more then one), your executor, your family doctor, to the leader at your place of worship (clergy, etc.), and, of course, to the funeral home itself- not to mention depositing a copy in your emergency/personal file/papers at home. In short, anyone who may be present and responsible to take action at or after death occurs. More ideas? - the files at the nursing home, close friends, close neighbours .. you can best decide where copies should be.

4. Embalming is not necessary and is not required by law. It is an old myth that has been disproven scientifically years ago. Embalming is only necessary if the body will be more than three days without refrigeration. But funeral directors often insist on embalming, even under normal circumstances, if the body is to be viewed, because it makes the body more pliable and easier to work with.

5. Standard Casket or Cardboard Box? Well, not just any old cardboard box.... but if you are looking for an inexpensive container, an approved, reinforced cardboard casket substitute is an alternative that you may not know about. If that is not your cup of tea, don't worry - you can still spend a good chunk of your family's inheritance on a pretty casket if you like, and you can pay anything up to $14,000 for the privilege. That is also YOUR CHOICE.

6. In Ontario there is no required waiting time for cremation to take place.

7. The ashes from a cremation can be scattered on private land providing the consent from the land owner is obtained. They may also be scattered on Crown land provided that it is not done on a regular basis by a survivor of a large family.