Should you prepay your funeral expenses?

A question that the Memorial Society of British Columbia hears often is "Should I prepay my funeral expenses?"

"People asking this question are generally thinking that it would be good to pay for tomorrow's cost today," says Nicole Renwick, Executive Director of the Memorial Society of B.C. "And they want to save their loved ones the bother of making financial decisions after they have passed, and there are a few other options."

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For a nominal membership fee, the Memorial Society can work with you to pre-plan, rather than pre-pay, your funeral and arrangements for the disposal of your remains.

"We've been helping people with end of life arrangements for more than sixty years," Nicole notes. "We have in excess of 242,000 members around the province, making us the largest memorial society in North America."

Pre-planning with the Memorial Society is as simple as filling in an arrangement form detailing your wishes, and then making sure your survivors are aware of your membership in the Society.

"When end of life occurs," Nicole explains, "the survivor should call us first. We will then refer them to a funeral home that is registered with us and with whom we have negotiated a member discount."

While pre-paying is an option, there are other options to keep in mind such as the CPP Death Benefit or taking out a GIC with your executor. If you do decide to pre-pay your costs here are a few points to keep mind:

·       You may move away from the area where your selected funeral home is located.

·       If you ask for a refund from a funeral service provider for any reason after 30 days of signing a pre-payment contract, the provider is entitled to retain up to 20 percent of your money.

·       A pre-payment contract usually does not include all the costs incurred at the time of death. For example, catering, flowers, cost for death certificates etc. are not included.

·       If your survivors do not know about the pre-payments, it is possible that the money will be lost.

"We can give you peace of mind through pre-planning," she says, "and relieve your loved ones of stress at an emotional time, while also making sure they receive a discounted rate on the provision of funeral services."

For more information on the Memorial Society of B.C. visit the website, call 1.888.816.5902, email, or drop in the office at 205-640 West Broadway. The Memorial Society of B.C. can also be found on Facebook.

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