The "Gift" of your Funeral Bill

Posted 06 Jun 2014 by Melissa Allan

In my line of work, I deal with death and illness a lot. The fact is we are all going to die and over the years, our health deteriorates. Pre-planning your funeral is something that more and more Canadians are doing. It allows your loved ones to know your wishes, and answers some very difficult questions that arise at the death of a loved one.

The words death and funeral are uncomfortable for many people as they don’t want to talk about dying. It’s better to have these discussions now before it’s too late, while you’re healthy and of sound mind as fulfilling your last wishes can be a huge emotional burden to a loved one who simply doesn’t know your answers…

Personally, I want to be buried vs. cremation but I have yet to decide where I want to be buried as I’m from Newfoundland but my husband is from Nova Scotia and our children were born in Ontario! Like me, I’m sure many of you don’t really know what you want to do. But we are getting closer to those decisions through our discussions on the topic. We then started to wonder about our parents and called them to ask them their wishes. They are not even 100% sure on what they want!

Due to inflation, the costs of funerals in Canada are rising as our cost of living increases. One thing that is for sure is that someone grieving a loss does not want to be concerned with the cost to bury their loved one as they want the best, so pre-planning can be done when your emotions are at rest.

Some things to consider:

The price of a casket: Prices range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand for a metal or hardwood casket. Sometimes you can rent a decorative casket for the wake and burial services and have your loved one buried in a basic plywood casket to save money.

Embalming: This involves injection of a fluid for blood to temporarily preserve a body for the open casket.

Cremation: This typically costs less than a burial as you don’t have to buy a casket or burial plot. However, you still have to purchase an urn and this can range in price depending on the one selected

Service Fees: There are fees charged by the funeral home for the memorial service/wake run into the thousands on average.

Church Costs: There is a fee for the church service, organist, etc…

Obituary: Depending on the size of the add the price vary but expect around $100 plus HST for a basic ad

Burial Plot: Lot’s range in price depending on the location, and there is a wide range on this cost from $500 to again thousands…

Flowers/Donations: This can range of course but a decent flower arrangement is $200 and chances are you will want a few of these.

Headstones: Again, it all depends on what you chose, but this can range in the thousands

There is a CPP death benefit of $2,500 that you will receive but on average funerals can cost anywhere from $7,000 - $15,000 per person depending on the arrangements. With the cost of living rising, you can be sure these costs won’t be decreasing in the future. There is a wide range of considerations and it may be able to be done for less depending on your wishes.

My recommendation is to ensure you have funds set aside to cover your final expenses. If you don’t have the funds, consider insurance but be aware of what type of insurance you’re buying. Some funeral home’s offer insurance to pay for your funeral but it can be expensive depending on your personal situation so my advice would be to shop around or look at alternative options to compare their costs too.

A small life insurance policy may not be as expensive as you think and it’s really good to know what costs you or a loved one will be faced when your time comes.