Manitoba Funeral Service Association ~"We Serve Because We Care"


Funeral Planning

The purpose of planning a meaningful funeral is to commemorate a person's life and to remember and be thankful for your time together.  When a family has lost someone they love, it is a time of sadness and stress.  Taking the time to have your requests known is a thoughtful gesture that will ease the task for your family and friends and will ensure that your wishes are honoured.  Everyone in your family should be made aware as to where to find this information when the time has come.

More and more people are realizing the advantages of pre-arranging their funerals.  The process is simple and the benefit to loved ones left to handle the arrangements is well recognized.  The benefits are numerous: pre-planning allows you to express your own wishes; there is a guaranteed funeral price;  it relieves your family of the financial burden.  By relieving your family of burdensome decisions at a difficult time, you are showing your love and respect for their needs too.

What is the purpose of planning ahead?
Here are four important reasons to plan your funeral now:

  • Your wishes are recorded removing any guesswork.
  • Your family is not forced to make difficult decisions when distraught.
  • You make decisions now, with a clear head, unclouded by emotion and remove overspending.
  • You can lock in the cost of funeral services at today's rates and avoid inflation.

Isn't funeral planning primarily for older people?

Funeral planning is for anyone who is interested in outlining their preferences, relieving their family of difficult choices and unnecessary expense and making important decisions without the pressures of illness or circumstance.  Many more people in their 50s and 60s are prearranging and prepaying for their funerals.  Some view it as a matter of getting their estate in order; others see it as a sound investment.

Why is paying ahead beneficial?  Why do I need to fund a funeral plan if I make my wishes known?

Prearranging or pre-paying your funeral services is beneficial because you are locking in the costs of the funeral services at today's rates regardless of when they need to be fulfilled.  As a result, you avoid the cost of inflation for the services that are outlined on your Prearranged Agreement.    This provides you with peace of mind so that your family is not left with the burden of paying for the services at the time.

It is also very important to record and document the wishes for your funeral service so that your family members are provided with an idea of what you wanted and are not left in a difficult position of making decisions while experiencing the emotional stress of their loss.

What happens to my money?

There are primarily two funding vehicles that funeral homes use to handle the money paid in advance for your funeral service.

  1. Trust - under the Prearranged Funeral Services Act the funeral home is required to set up a Trust Account with a Bank or Trust Company to secure your money.   It is important to get confirmation from your Funeral Home that the Trust Account has been set up.  An Administration Fee may apply.
  2. Insurance  - In this case the money is held in a third-party insurance company providing additional security of your funds as the money does not get paid to the funeral home until a death occurs.

Most funeral homes can set up easy payment and financing options to meet the different needs and budgets of purchasers.

In both cases purchasers can cancel agreements.  Before doing that, it is important to discuss the cost factors with your Funeral Home as different cancellation time factors and administration fees may apply.  Contact your Funeral Home for more details on your agreement.

What happens if the funeral home I chose is no longer in business when I die?

Your money is protected.   In the case of an Insurance funded prearranged agreement, the money has been in third-party care and not at the funeral home so you can have the money returned or assigned to a new funeral home.   The new funeral home is not obligated to honour the terms of the original agreement but most will work with families to find services that fit the needs of the family.

In the case of a Trust funded prearranged agreement, your money can be returned to you.  If another funeral provider has not taken on the prearranged agreements, you would work with the banks holding the trust accounts to have your money returned.   The vast majority of funeral providers are very reputable and there should be no issues.  For peace of mind, you may wish to contact your funeral provider to verify the trust account hase been set up.   There may be a small administration fee that is charged if the trust agreement is cancelled at any time.

Can I make arrangements now and pay later?  What do I have to lose by waiting?

Yes, you can make arrangements now and fund them at a later date.  At the very least, we encourage you to file your arrangements with your local funeral home.  Then, when you are ready to pay for them, simply contact the funeral home to make sure that appropriate paperwork is filed.  

The risk you face in waiting to pay for your funeral is losing the cost protection that comes with planning and funding your funeral now.

Won't my Veteran's benefits or CPP take care of the funeral costs?

Chances are that your Veteran's (Last Post Fund) benefits and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits will not cover your funeral costs.  Even if benefits remain constant, they will not keep pace with rising inflation rates, CPP is available only to those who have paid into it.  The maximum amount available is $2,500.00

How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of a funeral service can vary depending on the type of service and involvement that is required for the services.   Based on industry statistics, the average cost of a funeral can range between $5,000 - $7,000 and typically does not include Cemetery arrangements.

The services include but are not limited to the following:

  • Professional service charges
  • The transfer of remains
  • Embalming and Preparation
  • Use of facilities for viewing and service
  • Casket or Cremation Container
  • Professional service vehicles like a Hearse, Limousine and Lead/Admin vehicle

What if I want to compare prices before committing to a funeral home?

You have the right to compare prices.  Be certain to compare the same items and services to get the real picture. That is why completing a detailed plan is so important.  As with any major purchase, price alone should not be the determining factor.  Reputation, service level and personal experience with the funeral home are also critical. 

In Manitoba, all funeral homes are required to provide you with with a written Price List so that you are best prepared when comparing services and costs.

What if I can't afford my plan right now?

A variety of payment options are available.  At the very least, record your wishes and file them with your local funeral home.  You can fund your funeral arrangements at a later date.

Should I involve my family?  What will they think?

As with other major decisions, most parents want to involve their children.  Often, sharing your ideas with family members helps form a closer bond and they appreciate your decision to include them in such a critical discussion.  Feedback from loved ones may help clarify your funeral choices.  It's important to discuss your decision before it's made, helping your family feel a part of it.  Opinions may vary, but what's important is the genuine concern and caring you display by making these plans now, so your children and other family members won't be forced to later.  Explain it in that manner and it's likely they will respect your wishes.

How do I get my spouse interested?

Funeral planning is a subject that not everyone is ready to openly discuss.  Explain that you would like to make such an important decision without emotional pressures and when you are not forced to make it.  Involve your spouse in the planning process.