Docstoc

FUNERAL - PDF

Document Sample
FUNERAL - PDF Powered By Docstoc
					PLANNING YOUR


FUNERAL
Background Information




Funeral Planning and Memorial Society of Manitoba
In America, death is treated as an unexpected emergency. Instead of
the last rites, we deal with the last crisis. It’s no wonder funerals often
seem awkward and painful. We are not prepared. The problem is that
we are reluctant to talk about death.


-Robert Fulghum, From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives
(1995).



Making our end-of-life decisions may be less fearful to face if we
understand what happens to the body after death, and demystify the
funeral options.


-Lisa Carlson, Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998).
January 2008




                                                                              2
Contents
Part 1 - Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 5
  Four essential documents ............................................................................................................ 5
  When should a lawyer be consulted? .......................................................................................... 5
Copyright ........................................................................................................................................ 5
Starting Out: Six Questions ............................................................................................................ 6
  #1: Do You Want to Donate Your Body? ................................................................................... 6
  #2: Do You Prefer Cremation or Earth Burial? .......................................................................... 6
  #3: Do You Want a Service? ...................................................................................................... 6
  #4: What Type of Funeral Do You Want? .................................................................................. 6
  #5: If You Choose to Bury Your Body or Ashes, Where is it to Be? ......................................... 6
  #6: Do You Have a Funeral Budget? .......................................................................................... 6
“Death Care” Vocabulary ............................................................................................................... 7
  Some Definitions ........................................................................................................................ 7
  Words Relating to Cremation ..................................................................................................... 7
  Words Relating to “Earth Burial” ............................................................................................... 8
Part 2: The American Way of Death............................................................................................... 8
  Before the 20th Century: Home Funerals .................................................................................... 8
  During the 20th Century: from “Home Funerals” to “Funeral Homes” ...................................... 8
  Do Consumers Know What They Want?.................................................................................... 8
  Choosing a Funeral Director or Funeral Home........................................................................... 9
Part 3: The Funeral Business in Winnipeg ................................................................................... 10
  “The Cost of Dying in Winnipeg” ............................................................................................ 10
  Winnipeg’s 25 Funeral Homes ................................................................................................. 10
  Laws that Govern Funeral Directors and Homes ...................................................................... 12
  A Voluntary Association of Funeral Directors ......................................................................... 13
  Do It Yourself: A Funeral without A Funeral Director ............................................................ 13
  Procedure .................................................................................................................................. 14
  Body Removal (or “Transfer”) Services ................................................................................... 14
Part 4 The Three Ways to Dispose of Your Body ........................................................................ 14
  1. Donation for Anatomical Studies or Transplant ................................................................... 14
  2. Cremation .............................................................................................................................. 15
  3. Earth Burial: Three Choices.................................................................................................. 17
  Cemeteries................................................................................................................................. 18
  Mausoleums: a 4th way to dispose of your body! ..................................................................... 19
Part 5 Funeral Services and Memorial Services ........................................................................... 19
Part 6: The Costs ........................................................................................................................... 20
  The Four Types of Costs ........................................................................................................... 20
  Cost #1: the services of a funeral home .................................................................................... 20
  Cremation: three choices........................................................................................................... 21
  Funeral Homes: prices for the simplest service they provide ................................................... 22
  Cost #2: various items – depending on the type of funeral....................................................... 23
  Cost #3: a grave for the body or ashes ...................................................................................... 24
  Cost #4: a memorial for the grave............................................................................................. 25
  How Are Funerals Paid For?..................................................................................................... 25
  Should You Pre-pay? ................................................................................................................ 26
  Consumer Tips from Books and Articles.................................................................................. 28
Index ............................................................................................................................................. 30




                                                                                                                                                    4
Part 1 - Introduction
Soon after I retired a few years ago, I discovered that there is very little information available
about the funeral industry in Winnipeg – even about such simple matters as to how many types
of funerals there are, how many funeral homes there are in Winnipeg – and who owns them.
To get answers, I visited every Winnipeg funeral home, interviewed funeral directors, and read
all the books I could find on funeral planning and funerals. The result of all the visits and books
is this document and the related document, “My Funeral Plan”.
Every funeral director knows more about this subject than I do, but they are busy making a living
– and the information they provide is often little more than advertising.
I still don’t know very much about the funeral industry, but as “an interested amateur”. I have
made presentations to various groups since 2003. I have now spoken to more than 500 people. In
addition, the two documents have been distributed many more people and groups by mail.
My message is this: Have any kind of funeral you want – but make a funeral plan!

Four essential documents
Everyone – especially senior citizens – should have the following documents:
1. A power of attorney, to appoint someone to look after your financial affairs if you can’t.
2. A health care directive (living will) to appoint someone to make your health care decisions if
   you can’t.
3. A funeral plan that indicates what you want to happen when you die.
4. A will, to dispose of your property after you die.

When should a lawyer be consulted?
In my opinion, a lawyer specializing in Estate Planning should definitely be consulted in respect
of a power of attorney and a will. Few lawyers have any expertise in the other two documents,
and most of us can do them on our own.

Copyright

Copying and distributing this document for a non-profit purpose is invited and encouraged. For
information on copying for any other purpose, contact the Manitoba Funeral Planning and
Memorial Society at 613 St. Mary’s Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2M 3L8 Canada.




                                                                                                      5
Starting Out: Six Questions
A funeral plan requires answers to at least the following questions.

#1: Do You Want to Donate Your Body?
You might wish to donate your entire body for medical education (also referred to as
“anatomical studies”) or scientific research, or part of your body for transplant. But even if you
wish to donate your entire body, it might be refused — for any number of reasons. So you must
have a back-up plan, starting with the following choice.

#2: Do You Prefer Cremation or Earth Burial?
How do you want your body disposed of? Your choices are cremation or earth burial.

#3: Do You Want a Service?
Do you want a funeral service (with your body present) or a memorial service (your body is not
present)? If so, where do you want the service held – and what do you want to happen at the
service?

#4: What Type of Funeral Do You Want?
The answers to #2 & #3 will direct you to one of the following SIX basic types of funeral:
Cremation
1. Immediate cremation with no memorial service.
2. Immediate cremation, followed by a memorial service – on the same day, or later.
3. A funeral service with your body present in a casket, followed by cremation.

Earth Burial (of your entire body)
4. Immediate earth burial with a graveside service.
5. Immediate earth burial, followed by a memorial service – on the same day, or later.
6. A “traditional” funeral service – with your embalmed body present in a casket, whether open
   or closed – followed by earth burial.

#5: If You Choose to Bury Your Body or Ashes, Where is it to Be?
And what kind of memorial (marker or tombstone) do you want on your grave?
#6: Do You Have a Funeral Budget?
How much can you afford to spend — or how much are you willing to spend — on your funeral?
The estimated average cost of a funeral is $5,000 to $10,000 – including a grave and marker.




                                                                                                     6
“Death Care” Vocabulary
The words in each of the following groups mean much the same thing.
ashes, remains, cremated remains, cremains (a contraction of “cremated remains”).
coffin: an octagonal (eight sided) shape; casket: a rectangular (four sided) shape.
dig up and fill in, open and close; opening and closing. “Open and close” applies to niches too.
funeral industry, death care industry, funeral business, the dismal trade (old English).
funeral parlour, mortuary, funeral home, funeral chapel.
grave, lot (one grave), plot (two or more graves).
remove a body (from the place of death), transport a body, body removal, transfer.
traditional funeral, complete interment service, full service funeral (includes embalming,
casket, viewing, earth burial).
undertaker, mortician, funeral practitioner, funeral director.

Some Definitions
at need, pre-need: when you call a funeral home, you are either “at need” (someone has just
died) or “pre-need” (you are planning someone’s funeral – perhaps your own - but the person has
not died).
body-snatching once referred to digging up a corpse, but it now refers to a funeral home picking
up a corpse without authorization – such as after receiving a telephone inquiry for a price
quotation.
decomposition: the process by which a corpse turns to dust. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” is
often quoted from The Bible: Genesis 3:19 and Ecclesiastes 3:19-20.

Words Relating to Cremation
cremation: the reduction of body mass by the use of intense heat, leaving only mineral residue.
crematory, crematorium. There are three plural forms: crematoria, crematoriums, crematories.
columbarium: a building, room or wall with compartments (niches) in which to store urns.
inurn/inurnment: burying an urn in the ground, or placing an urn in a niche in a columbarium.




                                                                                                  7
minimum container/alternative container: the “minimum” varies from funeral home to funeral
home. It is sometimes a plywood casket, a cardboard container, or a so-called “dignity box”.

Words Relating to “Earth Burial”
earth burial: this term refers to burying the whole body (though of course cremains can be
buried)
embalming: injecting a corpse with chemicals to temporarily delay decay and to give the
appearance of a life-like condition, usually for the purpose of viewing.
viewing: the body is in an open casket; visitation or prayers: the body is in a closed casket.

Part 2: The American Way of Death
Before the 20th Century: Home Funerals
Before funerals became a business, the family and friends of a deceased person did everything
required to dispose of the body, including washing and preparing the body for burial,
constructing a casket, arranging a wake, and digging the grave.
Heather Robertson, Grass Roots (1973) – referring to Winkler, Manitoba:
Before 1949 [when a funeral home opened in town] the dead were simply planted in the front
garden, close to the road so the headstones would be visible to passersby. The body was washed
by the local women, stitched into a white cotton shroud, and laid out for a day or two in the
parlour. Caskets were made by the village cabinet maker. Funeral invitations were circulated like
chain letters: the first name on the list delivered it to the second, the second to the third, and so
on.

During the 20th Century: from “Home Funerals” to “Funeral Homes”
What funeral homes now call a “traditional” funeral is based on the 20th century “traditions” of
the funeral industry. Funeral homes can of course provide a valuable service, but some critics
argue that a family’s involvement is too often reduced to following a funeral director’s directions
and paying the bill. The critics suggest that a family’s participation in arranging and conducting a
funeral helps them to grieve.
The prime example of a funeral home “tradition” is embalming. It began in modern times during
the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865), and has been promoted by the industry as a necessary part of
grieving and “closure”. Critics argue for less emphasis on the body of the deceased, and more
emphasis on celebrating his or her life.

Do Consumers Know What They Want?
It is said that a funeral is the third or fourth most expensive thing most people will buy in this
life, after a house and a car, and maybe a wedding – and divorce. The average person is involved
in arranging at least two or three funerals in a lifetime.
Funeral directors like to say that they sell their customers only what the customers want to buy.
But do their customers know what they want?




                                                                                                    8
Do funeral directors take time – do they have enough time – to explain all the options to
every customer? Relying on a customer’s pre-conceptions can save a lot of time.
♦ Darryl Roberts (a former funeral director), Profits of Death: An Insider Exposes the Death
  Care Industries (1997):
“There is one glaring difference between the funeral industry and other types of business. There
is much more consumer knowledge available about nearly every other type of business….
When it comes to funeral and cemetery goods and services, the consumer woefully lacks the
basic knowledge about what choices are available and what they should cost.”
Jessica Mitford, The American Way of Death, Revisited (1998):
“Choice does not enter the picture for average individuals faced with buying a product of which
they are totally ignorant, at a moment when they are least in a position to quibble. The cost of a
funeral almost always varies … according to what the traffic will bear.”
♦ Darryl Roberts, Profits of Death: An Insider Exposes the Death Care Industries (1997):
“Death is often ignored until one has no alternative. But by then, the death merchants have us
right where they want us: vulnerable, emotional, susceptible, and with checkbooks in hand….
Many of the people I met during my years in the funeral business were fine people. By and large,
they are good folks, but they are business people first and foremost. Their motives are too often
fueled by profit….
“Funeral directors assume you will deal more easily with your grief if you buy the most
expensive services. They assume you want to purchase the best for the most, to show family and
friends how much you cared for the deceased.”

Choosing a Funeral Director or Funeral Home
Jessica Mitford mentions an unusual fact: the fewer funeral homes there are in an area, the lower
their prices tend to be; the more funeral homes there are in an area, the higher their prices tend to
be. Mitford suggests a reason for that: people arranging a funeral rarely shop around.

Lisa Carlson, Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998):

“According to a 1995 study for the funeral industry [in the U.S.], almost 90% of people do not shop
around for a funeral:
• 45% pick a funeral home that served someone else in the family;
• 33% call the nearest funeral home;
• 11% pick a funeral home based on perceived ethnic or religious affiliation.”
Integrity and trustworthiness
Earlier editions of this document were given to more than 25 funeral directors in Winnipeg. Two
of them criticized this page for not saying something about choosing a director based on integrity
and trustworthiness. They were asked to provide information on how a consumer can measure
those factors. No information was provided. Of course, those factors are important in choosing
anyone who delivers a service, but it is for the consumer to decide how to recognize and measure
them.


                                                                                                     9
Part 3: The Funeral Business in Winnipeg
“The Cost of Dying in Winnipeg”
On October 7, 1997 the Winnipeg Free Press published several articles by reporter Paul Wiecek
under the headline “The Cost of Dying”. The following are excerpts from those articles.
*   *   *
A Free Press investigation of the local funeral industry found wide price disparities among
funeral homes are commonplace and markups on some coffins that topped 350%. An industry
spokesman said the price range is a function of the goods, services and facilities supplied.
Among other findings:
•   Most of the major funeral homes in Winnipeg have been bought up by international funeral
    chains, although customers would be hard pressed to know it. The names have remained the same,
    previous staff have been kept on and the names of the new owners seldom appear on public
    documents. A survey of 10 local funeral homes found the six most expensive were owned by chains.
•   The markups on coffins vary widely. For example, a coffin that cost the funeral homes just $538
    sold at one home for $1,640, at another home for $2,135, and at a third home for $2,750.
•   Cremation is becoming the funeral of choice in Manitoba. But a simple, no-frills cremation costs as
    little as $690 and as much as $2,135. To be cremated at Green Acres, you have to buy a $405
    container, while other homes use plywood boxes selling for about $150.
•   As with Any Large Purchase, Shop Around
•   Here are a few pointers to keep from paying top dollar when planning a funeral:
•   Shop around. At an average cost locally of about $5,000 – not including a plot and headstone –
    a funeral will be among the most expensive things you will ever buy. Funeral homes are not required
    by law to give prices over the phone – unlike the U.S. where federal law requires it – but a survey
    found that most local homes will do so.
•   Ask questions when you go to funeral homes for price quotations.
•   Embalming: During the Free Press survey, several funeral homes warned against not embalming,
    saying airborne pathogens from an unembalmed body pose a health risk — but health experts say
    there is no danger.
•   Be careful of purchasing pre-paid funeral plans. Many are not portable if you move away, and at
    least two studies have found that you’re typically better off putting money into a mutual fund or
    some other secure interest-generating account. The studies found that such funds generate more than
    enough interest to offset any increased funeral costs.

Winnipeg’s 25 Funeral Homes
Manitoba has about 86 funeral homes to handle the 10,000 deaths that will occur this year in the
province. Brandon has three funeral homes, and each of these places has two: Ashern,
Beausejour, Dauphin, Morris, Morden, Portage la Prairie, Roblin, Steinbach and Swan River.
Winnipeg’s funeral homes can be divided into the following groups.



                                                                                               10
1. The Independents: 17

These funeral homes, listed alphabetically, are (to the best of my knowledge) individually owned
and operated.

Aboriginal Funeral Chapel                              Knysh Funeral Chapel/Prairieland
                                                       Aboriginal Funeral Home
Bardal Funeral Home and Crematorium                    Korban Funeral Chapel
Neil Bardal Inc                                        LeClaire Brothers
                                                       Funeral Products & Services
Barringer Funeral Services (new in 2005)               Mosaic Funeral Services (new in 2007)
Edward Coutu & Co                                      Transcona Funeral Chapel Ltd.
Cropo Funeral Chapel (new owners 2006)                 Voyage Funeral Home
Friends Funeral Service (new in 2005)                  Whee1`ler Funeral Chapel (new in 2004)
Kilcollins Cremation Service (new in 2007)             Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel & Crematorium


2. Arbor Memorial Services Inc. (a company): four in one
The company’s head office is in Toronto. It owns about 100 funeral homes, 40 cemeteries (three
in Winnipeg) and 27 crematories across Canada. Prices are set centrally for its four Winnipeg
funeral homes: Chapel Lawn, Desjardins, Glen Eden, Glen Lawn.




                                                                                             11
3. Dignity Memorial (a company): four in one
This company was Alderwoods (2002 to 2006) and Loewen before that. In Canada, Dignity
owns about 200 funeral homes, four cemeteries and 20 crematories. A price list for all of its
Winnipeg funeral homes is available on request. In Winnipeg, the company owns three
crematories, three cemeteries and these four funeral homes: Green Acres, Klassen,
Thomson/Kerr (2 in 1), Thomson in the Park.

Recent closures
•   In 2007, Birchwood Funeral Chapel closed its Winnipeg office. It continues in Steinbach (since
    1997).
•   In 2005, Eternally Serene Casket Co. (casket discounters) opened & closed on Portage Ave. (St.
    James).
•   In 2005, Basic Cremation Service – “$649 complete”. It opened in 2004. Owned by Alderwoods.
•   In 2004, P. Coutu on Marion Street.
•   In 2004, Leatherdale Gardiner (on Portage Avenue in St. James).
•   In 2003, Kerr’s on Adelaide Street was torn down and its name added to “Thomson on Broadway”.

4. Cooperative: 1
•   Birchwood Funeral Chapel: Steinbach

Laws that Govern Funeral Directors and Homes
Manitoba has about 225 licensed funeral directors and about 86 licensed funeral homes.

Provincial government regulation: licences and complaints
Manitoba’s laws relating to the funeral industry date from the 1960s. It’s time for new
legislation!

The Board of Administration
The authority to license funeral directors and funeral homes is given to the “Board of
Administration” established under The Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act (nine pages,
1987).
The Board has seven members. One is a civil servant, and two are funeral directors. Each
member is paid $109 plus expenses for each day spent “carrying out duties as a member”, as set
under the Embalmers and Funeral Directors Board Allowances Regulation (one page, 1987).
The Board is located at 254 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, R3C OB6; telephone 947-1098, fax 945-
0424.




                                                                                                12
Funeral Directors and Funeral Homes MUST be Licensed
The Act sets out the requirements to become an embalmer and funeral director, and to practice as
one. The Act gives the Board the power to make regulations about such matters as the content of
training courses. It’s all in the Embalmers and Funeral Directors General Regulation (9 pages,
1987).
The Act prohibits anyone from acting as a funeral director or embalmer, or operating a business
as such, without a licence. The Board handles complaints by and about funeral directors, and has
the power to cancel a licence.

A Voluntary Association of Funeral Directors
According to its website, the Manitoba Funeral Services Association is a non-profit organization
that provides a service for funeral directors and funeral homes across Manitoba. It is “dedicated
to the advancement of funeral service through support to the public, as well as our members
[who are funeral directors].” Every province has such an association.
It is a voluntary association, with no disciplinary powers.
Some funeral directors and funeral homes do not see any benefit to membership, and are not
members.

Do It Yourself: A Funeral without A Funeral Director
The law allows a body to be disposed of without the help of a licensed funeral director. This
definition is from The Vital Statistics Act: “lay funeral director” means any person other than a
[licensed] funeral director who takes charge of a dead body for the purpose of burial, cremation
or other disposition.

Some facts
•   When a corpse is “free to go”, the law does not require that it be moved by ambulance or hearse.
•   The law does not require a body to be buried in a casket. A sheet or shroud will do.
•   A casket is not required for a burial in the three cemeteries operated by the City of Winnipeg.
•   A casket can be made at home, or a simple one can be purchased from most funeral homes for from
    about $300 to $700.
Some inspiration
These books tell how some individuals took matters into their own hands and buried their own
dead:
•   Doug Smith, Big Death (2007): pages 106-108.
•   Xavier Cronin, Grave Exodus: Tending To Our Dead in the 21st Century (1996): chapter 7.
•   Lisa Carlson, Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998), pages 17 to 40. It is advertised as
    “A complete guide for those making funeral arrangements with or without a funeral director.”
•   Ernest Morgan, Dealing Creatively with Death (14th edition, 2004), pages 62-63 and 95-96.




                                                                                               13
Procedure
The Vital Statistics Act requires a doctor to complete Part 2 (“Medical Certificate of Death”) of a
“Registration of Death” form within 48 hours of the death, and forward it to the Department of
Vital Statistics. The body can be released to the “lay funeral director” after he or she completes
Part 1 of the form, which is available from Vital Statistics (254 Portage Ave., 947-1098) or a
funeral home. The V.S. office also provides a “burial certificate”, which is required before a
cemetery can authorize a burial. In the case of cremation, an “authorization to cremate” is
provided, and is required by the crematory.

Body Removal (or “Transfer”) Services
•   Winnipeg First Call telephone 257-0877) is a family-owned business, established around 1970. It
    will move a body to a crematorium for $75 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or $100 (5 p.m. to 8 a.m.). Outside the
    Perimeter Highway: $1.50 per km (a one-way charge).
•   Winnipeg Funeral Transfer Service (telephone 956-2882) is a family owned business established
    in 2002. It will remove and shroud a body from the place of death for a fee of $100 plus tax. Outside
    the Perimeter Highway, the fee is $100 plus $1.50 per km (one way) – plus tax. It has a holding
    facility in Winnipeg, where a body can be kept and refrigerated for a fee of $30 per night. It has
    cardboard containers at $75 for cremation, and airtight metal liners at $500 for transporting a body
    that is not embalmed within 72 hours.

Part 4 The Three Ways to Dispose of Your Body

These are the choices: donation, cremation, burial. Other choices, such as “plastination”, might
be available in future.

1. Donation for Anatomical Studies or Transplant
You can donate your entire body, or you can donate parts of it for transplant.

Donating your entire body
For information about donating your body for anatomical studies, call the Department of Human
Anatomy in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba for a copy of the booklet
Service after Death: Information on Leaving One’s Body for Anatomical Studies. Telephone
789-3652.
The University will not accept a body from which any organ or tissue is taken for transplant. It’s
all or nothing at all.
When a corpse is accepted, the University arranges and pays for an eventual cremation. A
service is held each year at Brookside Cemetery to honour all those whose bodies have been
donated. Of course, a memorial service for any of the deceased can be held in the usual way, at
any time after his or her death.
If you decide to donate your body, it might not be needed when the time comes. So you must
have a back-up plan, which begins with choosing between cremation and earth burial.




                                                                                                14
Donating parts of your body
For information on
•   organ donations, call Transplant Manitoba – Gift of Life Program at 787-1897.
•   tissue donations, call the Tissue Bank at 940-1750.
•   corneal donations, call the Lions’ Eye Bank at 788-8419.
Even if you choose to donate, you must still choose between cremation and earth burial of the
rest of your body.

2. Cremation
Every corpse eventually turns to dust, either by cremation or by slow disintegration in a grave.
As the Bible says (Genesis 3:19, God speaking to Adam), “You are dust, and to dust you shall
return.”
Cremation is used in most of the world, and approved by all the major religions.
Incidentally: the Vatican approved cremation in 1963.

Some rates of cremation
•   Italy, Ireland and Brazil: less than 4%. Japan: 99%. Britain: 1945: 10%; 2000: +70%.
•   U.S.: first cremation: 1876; 1939: 3%; 1970: 4%; 1998: 24%; 2005 (estimated): 40%.
•   Canada: 1970: 6%; 2004: 36%; 2010 (estimated): about 50%. Cremation is more common in B.C.
    (about 80%), among members of memorial societies (more than 90%), and among older people.
•   Manitoba: 1982: 15%; currently: about 50%. In Winnipeg: 50 to 60% – and increasing.

Why do people choose cremation?
These are some of the reasons mentioned in the many books referred to in this document:
•   cremation can be – and usually is - less expensive than earth burial.
•   -cremation is regarded as simpler, less emotional, and more convenient for planning funeral
    services.
•   separation of family members: this is reflected in the decreasing number of “family plots”.
•   aging: our population is aging and living longer; some people outlive most friends and family.
•   one way or the other, it’s “dust to dust”: cremation replicates the process that a buried body
    undergoes, but more quickly and without the image of slow decomposition (even with embalming).
•   environmental concerns: cemeteries can be sources of pollution, and can affect water tables.
•   land use: where land is scarce, the rate of cremation is higher. Japan’s rate is 99%.

The cremation process
From Darryl Roberts, Profits of Death: An Insider Exposes the Death Care Industries (1997):


                                                                                                   15
“Cardboard or wood caskets and even canvas body bags are most commonly used. The doors to
the retort [cremation chamber] are opened and the body [and container] slid inside. The retort is
heated to about 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Most retorts are fueled by natural gas. Most of the
human body is water, and the balance of bones is composed primarily of calcium phosphate. The
application of the intense heat of the cremation evaporates the water. The flames then incinerate
the muscles, flesh and organs. Most of the bone structure will crumble, but will not be reduced to
ashes.
“The process takes an average of one to two hours, depending on the temperature in the retort,
and the size and condition of the body.
“The smokestack is subject to environmental laws, and emits minimal amounts of residue. When
the process is complete, the mostly grey ashes are removed, any bone fragments are pulverized,
and all placed in a box or urn. The average person yields five to seven pounds of cremains.”
Note: there is no health hazard in dealing with ashes. After 1,500 degrees, they are sterile.

Participating in the process: tips from a Winnipeg funeral director
Some crematories have facilities that allow a service to be held outside a window that gives a
view of the cremation chamber in which the casket is placed. You might at least want someone
to watch the process: criminal charges have been laid in other jurisdictions where the purchased
casket was switched or the body not cremated. Some crematoriums charge extra to have
witnesses, or limit the number of witnesses, or both. If you wish, you can turn the switch to start
the process. You will not see the casket on fire unless you look into the peephole that is usually
provided.

Crematories in Winnipeg – and Manitoba
The list of funeral homes under “Crematories” in the Yellow Pages suggests that there are
about 20 crematories in Winnipeg. In fact, the Public Utilities Board has licensed (under The
Cemeteries Act) eight crematories in or near Winnipeg, and another seven outside Winnipeg:
Beausejour, Brandon, Carman, Dauphin, Selkirk, Swan River, Minnedosa. Every funeral home
has access to one of the crematories and can provide “cremation services”.

What is done with the ashes?
Cremains are usually placed in an urn and buried in a cemetery or placed in a columbarium.
But as time goes by, more alternatives – some of them rather bizarre – have developed:
• scattering in a park, on a golf course or cottage property, or over a river or lake.
•   placing the ashes in a locket or picture frame containing a picture of the deceased.
•   firing the ashes into the air – or even into outer space.
•   using the carbon given off in the cremation to make a diamond.

If ashes are buried, is an urn required by law?
No. But some private cemeteries require that an urn be used and, of course, they sell urns.


                                                                                                 16
Is it legal to scatter remains?
Manitoba law does not prohibit the scattering of human ashes. The Litter Regulation under The
Environment Act of the province and the Anti-Litter By-law of the City of Winnipeg prohibit the
distribution of “ashes”, but the definition of “ashes” in both laws does not include human ashes.
Prohibitions under federal law: the definition of “waste” in the Canada Water Act and of
“deleterious substance” in the Fisheries Act is so broad that it must include cremains – and
therefore scattering is prohibited in waters under federal jurisdiction.
Of course, scattering ashes on any property should be done only with the permission of the
owner of the property – whether it is private property or public property.

3. Earth Burial: Three Choices
Caskets
For most of the 20th century, the first question a funeral director would ask a customer was,
“What kind of casket do you want?” - because almost every funeral involved a casket. Funeral
homes built their profits into the price of the caskets, and still do to some extent. But the
increased rate of cremation is changing that.
One of the biggest factors in the cost of a funeral is a casket, ranging in prices up to about
$20,000.
Darryl Roberts, Profits of Death: An Insider Exposes the Death Care Industries (1997):
“Caskets are big business, and provide the highest profit margin of all the goods and services a
funeral director provides…. There is no casket or vault that will keep out the elements for all
time. There is nothing that can prevent the disintegration of the casket, nor stem the flow of
water into a vault….
Most methods for selling caskets are based on the premise that the average consumer is likely to
purchase in the middle of the price range.
Embalming is chosen by some people for religious or cultural reasons, or because they think
there is no alternative. And some people – including many funeral directors – believe that
mourners overcome their grief more easily when they can see with their own eyes that the
deceased is indeed dead. It is sometimes said that the customs in most areas of the world are to
assist a deceased body to decay. North American practice seems to be to do everything possible
to deny the inevitability of decay.
Darryl Roberts, ,Profits of Death: An Insider Exposes the Death Care Industries (1997):
“The truth is that injecting the body with a formaldehyde solution retards the natural
decomposition by only a few days…. A corpse represents practically no infectious risk. A body
that is dead of a non-communicable disease presents virtually no threat at all…. We’ve seen
embalming become an American institution, while the rest of the world regards it as an
anomaly.”
Jan Wong in “Dying for a Discount” in The Globe and Mail (November 30, 2002):




                                                                                                   17
“Decomposition can start overnight…. The owner of a crematory says, half-jokingly, embalming
is so invasive that everyone should be made to watch a five minute video before signing [to
authorize it].”
Coriolis (an anonymous Toronto funeral director), Death Here Is Thy Sting (1967):
“It is strange that people would entrust the remains of their loved ones to the care of a total
stranger with only the vaguest idea of what he is about to do.”
Jessica Mitford shocked America with her description of the embalming process in The
American Way of Death (1963). This is how she introduced the description in her 1998 update:
“No law requires embalming, no religious doctrine commends it, nor is it dictated by
considerations of health, sanitation, or personal daintiness…. If the funeral men are loath to
discuss the subject, the reader may be equally loath to go on reading at this point. For those who
have the stomach for it, let us part the curtain. Others should skip [from page 45] to the bottom
of page 49.”

Is embalming required by law?
The only Manitoba law relating to embalming is in the Diseases and Dead Bodies Regulation
under The Public Health Act. Section 58 of the Regulation requires that a body be embalmed if it
is to be transported within the province and will not reach its destination within 72 hours.
 But even then, the body does not have to be embalmed if it is shipped in a coffin constructed of
(or lined with) metal or some other impervious material and is airtight – or if the coffin is placed
in “a tightly constructed outer container constructed of (or lined with) metal or other impervious
material and [airtight].
If a body is shipped to a destination outside the province, the laws of the destination apply.

Outer Containers: Liners and Vaults
An outer burial container can be placed in a grave to receive a casket or urn. The container is
intended to protect the contents of the casket or urn, and to keep the ground from settling.
A grave liner is an un-sealed concrete box covering the top and sides of a casket or urn.
A burial vault is a sealed, one piece box made of concrete or metal, surrounding a casket or urn.

Is a liner or vault required by law?
No, but some privately owned cemeteries require them for caskets or urns – or both - at a cost of
anywhere from about $300 to +$20,000.

Cemeteries
There are more than 50 cemeteries in Winnipeg. Many of them are privately owned. The owners
of those cemeteries are free to set their own rules, including a requirement that a casket or an
urn be set in a liner or vault.




                                                                                                  18
Mausoleums: a 4th way to dispose of your body!
A mausoleum is a building used for storing (or “immuring” or “interring”) caskets. It is
sometimes referred to as “above-ground burial”. It is three to 10 times more costly than earth
burial. We are told that a crypt in a private cemetery sells from about $10,000 to $15,000.

Part 5 Funeral Services and Memorial Services
In everyday language, “funeral” includes everything involved in disposing of a corpse. More
technically, a funeral service is a service with the body present, and a memorial service is a
service without the body present, usually because it has been cremated or buried.

Should You Have a Service?
Many people say that they don’t want a service to be held after their death, perhaps forgetting
that a service is for the benefit of those who live on. Your friends and relatives might feel a need
to pay their respects, pay tribute, and share their thoughts and feelings about you.
This is an important subject to discuss with the people who are most likely to arrange your
funeral, because even if you don’t want a service, they could have one anyway. You won’t be
heard to object!
Robert Fulghum, From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives (1995):
       “Martha [planning her own funeral] would have settled for the least expense and trouble:
       immediate cremation, ashes scattered, and no funeral. Her children agreed about
       cremation, but for reasons they found hard to express, they wanted her ashes placed in a
       nearby cemetery, and they wanted a memorial service of some kind…. With her children,
       she purchased a plot in the cemetery. She gave them suggestions about the service….”

Location: Where Are Services Held?


A funeral service (a service with the body present) is usually held in a place of worship or
funeral home, partly because those buildings are equipped for moving a casket in and out of their
premises – and they usually have lots of parking.
Since a memorial service does not involve a casket, the service can be held in a home, hotel,
restaurant, art gallery, pub, park, garden, boat, cemetery, place of worship, funeral home – or
even a golf course. Some golf courses have so many services or scattering of ashes that players
complain about the disruption to their games.

Memorial service – also known as a ”Celebration of Life”
A memorial service can be religious or secular (non-religious). Secular services are becoming
more popular, sometimes led by a person known as a “celebrant” (or “secular officiant” or “non-
denominational funeral officiant”) who can prepare the service and deliver the eulogy. There are
at least two such people in Winnipeg. They can be contacted through a funeral home.
The public library has books on how to conduct a service. For example: Amanda Bennett and
Terence Foley, In Memoriam: A Practical Guide to Planning a Memorial Service (1997).



                                                                                                  19
Part 6: The Costs
According to the Globe and Mail (2005), Canadians spend an average of $7,000 to $10,000 for
a funeral, including a cemetery plot. The cost of a funeral is not tax-deductible.

The Four Types of Costs
A simple fact: the more elaborate the funeral, the more it is likely to cost. The possible costs of a
funeral can be divided into these four parts:
The services of a funeral home – for one of the SIX types of funerals.

1. miscellaneous items (flowers, cars, etc.) – depending on the type of funeral.
2. a grave for the body or ashes.
3. memorial (a flat marker or an upright tombstone) for the grave.
We will now consider each of those types of costs.

Cost #1: the services of a funeral home
Obtaining an itemized price quotation
Funeral homes will usually provide a definite price for the simplest service they provide:
immediate cremation, with no service at the funeral home. But they are reluctant to quote a price
for the other five types of funerals, because the cost depends on what you buy from the many
products and services that funeral homes sell. If you present a funeral plan to a funeral director,
he or she can more easily give you a price for each item you wish to buy – rather than just one
price for the whole thing.

Comparing apples with apples, packages with packages
Funeral directors like to say that people comparing funeral homes should “compare apples with
apples”. But comparing prices isn’t easy, because the price lists are so different. For example:
funeral homes often sell “packages”, with a set price for each package – but the packages vary
from home to home. The law should require (as in the U.S.) prices to be listed for each item,
and the list posted.
Prices for “packages” sometimes include a “non-declinable” fee for certain items. For instance,
you might be asked to pay up to $200 for stationery (including a book for people to sign at the
funeral, and thank you notes) – even though you don’t want it or use it, and even though you
might be able to pay much less elsewhere.

Starting prices for the services of a funeral home
There are at least SIX basic types of funerals. Generally speaking, the first one in the following
list is the least expensive, and the last one is the most expensive. But it depends on what you
buy!
Reminder: the average cost of a funeral in Winnipeg is estimated to be from $5,000 to $10,000.




                                                                                                   20
Cremation: three choices
1. Immediate cremation (or “direct cremation” or “direct disposal”), with no service at the
   funeral home. This is usually the simplest and least expensive choice — if one buys only the
   basics covered by the fee. Advertised prices range from $650 to about $2,400.
2. Immediate cremation, followed by a memorial service at the funeral home: starting prices
   range from about $1,500 to $3,000.
3. A funeral service (with the body present in a casket) followed by cremation: starting prices
   range from about $3,000 to $4,500. This can be the most expensive choice, partly because it
   includes the cost of both a casket and cremation. A casket can be purchased (and cremated
   with the body) or rented. The rental charge can be as much as $1,000 — more than the
   purchase price of some caskets.




                                                                                              21
Earth Burial: three choices
Starting prices for all of the following range from about $2,000 to $5,000.

4. Immediate earth burial (or “direct burial” or “direct disposal”), with a graveside service. We
   are told that this kind of funeral is quite rare, except in movies.
5. Immediate earth burial, followed by a memorial service at the funeral home.
6. #6: A “traditional” funeral service at a funeral home, with the embalmed body present in a
   casket, followed by earth burial.

Itemized price lists
As to price lists, about the best that any funeral home in Winnipeg does is provide a pamphlet
that outlines their packages of services, and the price for each package.
In the U.S. a federal law requires funeral homes to post and provide an itemized price list of
services and merchandise before a potential customer buys anything. There is no such law in
Canada – but since it’s only a matter of time until such laws are passed, why don’t the funeral
homes don’t do it now?

Funeral Homes: prices for the simplest service they provide
“Immediate Cremation, No Service (at the funeral home)”
This page is about a cremation arranged by a funeral home – but without a service at the funeral
home.
We are told that the total time required for a funeral home to provide this service is about three
hours, and consists mostly of the home filling in standard forms – and waiting for a doctor to
sign the Death Certificate and for someone to sign an “Authorization to Cremate”.

Less than $1,200
Most of the “independent” funeral homes listed charge less than $1,200. The advertised price by a few
of them is less than $700.
From $1,200 to $2,400 – or even more.
The prices of other funeral homes range from about $1,200 to $2,400. If a fancier casket than the
usual simple container is used in the cremation, the cost can increase by thousands of dollars.

What does the price cover?
•   The fee for the actual cremation.
•   A cardboard container, which is cremated with the body.
•   Transportation (also called “transfer”) of the body from the place of death to the crematory.
•   A cardboard or plastic container in which the cremated remains are returned.
•   Three or four “Statements of Death”, which are accepted as proof of death for most purposes.



                                                                                                  22
The above prices do NOT include GST, help in writing an obituary, an urn, or disposal of the
ashes.

Buyer beware – of “Upselling”
Some funeral directors caution us that a low price might be used only to attract business, and
with the expectation that a customer is likely to buy more than what the low price covers.

Prices can change at any time – and are usually negotiable
You will find addresses, telephone numbers and advertisements in the Yellow Pages under “Funeral
Directors”.
Cost #2: various items – depending on the type of funeral
Publishing a death notice/obituary
The cost depends on how long it is, whether it includes a picture, and the day of publication:
•   Winnipeg Free Press: about $6 per line, $6.50 on Saturday; picture: $90, $95 on Saturday + tax.
•   Winnipeg Sun: prices for every day are about $2.00 per line, and $25 for each picture + tax.

Costs relating to a service
•   Flowers
•   Fees of clergy ($100 to $150) and musicians ($75 to $100 each).
•   Catering: anywhere from $1 to $10 per person.
•   Use of premises: there is usually a fee for the use of premises for a service or reception.
•   Stationery: a register for attendees to sign, “order of service” cards, thank you cards, and so on.

Death certificates (proof of death)
There are two types of certificates:
• Funeral Director’s Death Certificate: this can be used as a proof of death for most purposes except
   the Land Titles Office and large insurance claims. Funeral directors usually provide three or four of
   these certificates as part of their service fee.
•   Department of Vital Statistics (Province of Manitoba): $25 each.

Urns: from wicker baskets to stuffed animals
An urn is not required by law. Cremains can be simply poured into the ground or buried in a $5
wicker basket or a cookie jar – unless the rules of the cemetery don’t allow it. Urns sold by
funeral homes range from about $200 to +$3,000. Bill Belcher (retired) makes wooden
containers that can be used as urns for under $50 (call 256-0045). A recent (and odd) innovation:
Huggable Urns (U.S.) sells pillows and stuffed animals, each with a pouch for cremains: about
$100.




                                                                                                  23
Earth burial: miscellaneious costs
•   A casket is often the largest expense. Prices range from about $1,000 to +$15,000. The top price at
    discounters LeClaire Brothers (603 Erin Street, just off Portage Avenue) is under $4,000.
•   Clothing for the deceased can be bought, but there is probably something in the closet that will do.
•   A limousine or hearse (or both): the cost might be included in a funeral home’s “package” fee.

Cost #3: a grave for the body or ashes
A good place to obtain prices for a grave — if only to compare with other cemeteries — is the
Cemeteries Branch of the City of Winnipeg, which operates three cemeteries: Brookside
Cemetery (since 1878), Transcona Cemetery (since 1914), and St. Vital Cemetery (since 1937).
Those cemeteries average about 1,000 burials every year — 80% of them at Brookside. The
office is located at Brookside Cemetery, 3001 Notre Dame Ave. Telephone 986-4348 for a price
list – and a map of the grounds. Several sites have plaques about some famous residents.

Prices in the three cemeteries operated by the City

About 75% of the City’s graves are purchased “at need”, and 25% “pre-need”. Prices are set by
city council in a by-law. You can obtain a price list by calling 986-4348 or by going to the office
at Brookside Cemetery, or by searching the website of the City of Winnipeg. Here are sample
prices (tax NOT included):
•   To deposit ashes with those of others in the only sub-surface ash crypt in Winnipeg: $220.
•   Grave of 4’ x 10’ for 1 casket and 3 cremains, or no casket and 4 cremains: about $1,200.
•   A “single marker cremains lot” (2’ by 2’) allowing for 2 cremains and 1 marker: about $600.
•   A “family cremains plot” allows for 4 cremains: about $1,000.
•   A niche in a columbarium: about $2,100 plus interment fee of about $225 = about $2,300.
Interment fees are about $225 for niches, and from about $300 to $700 for caskets.
Perpetual care: the City’s prices include a 25% addition for future maintenance of the cemetery
– a charge that some cemeteries don’t mention in their quoted prices, but that must (by law) be
charged.
Refunds: if a grave is purchased but not used, the purchase price (less 10%) is refundable — or
the plot can be sold privately. You will see the occasional offer to sell in the classified ads. We
are told that it is so difficult to sell a plot privately that some people give them away.

Grave Liners and Burial Vaults
At the City of Winnipeg’s cemeteries, a concrete liner is about $900. A fiberflass vault is about
$1500. There is also an installation fee of $200. Elsewhere, prices for a vault for an urn range
from $150 to +$1,500. For a casket, the range is about $700 to +$20,000.




                                                                                                      24
Cost #4: a memorial for the grave
Starting price for flat grave markers (in brass or marble) is about $400, and for upright
tombstones about $700. As with caskets, the sky’s the limit. See about 20 Winnipeg companies
under “Memorials” in the Yellow Pages. There will also be an installation charge at the
cemetery.

How Are Funerals Paid For?
Answer: usually from the estate of the deceased.
If the estate does not have enough assets to cover the costs of the funeral, any person who signs a
contract with a funeral home – or with anyone providing a service relating to the funeral – will
likely have to pay some or all of the cost out of his or her own pocket.

Benefit programs
Benefits under the following programs are not automatic. Someone (usually the person named as
executor in the deceased’s will) must apply for them.
1. Canada Pension Plan: it pays a maximum of about $2500 as a death benefit – if the
   deceased ever contributed to the Plan. About 20% of eligible people do not apply for this
   benefit. There is no deadline for application. Call 1-800-277-9914 or search the CPP on the
   internet. This payment, like every other payment under the CPP, is taxable income.
2. Employment and Income Assistance Program (government of Manitoba): If a person dies
   while receiving income assistance (sometimes called “welfare”), an amount might be
   payable. An agreement with the Manitoba Funeral Services Association sets out the products
   and amounts payable. Call General Information Line: 945-4437 (Winnipeg) or 1-877-812-
   0014 (outside Winnipeg).
3. The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (government of Canada) — referred to as
   INAC or DIAN: assistance might be payable if the deceased has status under the Indian
   Affairs Act and is receiving income assistance at the time of death. INAC describes it as a
   program of “last resort”, which means that payment will be made only if no other funds are
   available. An agreement with the Manitoba Funeral Services Association sets out the
   products and amounts payable. Call 983-2842.
4. The Last Post Fund pays the funeral costs for a veteran – if the assets of the veteran’s estate,
   less the funeral costs and other debts, amount to less than $12,000. For information, call 233-
   3073.
5. Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation (Autopac): the maximum amount payable for
   funeral costs when death results from a traffic accident is about $6,500. Call 985-7200.
6. The Victims’ Bill of Rights Act (Manitoba): when a person dies as a result of a criminal act,
   about $4,000 might be payable. Call 945-0899 or 1-800-262-9344.
7. Workers Compensation: when death occurs on the job, there is an immediate cash payment
   of about $6,000 and a later lump sum of at least $33,600. Call 945-4321 or 1-800-362-3340.




                                                                                                25
Should You Pre-pay?
Everyone agrees that pre-planning is a good idea. There is less agreement about pre-paying. The
opposing opinions are illustrated by these headlines:
       Winnipeg Sun (February 18, 1996):      “Pre-paid funerals called rip-off”.
       Winnipeg Free Press (July 22, 2002): “Pre-pay funeral, rest in peace”.

Two ways to pre-pay
After you plan your funeral with a funeral home, and the home tells you what the funeral will
cost, you can pre-pay the cost in one of two ways:
•   Buy a pre-arranged funeral plan with one payment, or many payments over time. At least 88% of
    payments are required under The Prearranged Funeral Services Act to be placed in trust until the
    contract is cancelled or the person dies. The other 12% may be retained by the company – but some
    companies place 100% in trust. As of 2003, about $40 million are in trust under about 15,000
    contracts in Manitoba. The Public Utilities Board (government of Manitoba) licenses companies to
    sell these plans, audits the trust accounts, and handles any complaints.
    The Board does NOT set, regulate or approve the prices
•   Buy an insurance policy for an amount that will cover the quoted cost of the funeral, and name the
    funeral home as beneficiary. The policy cannot be sold to you by a funeral director unless he or she
    is licensed as an insurance agent by the Insurance Council (988-6800). For information on this type
    of policy, call the Canadian Life and Health Association: 1-800-268-8099. This approach is now
    more popular than the one mentioned above. The Pre-arranged Funeral Act does not apply.

Some questions to ask about a pre-paid funeral plan
•   Ask to see the seller’s licence. Make a note of the name and date on the licence.
•   Coverage: how many of the four types of costs are covered? Is it just the funeral service? Or just
    cemetery costs (a grave, and a flat marker or upright tombstone)? Or is it everything?
•   Purchase money: in the case of a pre-paid plan, how much of the purchase money will be placed in
    trust (the required 88% — or more)? Where will the money be placed (name of bank or trust
    company)? Will you receive reports? If so, how often — and what will be in them?
•   Cancellation: can the plan be cancelled at any time? How? Will there be a refund? If so, how much?
•   Transfer: if you move, can the plan be transferred to another province or country?
•   The named funeral home: are your survivors required to use the funeral home named in the pre-
    payment documents? What happens if the funeral home goes out of business?
•   Can you change the plan? If so, how? Do you have to cancel the contract and start over?




                                                                                                26
Pre-paying for a grave — and selling an unused grave
You can buy a plot in a municipal cemetery or private cemetery at any time, but the sale is final
and there is likely no cancellation provision or refund. If you buy and later decide to sell, you can
advertise, but plots are difficult to sell. The number of sold and unused plots is a problem in
some cemeteries. Why are plots not used? People move, or forget about the purchase, or leave no
record of it.
Under The Cemeteries Act, the Public Utilities Board approves the prices of cemetery plots in
cemeteries that are operated by businesses for profit. But the PUB does not set or regulate the
prices for cemetery plots, goods and services. A Regulation under the Act requires that at least
35% of the purchase price of a plot be placed in trust for “perpetual care” of the plot.

Pre-paying for a marker or tombstone
You can buy a flat marker or upright tombstone any time. Of course, the sale (inscription and all)
is final.

Arguments for and against Pre-paying
FOR: If you buy now, before prices rise, you will freeze today’s prices. AGAINST: If the
funeral you want is moderately priced (under about $5,000) any price increase could be small,
given the competitive environment in Winnipeg. Prices might even go down with changes in the
funeral industry – such as through internet shopping and competition from more crematories
FOR: If you make the decisions now, you and your family will have peace of mind.
AGAINST: That is a good reason to pre-plan, but not necessarily to pre-pay. If you pre-pay, you
might be less inclined to change your pre-paid plan later, because changing a funeral plan is
easy, while changing a pre-paid contract is more complicated. Rather than pre-paying, it can be
just as convenient to save the cost of your funeral in a bank account, bond or whatever.
FOR: If you buy now, you can choose the funeral home you want. AGAINST: When your time
comes, that funeral home might not be around. It could be out of business, or purchased by a
corporation – and even corporations go out of business. The people who arrange your funeral
might feel obligated to use any home you choose, even if there are good reasons to go elsewhere.
FOR: If you pre-pay, you control the amount that will be spent on your funeral.
AGAINST: If the people who arrange your funeral decide to do something different than what
you have planned - such as if they decide (perhaps with encouragement from the funeral home)
to buy a more expensive funeral – that is the funeral you will have, and any additional costs that
are “reasonable” can be charged to your estate. It’s sometimes called “pay now – pay later” – and
adding insult to injury. The best way to control the cost of your funeral is to make a funeral
plan, set a price limit, and make sure that your next of kin (and any other people who are likely
to be involved in carrying out your plan) agree to follow your plan.
FOR: When you buy a pre-paid plan, the money goes into trust; you do not receive the interest,
so you don’t have to pay taxes on the interest. If you put that money into a bond or GIC, the
interest is paid to you — and you must pay tax on it. AGAINST: When interest is paid to you, it
is indeed taxed — but the rest of the money is yours. The interest on the money in a pre-paid
plan goes to the funeral director!



                                                                                                  27
More Information on Funeral Planning
The Public Library has many good books on this subject, here listed from newest to oldest:

•   Doug Smith, Big Death: Funeral Planning in the Age of Corporate Deathcare (2007): a description
    of the current funeral industry – and advice on planning - by a Winnipeg writer.
•   Katherine Ashenburg, The Mourner’s Dance: What We Do When People Die (2002). The author
    considers how people have dealt with death, historically and currently.
•   Ernest Morgan, Dealing Creatively with Death: A Manual of Death Education and Simple Burial
    (14th edition, revised and updated, 2001, 160 pages): with 14 editions since 1962, Morgan must be
    doing something right.
•   Abdullah Fatteh, At Journey’s End: The Complete Guide to Funerals and Funeral Planning (1999,
    338 pages). The author lives in Florida. He is a lawyer, doctor, teacher, coroner and author. His book
    is both an overview of the subject, and a practical guide to arranging a funeral.
•   Lisa Carlson, Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love – (1998, 640 pages). It’s described as “A
    complete guide for those making funeral arrangements with or without a funeral director.” It’s big,
    but most Canadian readers will be interested in just the first 175 pages. The rest is a state-by-state
    review.
•   Jessica Mitford (1917-1996), The American Way of Death, Revisited (1998, 274 pages). This is a
    revised edition of her exposé of the funeral industry in The American Way of Death (1963), which
    inspired many changes in the industry and U.S. law. The 1998 edition reviews all that. Her
    philosophy: “You might not be able to change the world, but you can embarrass the guilty.”
•   Darryl Roberts, Profits of Death: An Insider Exposes the Death Care Industries (1997, 229 pages).
    The author was president of a “funeral corporation” for 20 years. This is an easy and interesting
    read.
•   Xavier Cronin, Grave Exodus: Tending To Our Dead in the 21st Century (1996, 254 pages). This is
    an insider’s interesting overview of the funeral industry’s past, present and future.
•   Robert Fulghum, From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives (1995, 273 pages). This
    enjoyable book is an easy read, filled with practical advice and interesting anecdotes.
•   Gregory Young, The High Cost of Dying: A Guide to Funeral Planning (1994, 110 pages). It’s a
    thin book, but packed with lots of useful information. He once owned a chain of funeral homes.
•   Kenneth Iverson, Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies (1994, 650 pages!). The Texas
    doctor covers every imaginable topic relating to death, in an amusing and instructive way.

The web has lots of information.
For example: “Funeral Consumers Alliance” (formerly named Funeral and Memorial Societies
of America) has lots of information, and links to other websites, and “Funerals and ripoffs”,
despite its frantic style.

Consumer Tips from Books and Articles
1. First and most importantly, prepare a funeral plan!


                                                                                                28
2. Your memorial: consider how you want to be remembered. By having a big funeral and
   tombstone? By giving to family and friends? By donating to charitable organizations? Or?
3. Discuss your funeral plan with the people who are most likely to arrange your funeral.

     Even if you pay for your funeral now, the people who arrange it can change it when the time
     comes, and any additional fees that are “reasonable” can be charged to your estate. It is
     therefore a good idea to try to obtain their agreement to follow your plan.
4. Go shopping! A wise consumer obtains at least three quotations before buying an expensive
   item. Funeral homes sell products that can be very expensive. Take your funeral plan - and a
   friend or two!
5.   Remember: a funeral home is a business, and funeral directors sell goods and services.
6. Don’t be shy about calling a funeral home for an appointment. Funeral directors are used to
   meeting people to discuss their funeral plans, and providing price quotations. Ask for a tour!
7. Be ready to ask questions! It’s the consumer’s best protection.
8. Prices are almost always negotiable. In some ways, it’s like shopping for a car.
9. A low price can become expensive! Some funeral homes quote low prices only to attract
   customers, and then pressure the customers to buy more than what the low price covers
   (called “upselling”).
10. Buying items (including caskets) separately is usually less expensive than buying everything
    at one funeral home. But it usually takes more time, unless there are people to share the
    work.
11. Caskets and vaults: buying either or both of them is not like buying a car or television: when
    the casket and vault are buried, they are gone forever. If you buy a casket, consider buying
    from a “casket discounter”. Winnipeg has one: LeClaire Brothers at 603 Erin St. at Portage
    Ave.
12. Cemeteries: if your funeral plan includes burial of your body or ashes in a cemetery, go to
    two or three cemeteries (and at least one owned by a municipal government) for price
    quotations and a list of their requirements on such things as liners, vaults, markers and
    tombstones.
13. Start your “obit”, if only to make it easier for someone to finish it when it’s needed. If you
    want a picture to go with your published obituary, pick one (some obits have two).
If someone dies unexpectedly and there is no funeral plan, one approach to planning is for the
family to sit down and put together a funeral plan – perhaps using the document “My Funeral
Plan”. One or two people who are not part of the immediate family (such as a daughter-in-law or
a friend of the family) can then take the plan to two or three funeral homes to obtain information
and price quotations.




                                                                                                     29
Index

Aboriginal Funeral Chapel, 11    container, 7
Administration, Board of, 12     containers, 19
alternate container, 7           corneal donations, 15
anatomical studies, 14           corpse, 13
Anti-Litter By-law, 17           cost, 21, 22
Arbor Memorial Service, 11       costs, 20, 23, 24, 25
articles, 29                     Coutu, Edward & Co, 11
Ashenburg, Katherine, 28         cremains, 7, 17
ashes, 6, 7, 17                  cremation, 6, 7, 21, 22, , ,
association, 13                  crematories, 16
at need, 7                       crematorium, 7
Bardal Funeral Home, 11          crematory, 7
Bardal, Neil Inc., 11            Cronin, Xavier, 13, See
Barringer Funeral Services, 11   death certificate, 23
Basic Cremation Service, 12      death notice, 23
benefit programs, 25             decomposition, 7
Bennett, Amanda, 20              dig up, 7
Birchwood Funeral Chapel, 12     Dignity Memorial, 11
Board of Administration, 12      Diseases and Dead Bodies Regulation, 18
body, 6                          dispose of body, 14
body bag, 16                     do it yourself, 13
body removal, 14                 documents, 5
body snatching, 7                donate body, 14
body transfer, 14                donation, 15
books, 13, 28, 29                earth burial, 6, 8, 17, 22, 24
Brookside Cemetery, 15, 24       Embalmers and Funeral Directors Act, 12,
budget, 6                           13
burial, 6                        Embalmers and Funeral Directors General
Canada Pension Plan. See            Regulation, 13
Canada Water Act, 17             embalming, 8, 17
Carlson, Lisa, 9, 14, 28         Employment and Income Assistance
casket, 7, 13, 16,                  Program, 25
Cemeteries Act, 27               Environment Act, 17
cemteries, 19                    environmental laws, 16
certificate, 23                  Eternally Serene Casket, 12
City of Winnipeg, 24             Fatteh, Abdullah, 28
closed casket, 8                 fill in, 7
closures, 12                     Fisheries Act, 17
coffin, 7                        Foley, Terrence, 20
columbarium, 7, 17               Fulghum, Robert, 28
complaints, 12                   funeral, 6
consumers, 9                        pre-paid, 11
container, 7                     funeral director, 9


                                                                        30
funeral directors, 9                        Prearranged Funeral Services Act, 26
funeral home, 8                             pre-need, 7
funeral parlour, 7                          pre-paid funeral, 11
funeral service, 19, 20                     pre-payment, 26, 27
grave, 7, 20, 24, 25                        pre-planning, 26
grave liners, 24                            price, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
home funeral, 8                             prices quotation, 21
independents, 11                            proof of death, 23
Indian and Northern Affairs, 25             Public Health Act, 18
inurn, 7                                    quotation, 21
Iverson, Kenneth, 29                        Registration of Death, 14
Kerr, 12                                    Regulation, 13
Korban Funeral Chapel, 11                   remove body, 7
Last Post Fund, 25                          Roberts, 16
law, 13, 18                                 Roberts, Darryl, 9, 16, 17, 18, 28
laws, 12                                    Robertson, Heather, 9
lawyer, 5                                   scatter, 17
lay funeral director, 13                    service, 6, 19
Leatherdale Gardiner, 12                    shipping, 18
LeClaire Brothers, 11                       Smith, Doug, 13, 28
licences, 12                                the D, 16
license, 12                                 tissue donations, 15
liners, 19, 24                              tombstone, 27
Litter Regulation, 17                       traditional funeral, 8
lot, 7                                      Transcona Funeral Chapel, 11
Manitoba Funeral Services Association, 13   transfer, 7
Manitoba Public Insurance, 25               transplant, 15
marker, 27                                  upselling, 23
mausoleums, 19                              urn, 7, 17, 23
Medical Certificate of Death, 14            vault, 24
memorial, 20, 25                            vaults, 19
memorial service, 6, 19, 20                 Victim's Bill of Rights. See
minimum container, 7                        viewing, 8
minium container, 7                         visitation, 8
miscellaneous items, 20                     Vital Statistics, 14
Mitford, Jessica, 9, 18, 28                 Vital Statistics Act, 13, 14
Morgan, Ernest, 14, 28                      vocabulary, 7
Mosaic Funeral Services, 11                 Voyage Funeral Home, 11
niche, 7                                    web, 29
obituary, 23                                Wheeler Funeral Chapel, 11
organ donations, 15                         Winnipeg
P. Coutu, 12                                   cost of dying, 10
pay, 26                                        funeral homes, 10
paying for funeral, 25                         independent, 11
plot, 7                                        recent closures, 11
prayers, 8                                  Winnipeg First Call, 14



                                                                                   31
Winnipeg Funeral Transfer Service, 14   Workers Compensation, 25
Wojcik’s Funeral Chapel, 11             Young, Gregory, 28
Wong, Jan, 18




                                                                   32

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Description: FUNERAL