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Old 09-30-2020, 02:19 PM   #1
MoneyGuy
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Default Pre-paying funerals

My father-in-lawís funeral was pre-paid and held a couple of weeks ago. Finally! My wife wants us to pre-pay our funerals and related costs but these are my concerns. (Both of us want to be cremated; her dad was cremated.)

- What if we pre-pay and (although unlikely) we move to another city or province? What if the funeral home is not located where we live?
- What if we change our minds about cremation? That may not be an issue as pre-payment can likely likely be applied to any service type.
- One of the reasons for pre-payment is to remove the financial worry from a spouse or children. Money will not be an issue for us.
- What if the funeral homes goes out of business? Iím guessing that your money is held in secure trust which should protect your funds.

I want my funeral to be simple and low cost. Iíd love for my ashes to be used to fertilize a tree or made into something like a memorial bench. What are peopleís thoughts on funeral pre-payment?
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:21 PM   #2
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I didn't know this was a thing. Why would someone do this? Just take the money and put it in some sort of money-generating account, then leave a note in your will that there's an account with money set aside to pay for the funeral. This sounds like a way for the funeral home to get an interest-free loan from you for decades.
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:23 PM   #3
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Why is the MoneyGuy asking this?
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:29 PM   #4
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That’s how I got to be the MoneyGuy.

To CHL and anyone else with the same question, an advantage of pre-payment is that it locks in that service for that cost. For example, if you buy a funeral package for, say, $8,000, that cost cannot rise as the cost of that package goes up. I’m against pre-payment for the reason you mentioned. I say set the money aside so you’ll have it when the time comes. Pre-payment might be useful for people who will blow it and then they struggle to pay for their funeral.
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:43 PM   #5
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The only way that would be advantageous is if the industry has really high annual inflation, so one year the cost would be $8K, next year is $9K, etc so you could lock in a low price now. To my knowledge that isn't the case. My concern would be the same as yours - what happens if the business goes under.

Safer bet to stash some money in a high interest savings account (ie. TFSA) and let it sit there earning income
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:45 PM   #6
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Can you pre-pay for an ice floe?
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:46 PM   #7
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I know my in laws pre paid w/ plots when they were in Ontario decades ago. When they moved out to Calgary they were able to transfer things over to Calgary. I don't know if there is some sort of funeral home network that allows this or if there is additional cost, but apparently it happens. The feeling I got is that it was a rather simple process.
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyGuy View Post
Thatís how I got to be the MoneyGuy.

To CHL and anyone else with the same question, an advantage of pre-payment is that it locks in that service for that cost. For example, if you buy a funeral package for, say, $8,000, that cost cannot rise as the cost of that package goes up. Iím against pre-payment for the reason you mentioned. I say set the money aside so youíll have it when the time comes. Pre-payment might be useful for people who will blow it and then they struggle to pay for their funeral.
I wouldn't do it simply because I'd always wonder what would be the effect of the funeral company I paid going out of business before I die?
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:52 PM   #9
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https://afsrb.ab.ca/document/5312/Brochure.pdf

The independent approach to prearrangement

Quote:
You may want to make plans and arrange for payment for your own funeral, without paying money in advance to a funeral home. If so, please refer to the center pull-out section, “Personal Instructions Concerning My Funeral”, and follow these steps:

1. Once you know what you want, set aside the necessary funds in a bank or trust account. (Another option is to purchase an appropriate life insurance policy. Ask your agent.)

2. If you have specific wishes about what is to be done with your body, write them out and discuss with family members and your executor. This can be important if some family members are opposed to the arrangements you want.

3. If there is an objection to your plan and you feel strongly about your wishes , prepare specific instructions and have them written in your Will. Tell your family or personal representative (executor) that your funeral instructions are in the Will, since a Will is not usually read until after the funeral.

4. If your family agrees to your plans, simply write out your preference in a letter of instruction. Describe the type of service you want, and whether you would prefer burial or cremation. Also give any pertinent personal information.

5. Prepare a Will and financial record and advise where you keep it in your letter of instruction. Tell a family member or friend that a letter of instruction has been prepared. Keep this letter, and other important papers where they can be easily located by survivors at the time of death.

The Alberta Funeral Service Association, a non-profit, voluntary organization of Alberta funeral homes, provides information and brochures about funeral arrangements, cost, traditions and organ donations.
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Old 09-30-2020, 02:55 PM   #10
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I know several people who pre paid and then the funeral home added a bunch of bs charges after the fact. One guy was charged 750 extra in carbon tax on his cremation. There are no refunds either...covid related or otherwise. I've had first hand experience with it too. It really sucks. I think funeral homes are scummy and would never pre pay for anything. I think people get kind of wrapped up in taking care of their kids financially while they're alive. And pre paid funerals are sold as benefits for your kids. Whether money is an issue or not, I wouldn't do it. They're not doing it as a favour to you. Just leave a fund aside in your will.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:10 PM   #11
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Geez, you know you've run out of things to buy when...

Honestly, if you have money burning in a hole in your pocket just gift some to your kids (or neices/nephews if you don't have kids). This is an egregious waste of money when your loved ones could probably use it for more important things in the present. Pay a couple months of your kids' mortgages. Top up the grandkids' RESPs. Buy an RV for the family to all share. Top up your kids' RRSPs or TFSAs. All of those would be appreciated so much.

If you had some sort of terminal disease and wanted to wrap things up as best you can, then sure, but if you're just a normal dude in his 60s going about his life, there are way better things you could do with the money.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:12 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by undercoverbrother View Post
Can you pre-pay for an ice floe?
It might all be melted by then
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:12 PM   #13
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BTW, it's nice of you to consider your family in the future and not want to saddle them with your funeral expenses, but having wrapped up two end of life things now (my brother and my dad), I have to say, if your estate is of average value a funeral isn't a big deal financially and won't be a burden when the time comes. Let them pay that out of the estate and in the meantime, help them out if you can.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:13 PM   #14
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Seems to me it's buying early as a hedge against funeral costs increasing more than other things down the line.

The mentioned downsides about locking in seem outweigh the benefit IMO, I'd go the route of setting up a trust.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:19 PM   #15
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Ok, family, here's the deal. I'll dig a trench in my back yard now, and when I'm dead, all you have to do is roll me in and put some clay on top. There is lots around, trust me. You can plant a tree if you'd like, too. I'll get a gift card for Golden Acres.

There, done.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:23 PM   #16
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Even if you wanted no funeral and no burial, there are unavoidable costs with cremation. For my father last year we had to purchase a "cremation container" by law, and then select an urn. Also necessary, transfer from place of death, Alberta government permits, death certificates, provincial registrations and the cremation fee.

https://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Regs/1998_248.pdf
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:31 PM   #17
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Out of (morbid, I suppose) curiosity, how much did that all end up running? I.e., what's the least expensive way to do it?

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Old 09-30-2020, 03:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CorsiHockeyLeague View Post
Out of (morbid, I suppose) curiosity, how much did that all end up running? I.e., what's the least expensive way to do it?

{INSERT BIG LEBOWSKI CLIP HERE}
You can basically spend anything you want. My dad was cremated so buying an ornate casket seemed really wasteful. We literally went with a cardboard box since they're just sliding it into the oven, anyway. For the urn, we went with some opaque plexi-glass thing, which was very cheap, too. I know you asked for the costs and unfortunately I don't remember, but they were very inexpensive. Like under a few hundred for both items. It's not an urn you would put on your mantel; rather, just one you would use to transport the ashes from the funeral home to wherever you were going to spread them.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:55 PM   #19
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Ok, well if it's a few hundred bucks at minimum then the difference doesn't matter much.

Although a few hundred bucks for a cardboard box and a plexiglass urn still seems like a rip off.
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Old 09-30-2020, 03:56 PM   #20
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You know, another thing that could be a pain for your family about pre-paying is they're going to want to deal with a funeral home that is convenient to them. They'll have to fata around there a few times over the ordeal and if your agreement is with a place that's a PITA for them, that would kind of suck.
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