As of 2020 the cremation rate in Canada was at an all-time high of 73% (Statista 2020), and it will likely continue to rise as families seek an affordable final arrangement for their lost loved-ones. Add to this the impact of the COVID pandemic, the fact that more people are faced with having to make funeral arrangements as a result, and that people don’t want to financially burden surviving family with funeral costs, and it’s easy to see why setting up a simple cremation plan can be advantageous.
This guide will explore some of the pros and cons of setting up a simple cremation plan. We will look at why you might want to plan ahead, how much a simple cremation plan will likely cost, how you can pay for a plan, and cover some other key points.
What should an affordable cremation plan cost?
The cost of a cremation plan will depend on two main components, what services and products you select, and the service provider you chose. Prices for a cremation service can differ greatly, but the cheapest direct cremation plan is the simplest and most affordable cremation plan. A prearrangement cremation plan will likely cost anywhere between $1,295 and $3,000. It is important to point out that a pre-need cremation plan will cost more than an at-need direct cremation as the cremation provider will have to factor in inflation to his direct cremation costs. The DFS Memorials network of affordable cremation providers offers at-need direct cremation services from $845 to $2,100. It can be helpful to plan ahead by simply knowing who your local low-cost cremation provider is, and what price their direct cremation package is.
Why Plan Ahead?
Firstly, preplanning your final arrangements can save your family and friends from having to make difficult decisions at an already difficult time. It gives you time to make the right decisions for you, as well as giving your family peace of mind when the time comes.
It is, however, important to discuss your wish to pre-plan with your family members or friends, and in particular, the person in charge of handling your affairs (estate trustee). This will ensure they know how to carry out the plan and whether you have pre-paid.
Another reason to plan ahead and set up a simple cremation plan is that you can do it from the comfort of your own home as many cremation service providers now have online arrangement tools on their website where you can enter the required information to set up a cremation plan. This makes the whole process much more convenient, however you can still visit a funeral service provider if you prefer to do so.
What is a simple cremation plan?
A simple cremation plan is essentially a contract that will include:
- the name of the person who is paying for the contract
- the name of the person for whom the services or supplies will be provided
- the name of the company you are dealing with (the provider)
- the services and supplies you have chosen
- the contract terms, including your right to cancel
- a description of any commission or benefits that your provider is receiving for recommending certain supplies or services to you
- any taxes to be paid
For interment or scattering rights, it must include either:
- a description of the location of the grave, crypt or niche for interment, or
- the location where you may scatter cremated human remains
Can you preplan your final arrangements without prepaying?
Yes, you can preplan your final arrangements without prepaying. Most cremation service providers will keep a record of your plans without cost. To do so you will need to set out your cremation wishes, sign the required legal documents, and ensure your family and a cremation service are aware of you plans. When the time comes all your family will have to do is contact the cremation service provider with whom you filed your cremation plan. However, if you wish to set aside funds there are two main ways to do so, and we will cover these below.
The most important document to pre-sign is the ‘Cremation Authorization’. A cremation cannot proceed without this important legal document correctly completed. If you have not completed and pre-signed to authorize your cremation, your legal next of kin must sign this.
If there are multiple siblings (or complications such as divorce and ‘blended’ families), getting all the legal signatures required can be difficult. And this has often prevented a cremation from going ahead when it was the individual’s wish.
Prepaying a simple cremation plan: how to prepay?
If you decide to prepay, there are two main ways to do so:
- you can pay your service provider and have the money held “in trust” by a bank, trust company or independent trustee (it will earn income over the years until it is needed, which will be used to offset any increase in the cost for your arrangements)
- you can buy insurance from an insurance company (your service provider may have an insurance program in place)
To ensure your money is held safely your service provider must give you a contract that states the total amount of money you have paid and the terms of payment for any balance you owe. If you prepay with a licensed funeral home or transfer service, your money is protected by the Prepaid Funeral Services Compensation Fund administered by the Board of Funeral Services (this fund is used to give back money to consumers if, in rare cases, their prepaid money is not available when it is needed).
If you place money in trust for prepaid services or supplies, your service provider is required by law to only have it in very safe investments (you are entitled to ask your service provider once each year where and how the money is invested and how much money you have in your trust account).
If, on the other hand, you buy an insurance policy to fund a contract and pay the insurance company directly, your money is protected under the Insurance Act. There are inspections from time-to-time to make sure that service providers comply with the law.
Hopefully this has helped you understand more about setting up a simple cremation plan and what is involved in doing so. If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact us.