What To Do When Death Occurs
There are competent and understanding people answering our telephones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Regardless of when and where a death occurs, if you are requesting our services, we encourage you to call at any time, day or night. The only information you need to provide us with is the name of the deceased, the location of the deceased and the name, relationship and phone number of the person who will be responsible for making the funeral arrangements. We will arrange immediately for the deceased to be transferred into our care.
Why have a tribute (eulogy)?
Tributes offer family and friends a glimpse of the life and character of the deceased. Tributes help personalize the funeral by stating the qualities of the deceased and reaffirming the significance their life meant to the survivors.
What is a Funeral Directors Statement Of Death?
It is a document which is generated by the funeral home. It states the name of the deceased, date of birth, date of death, place of death, age, gender and usual residence. It does not state the cause of death or next of kin. Funeral Directors Statements Of Death are necessary for: small insurance claims, small investments, certain title transfers, Canada Pension Plan applications, Bank Accounts, etc. A Funeral Directors Statement Of Death has a limited use whereas an Official Death Certificate available from the provincial government does not.
What is an Official Death Certificate and where do I obtain one?
An Official Death Certificate is produced by the provincial government. It states the name of the deceased, date of death, place of death, age, gender and usual residence. It does not state the cause of death or next of kin. Official Death Certificates are necessary for: large insurance claims, large investments, certain title transfers, certain real estate transactions, for the surviving spouse to remarry, probating the will, etc. We have application forms at our office and will order them on your behalf through a registry office. The registry office has a minimal fee for such a certificate.
Can a Power Of Attorney complete funeral arrangements?
No. The role of a Power Of Attorney ceases upon death. At the time of death, the executor/executrix assumes control of the funeral arrangements. It is for this reason that it is important the executor/executrix be named, and be made aware of what type of funeral arrangements are preferred.
Caskets are generally used for visitations and funeral services. They may be made of wood or metal and are available in a wide range of styles and prices.
Caskets made of wood are usually constructed of maple, oak, ash or elm. They are distinguished by the choice of finish, styling, and fabric that is used to line the casket. The cost of hardwood caskets varies according to the type and thickness of the wood, the cloth selected for the interior, and the details of the craftsmanship. Some wood caskets are covered with fabric.
Metal caskets are usually made from bronze, copper, or steel. Most metal caskets are protective caskets that seal, that prevent the intrusion of air, water and other elements. The price difference between metal caskets is determined by the thickness of the metal, and the type of cloth selected to line the interior.
Selecting A Monument
The selection of the monument or grave marker is an important decision because the memorial will stand as a tribute, marking the last resting place of a loved one.
A monument commemorates the life that was lived. Memorials reflect the personality, hopes and dreams of those they represent. Single markers reflect the individual's accomplishments. Double monuments show the love and dedication two people shared. Monuments come in numerous shapes and sizes. They are made of many different materials including various types of granite, marble, and bronze. There are basically three types of monuments: Flat, also known as lawn level, pillow and upright monuments. In addition, there are also memorial benches which are usually placed at the cemetery or a location of significance.
The designs reflect the life that was lived. The designs remind the survivors of who the person was by representing aspects of their lives. Monuments are for future generations, they are a record of our past. Monuments are for life. Today's monuments are made of materials that have proven to last the test of time. These materials can be molded, shaped, and formed into a lasting work of art. Their beauty and un-yielding nature provides a sustaining source of comfort.
Monuments and cemeteries record our heritage and provide solace and sanctuary to the living. The dedication of a memorial is the recognition of our past and a representation of people's traits, hopes, wishes, loves and desires.
PLEASE NOTE: Memorials may be purchased from any source, however, be sure to check the cemetery's rules and regulations to determine whether there are any restrictions on the types of memorials that may be used. Purchasers should consider the permanency of the supplier, since they may well be required at a later date to inscribe the death date on the stone, add a companion scroll, or perhaps supply a matching memorial.
When a loved one dies, survivors may be eligible for benefits from Canada Pension. The qualifications for Canada Pension benefits depend on age, marital status, number of dependents, and whether the deceased contributed to Canada Pension. It is important to remember that the payment of Canada Pension benefits is not automatic; survivors must apply for benefits. Our funeral home will file the necessary forms for you, or will assist you in determining what benefits are available to you and how to receive them.
Filing A Complaint
If you have a complaint with a funeral director and/or funeral service provider, you should first discuss the problem with them. The funeral director or funeral service provider should be given the opportunity to explain matters.
While there may indeed be a problem, experience has shown that often disagreements with funeral homes are in fact a misunderstanding of what was to be done. A bereaved person may be very emotional following a death and it may be difficult to communicate details about the funeral. Therefore, funeral directors may make assumptions based on their experience without making sure that those assumptions are shared by those making the arrangements. As a result of the emotions surrounding a death, small differences may seem like major issues.
If your discussion with the funeral home is not satisfactory, you may wish to contact the provincial regulatory board. Hopefully they will be able to resolve a conflict or disagreement.
Complaint forms may be obtained by contacting the board office at:
Alberta Funeral Services Regulatory Board
180, 2755 Broadmoor Blvd
Sherwood Park, AB
Canada T8H 2W7
Telephone: (780) 452-6130
Toll Free: (800) 563-4652
Fax: (780) 452-6085
Death Away From Home
Because people in our society travel so frequently, it is not uncommon for death to occur away from home. In such cases, survivors should contact a funeral director in the area where the funeral will take place. The director can make all the necessary arrangements and contact the appropriate individuals to ensure that everything is taken care of properly where the death occurred. The funeral director knows what services are needed and can coordinate all the details, both where the death occurred and at home. This not only makes this difficult process easier, but working exclusively with one funeral director will also reduce the cost involved. Being prepared for the possibility of death away from home may involve meeting with a funeral director. Their help can be invaluable in the case of this unexpected circumstance.
What is a burial vault and do I need to purchase one?
A burial vault is a receptacle designed to contain the casket when buried in a cemetery. It is used to maintain a clean, dry, and protective environment for the casket. Burial vaults are capable of withstanding the weight and pressures of the earth above and around it and therefore keep the earth from settling. This leaves cemeteries more attractive, safer and easier to maintain. The burial vault can also act as a foundation for monuments and thus keep them from tilting. The material that each burial vault is made of determines its ability to withstand the elements. Some vaults are made of concrete while others are lined with protective, water resistant materials. The majority of cemeteries require some type of concrete casket outer receptacle.
What are casket vaults and urn vaults made of?
Concrete, fiberglass or steel.
What is the difference between a vault and a concrete grave liner?
A vault offers maximum protection from air and water intrusion as well as protecting the gravesite.
A concrete grave liner does not protect from air and water intrusion.
Why would I need a vault or concrete grave liner if I have selected a protective casket?
A vault or concrete grave liner protects the integrity of the gravesite by reducing the weight of earth resting on the casket. It also protects the casket from intrusion during future excavations.
There are usually six active pallbearers and they are often family members of the deceased or close friends. Active pallbearers are responsible for carrying the casket or the cremation container at the service location and at the cemetery. The active pallbearers may be male or female.
Any number of individuals, male or female, may be selected as honorary pallbearers. They are often close friends of the deceased or the deceased's family. The honorary pallbearers do not participate in carrying the casket or cremation container. The main purpose for selecting honorary pallbearers is that it expresses the families feeling towards these individuals. Honorary pallbearers do not have to be in attendance at the service since the most important aspect of this designation is name recognition.
If an urn is present at a funeral or at a graveside service, the urn is usually carried by an urn bearer, male or female, or by the funeral director.
Costs Of Funerals
Most funeral homes offer funerals ranging from simple to elaborate, with pricing to match. Often, there is a flat fee that may include the preparation of the deceased for burial, and procedures such as filing the death certificate and placing notices in the newspaper. Funeral costs can generally be put into four categories: the fee for professional services, cost of merchandise, disposition costs and associated costs. It is important to realize that within each of these categories, there are choices you may make based on the deceased's wishes for the funeral and your budget. Because the costs involved with funerals change over time, it is best to contact our funeral home to discuss options and prices with them.
Coping With Anticipated Death
When a death is anticipated, there are a number of things that can be done in advance to ease the impact of the death on those loved ones left behind. With time to plan, several options can be fully researched to ensure that the loved one's needs are best met. Preparing for anticipated death may be hard for those left behind, but knowing that a loved one's last wish was carried out with your help may be the best way of coping with their death.
How To Handle Grief
The loss of a loved one or a close friend can be one of the most difficult times we ever face. The grieving process happens over time and is an essential part of coping with a loss. Grief is first felt as a numbness and inability to accept the loss, followed by shock as the reality sets in. There may be a period of emotional distress that includes depression, despair, and anxiety. Grief is different for everybody and needs to be experienced in our own way. Talking with loved ones and friends about what you feel can help you through grief. Don't hide your feelings, as this can make the grieving longer and more difficult. Church or community support groups are often valuable because members can share similar losses and provide understanding and encouragement.