Life Lessons from working at a Funeral Home

In 2006 Tania and Michael both worked at Calgary Funeral home.   It was a very professional work environment with a very high work standard.    However, working at a funeral home is not something that I would brag about as there are many stories that are not common dinner table talk.  Now looking back on that time I see it as a learning experience.

To just mention the idea of Life Lessons from a Funeral home should strongly set the importance of the lesson.     We can joke that lessons will be repeated over and over again until we accept them and learn the lesson, however the lessons learned from a funeral home mean that some else did not have an opportunity to practice the lesson and improve it.   So I simply want to say that in life we need to Plan, Prepare and Pray.    This applies to all aspects of life and it especially applies to all stages of Financial Planning.

Plan, Prepare and Pray…

Naturally the service provided by a funeral director and the attendants is very sensitive to peoples emotions and an important part of the healthy grieving experience for the family and friends.   It is difficult to put a fair price on the value of a funeral service and all of the extra events that take place with the wake, Chapel service, family reception, burial and other decorations and publications.  Therefore the best way to prevent paying too much or having any buyers regret is to be proactive, plan ahead together discuss the options with your family and get advice from others who have shared in a funeral experience, then speak to a funeral director about what they can offer to you.

When you are planning for the funeral be sure to satisfy the wishes of the person who is being celebrated, and their spouse.   Then focus on what will help the family to remember the positive memories, and help them move on to being grateful for the life that was shared.    It is helpful to develop a collection of photographs to share, this is a good project to do each year at the birthday time just to build the collection of good memories.

There are some people who call a funeral home to speak to the sales staff when their need is urgent and they are grieving the loss of their partner or family member.  The decision making process is much more difficult when the people making the choices are grieving and feeling the pressure to plan an event after the death of a loved one.   While the funeral home staff are sensitive and very professional, it becomes a time for family to come together and be very supportive emotionally and financially.

It really cannot be stated enough that it is better for everyone involved for the family to plan ahead for the funeral and the estate transfer.   Therefore please follow the Action steps listed below.

Most funeral homes provide a pre-planning service in which the planning is great for you this is the advance sale for the funeral home.  This is a very helpful service and it allows the family to discuss the issues involved and get input from all relevant family members and especially the person who will be honored by the funeral service.   Feel free to take time to discuss this with others to be sure that you are buying what you want and not buying with too much emotion, but be sure to get it done.

Action Step: Plan, prepare and pray

  • Visit a Funeral Home and complete the Funeral Planning together as a family.

    • Consider family that may have to travel a long distance
    • Consider a family burial plot
    • Consider Charitable donations request instead of flowers
  • Pay for the funeral church service, burial, wake and reception.

    • The Funeral home may allow you to pre-pay for basic service
    • Pay for the burial plot and arrange for the head stone
    • Keep in mind that there are always surprise expenses with travel, gifts, meals and accommodations for family from a other locations.
  • Consult a Lawyer or para legal

    • Complete your Will
    • Assign a Power of Attorney
    • Assign an Executor
  • Speak to an independent investment adviser to discuss

    • Be sure that all investments are organized and prepared for the executor to find.
    • Be sure that Segregated funds have the correct Beneficiary noted in the contract
    • Decide if property is to be sold or given to family.
  • Speak to an independent Life Insurance agent and buy a  permanent Whole Life insurance policy at a value to pay for

    • the family travel expenses to the funeral
    • any credit card debt
    • taxes to the C.R.A. due in the year after death
    • Seniors care home and hospital expenses
    • gifts to the family
    • Charitable donations to your Church
    • Charitable donations to your favorite community service

And Pray…

The final word of encouragement on this sensitive issue is to pray for the family and with the family.   This is a gift that has invisible value and can be shared again and again.   It may not be fully understood at the time, but the quiet prayer is always a blessing and silent support to the people grieving.   To pray is an action of reaching out to God and seeking support and guidance.  The family will need emotional and spiritual support in the time of grieving and they will need guidance in the new decisions to be made to adjust to life without their family member.

This is again a life lesson that applies to ALL aspects of life and should never be taken for granted.   Please pray in all circumstances, and pray continually.  

The issues involved in a Funeral are difficult and uncomfortable to talk about, but it is very helpful to be proactive and to plan ahead together as a family

Please call Tania @ 403-831-7821 about your questions and let Tania refer you to an independent financial adviser, who can help you with the financial planning for investment organization and financial protection.

Thank you.

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