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Frequently Asked Questions
It is common to have questions about the end-of-life and funeral process. This section answers some commonly asked questions to help make this process easier for you. If additional questions arise, please feel free to contact us directly at the funeral home.
What is a funeral?
A funeral is a ceremony for a deceased person, prior to burial or cremation. A funeral gives the opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to gather and mourn the passing of their loved one, to share cherished memories, and to celebrate their life. A funeral is a vital first step in helping the bereaved heal after the loss of someone special.
What type of service should I have?
If no pre-arrangements have been made, the type of service is entirely up to you, but it is best to consider what the deceased may have wanted. Services are usually held at a funeral home or a place of worship. There are a wealth of different services, ranging from traditional religious, military services, non-religious to something a little more unique. Sacred Journey Pathways has a working relationship with multiple funeral directors and together we are more than happy to work with you to figure out what would be the most appropriate.
Can I personalize a funeral?
Of course you can! In fact, more and more people are opting for non-traditional, personalized services. There is no one way to celebrate somebody’s life. With the addition of a Funeral Celebrant, you can create a memorable service that is a reflection of the life of your loved one. Let us know exactly what your desires are and we will honor your wishes.
Do we need to have an obituary notice and what is included in one?
It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice that is either posted in a local newspaper or online. An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred, and provides them with information about the service. Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city, and date of birth, as well as the city they were living in when they died. It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse, along with the names of anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children, or grandchildren. Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you might also wish to include a short sentiment on the life and legacy of the deceased. An online obituary or memorial website offers you the chance to add a lot more about the deceased.
Who are funeral directors and what do they do?
Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death. They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body. These tasks can be daunting to those who are grieving. But for others, they want to be involved in every aspect of the arrangements. Sacred Journey Pathways will help you navigate the amount you want to be hands-on and how much you would like a Funeral Director to do.
What if a death occurs away from my home town?
Funeral Directors can arrange to have the remains transported from anywhere in the world. They will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have the remains return to the community.
What is embalming and what purpose does it serve?
Embalming slows down the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of a body impacted by a traumatic death or illness. Embalming gives time to the family of the deceased to arrange a service, and allows for the possibility of an open-casket viewing.
Do I need to have an embalming?
No. In fact, some religions forbid embalming. Some countries do require embalming by law in order for remains to leave or enter the country. If it is not against your religious custom, embalming is generally recommended, especially if there is an extended gap between death and burial or cremation.
How much does a funeral cost?
The cost of the funeral depends on the services selected. The average cost of a funeral is between $5,000-$7,000; however, the most basic of services can cost as little as $1000. The cost includes all professional services including transportation, embalming and other preparations, the use of a facility for the ceremony, and the purchase of a casket or urn.
Why are funerals so expensive?
Funerals are labor intensive A funeral's cost extends beyond the merchandise, and includes the services of the funeral director. Their role in making the necessary arrangements, filling out forms, and dealing with all the other figures involved after a death (doctors, lawyers, insurance companies). Funeral directors work an average of forty hours per funeral, and the cost of operating a funeral home is included as well. Funeral homes are a 24 hour operation, with extensive facilities that need to be maintained and secured.
What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled?
In Canada, funeral services are regulated provincially and this information can be found on the Canadian Consumer Information website at www.consumerinformation.ca.
Who has the right to move your loved one after death?
Before transferring a body, by law, a funeral home must have verbal or written authorization from the person who has the rights of disposition. Or you can obtain permission for a private transfer.
How do I obtain permission for a private transfer?
Following a death, the remains must be transferred to their final destination as soon as possible. Before the private transfer can occur, a Private Transfer Permit Application must first be submitted and approved. This application ensures that all proper procedures are followed including a burial permit being obtained.
Not all crematoriums can receive private transfers. Check with the crematorium to find out what is permissible. Also, a physician or licensed embalmer must remove pacemakers or other radioactive or mechanical device prior to cremation.
What paperwork is needed?
It is recommended that the legal representative of the deceased contact the cemetery or crematorium prior to the transfer occurring so the appropriate arrangements can be discussed and agreed upon. If the deceased is being cremated, a cremation authorization form must be completed by the legal representative.
Am I permitted to supply my own casket or urn?
Under BC’s cemetery and funeral services law, you have the right to supply your own casket for interment or cremation as long as it meets certain requirements (such as the ability to be closed, hold weight and be sufficiently sealed). Similarly, you also have the right to supply your own container to hold the cremated remains of your loved one.
What are the requirements when transferring the deceased?
During transportation, the deceased must be placed in an enclosed rigid, leak-proof container and not visible to the public. Also, the person transferring the remains must be in the vehicle or it must be locked and secure at all times.
What are the requirements for containers?
The requirements for a container are:
1. Must be strong enough to contain and move the remains
2. Must prevent the remains from posing a health hazard
3. Must be capable of being closed so the public cannot see the remains
4. Must be constructed so that it does not leak
5. Must be combustible and rigid
Containers used during cremations must also not contain: plastic, fiberglass, foam/styrofoam, rubber, polyvinyl chloride, or zinc.
Where am I permitted to scatter ashes?
By law, if you’ve stated in a will that you’d like your ashes spread in a certain location, that wish must be honoured (as long as your request is not unreasonable). Cremated remains can be scattered on private or public property, although permission should be granted by the landowner or the government body who oversees those lands.
Please visit the Government of Canada website.