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Frequently Asked Questions - All FAQs

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Black has long been the traditional color for mourning. However, wearing black isn't required any longer. Wearing a colour other than black isn't a sign of disrespect, as long as the color isn't bright or wildly patterned. In many cultures, red is a color for festivals and would be inappropriate for a funeral. Generally, play it safe with any dark or subdued color. Dark suits and ties for men and dresses or suits for women are always appropriate.

Most people are at a loss for words when it comes to comforting someone who is grieving. If you don't know what to say, start with these thoughts:

  • You're so sorry to hear this sad news.

  • The deceased will be sorely missed by friends and colleagues.

  • How much you loved this person and how bereaved you feel.

  • You know how much the deceased loved and cared for the people who are left behind.

  • The grief you feel for the person who is left behind.

  • What a wonderful person the deceased was.

Recounting anecdotes, warm remembrances, and stories about the deceased is a kind thing to do. Remembering the person's accomplishments and all that person meant to you and did for you, and sharing that with the family, is very important and much appreciated.

You are the legal representative of a deceased person if:

you are named as the executor in the will;
you are appointed as the administrator of the estate by a court; or
you are the liquidator for an estate in Quebec.

Note

As the legal representative, you may wish to appoint an authorized representative to deal with the CRA for tax matters on your behalf. You may do so by completing Form T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative.

Unless included in your business income, trustee, executor, or liquidator fees paid to you for acting as an executor is income from an office or employment. As the executor, you must report these fees on a T4 slip. For more information see "Employment by a Trustee" in Chapter 1 of the T4001, Employer's Guide - Payroll Deductions and Remittances.

As the legal representative, you should provide us with the deceased's date of death as soon as possible. You can advise us by calling 1-800-959-8281, by sending us a letter or a completed Request for the Canada Revenue Agency to Update Records form. This form is included with our Information Sheet RC4111, Canada Revenue Agency - What to Do Following a Death.

To keep our records up to date, also send us the following information:

a copy of the death certificate; and
a complete copy of the will or other legal document such as a grant of probate or letters of administration showing that you are the legal representative.

You must provide the deceased individual's social insurance number with any request you are making or with any information that you are sending to us.

Include this information with the final return if you did not send it right after the deceased's death.

Note:

You should also advise Service Canada of the deceased's date of death.

Under the Income Tax Act, as the legal representative, it is your responsibility to: file all required returns for the deceased;
ensure that all taxes owing are paid; and
let the beneficiaries know which of the amounts they receive from the estate are taxable.

As the legal representative, you are responsible for filing a return for the deceased for the year of death. This return is called the Final return.

You also have to file any returns for previous years that the deceased person did not file. If the person did not leave records about these returns, or if you cannot tell from existing records whether or not the returns were filed, contact us at 1-800-959-8281. If you have to file a return for a year before the year of death, use a T1 General Income Tax and Benefit Return for that year.Previous year returns are available on our Web Site, or by calling 1-800-959-8281.

You have to file a T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return, for income of the estate earned after the date of death. If the terms of a trust were established by the will or a court order in relation to the deceased individual's estate under provincial or territorial dependant relief or support law, you also have to file a T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return for that trust.

Note

You may not have to file a T3 return (not to be confused with the final return, which always has to be filed) if the estate is distributed immediately after the person dies, or if the estate did not earn income before the distribution. In these cases, you should give each beneficiary a statement showing his or her share of the estate. See the T4013, T3 Trust Guide, for more information and, where a trust is created, to determine whether that return has to be filed. See Chart 2 to find out what income to report on the T3 return.

As the legal representative, you may need information from the deceased person's tax records. Before we can give you this information, we need the following:

a copy of the death certificate;
the deceased's social insurance number; and
a complete copy of the will or other legal document such as a grant of probate, trust agreement, or letters of administration showing that you are the legal representative.

When you write for such information, include the words "The Estate of the Late" in front of the deceased person's name. Include your address so that we can reply directly to you. Send this information to your tax services office or tax centre.

Clearance certificate

As the legal representative, you may want to get a clearance certificate before you distribute any property under your control. A clearance certificate certifies that all amounts for which the deceased is liable to us have been paid, or that we have accepted security for the payment. If you do not get a clearance certificate, you can be liable for any amount the deceased owes. A clearance certificate covers all tax years to the date of death. It is not a clearance for any amounts a trust owes. If there is a trust, a separate clearance certificate is needed for the trust.

To request a certificate, complete Form TX19, Asking for a Clearance Certificate, and send it to the assistant director, Audit, at your tax services office. Do not include Form TX19 with a return. Send it only after you have received the notices of assessment for all the returns required to be filed and paid or secured all amounts owing.

Provide us with the documents we ask for below to help us issue the certificate without delay. Attach to the Form TX19 the documents that apply to your situation:

a copy of the will, including any codicils, renunciations, disclaimers, and all probate documents. If the taxpayer died intestate, also attach a copy of the document appointing an administrator (for example, the Letters of Administration or Letters of Verification issued by a probate court);
a copy of the trust document for inter vivos trusts;
a statement showing the list of assets and distribution plan, including a description of each asset, adjusted cost base, and the fair market value at the date of death and at the date of distribution, if not at the same time. Also include the names, addresses, and social insurance numbers or account numbers of the recipients and his or her relationship to the deceased. If a statement of properties has been prepared for a probate court, we will usually accept a copy, and a list of any properties that the deceased owned before death and that passed directly to beneficiaries;
any other documents that are necessary to prove that you are the legal representative; and
a letter of authorization that you have signed if you want us to communicate with any other person or firm, or you want the clearance certificate sent to any address other than your own.

If you need more information about clearance certificates, call 1-800-959-8281 . You can also see IC82-6, Clearance Certificate.

What is a net capital loss?

Generally, when allowable capital losses are more than taxable capital gains, the difference is a net capital loss. The rate used to determine the taxable part of a capital gain and the allowable part of a capital loss is called an inclusion rate.

For 2012, the inclusion rate is one-half. Therefore, an allowable capital loss is one-half of a capital loss and a taxable capital gain is one-half of a capital gain.

Contact us at 1-800-387-1193 and let us know the date of death. If the deceased person was receiving CCTB and/or UCCB payments for a child and the surviving spouse or common-law partner is the child's parent, we will usually transfer the CCTB and/or UCCB payments to that person.

If anyone else, other than the parent, is now primarily responsible for the child, that person will have to apply for benefit payments for the child by:

completing and sending us Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application, or
using the "Apply for child benefits" online service on My Account.

Note

If the deceased was receiving payments under provincial or territorial child benefit and credit programs administered by the CRA, there is no need to apply separately to qualify. We will use the information from the application to determine the new caregiver's eligibility for these programs.

What if the deceased's spouse or common-law partner receives the CCTB and/or UCCB?

If you are the surviving spouse or common-law partner and you receive CCTB and/or UCCB payments for a child, contact us at1-800-387-1193 to provide us with the date of death, and we will automatically recalculate the payments excluding the deceased person's net income.

What if the deceased is an eligible child?

Your entitlement to CCTB and UCCB payments stops the month after the child's date of death. You should notify us of the date of death so that we can update our records.

Generally, GST/HST credit payments are issued on the fifth day of the month in July, October, January, and April. If the deceased was receiving GST/HST credit payments, we may still send out a payment after the date of death because we are not aware of the death. If this happens, you should return the payment to the tax centre that serves your area.

Note

We administer provincial programs that are related to the GST/HST credit. If the deceased was receiving payments under one of these programs, you do not have to take any further action. We will use the information provided for the GST/HST credit payments to adjust the applicable credit.

What if the deceased was single, separated, divorced, or widowed and received the GST/HST credit?

If the recipient died before the scheduled month in which we issue the credit, we cannot make any more payments in that person's name or to that person's estate.

If the recipient died during or after the scheduled month in which we issue the credit and the payment has not been cashed, return it to the spouse's that serves your area so that we can send the payment to the person's estate.

If the deceased was getting a credit for a child, the child's new caregiver should contact us at 1-800-959-1953 to request GST/HST credit payments for that child.

What if the deceased's GST/HST credit is for the deceased and his or her spouse or common-law partner?

If the deceased had a spouse or common-law partner, that person may be eligible to receive the GST/HST credit payments based on his or her net income alone. If the deceased's GST/HST credit included a claim for that spouse or common-law partner, he or she should:

contact us at 1-800-959-1953 and ask to receive the GST/HST credit payment for the remainder of the year for himself or herself and any eligible children, if applicable; and
file an income tax and benefit return for the applicable previous year if he or she has not already done so.

What if the surviving spouse's or common-law partner's GST/HST credit includes a claim for the deceased?

If the surviving spouse's or common-law partner's GST/HST credit included an amount for the deceased, the payments will be recalculated based on the surviving spouse's or common-law partner's net income and will only include a claim for himself or herself and any children, if applicable.

What if the deceased is an eligible child?

Entitlement to GST/HST credit payments for a deceased child stops the quarter after the child's date of death. You should notify us of the date of death so that we can update our records.

We discuss the tax treatment of capital property the deceased owned at the date of death. We deal with capital property in general (capital property other than depreciable property), as well as the particular treatment of depreciable property, and farm and fishing property transferred to a child. We discuss only property acquired after December 31, 1971.

There are special rules for property that a deceased person owned before 1972. For details about these rules and for information about other property such as eligible capital property, resource property, or an inventory of land, contact us at 1-800-959-8281.

When a person dies, we consider that the person has disposed of all capital property right before death. We call this a deemed disposition.

Also, right before death, we consider that the person has received the deemed proceeds of disposition (we will refer to this as "deemed proceeds"). Even though there was not an actual sale, there can be a capital gain or, except for depreciable property or personal-use property, a capital loss.

  1. depreciable property, in addition to a capital gain, there can also be a recapture of capital cost allowance. Also, for depreciable property, instead of a capital loss there may be a terminal loss.

What is a capital gain?
When the proceeds or deemed proceeds of disposition of a capital property are more than its adjusted cost base, the result is a capital gain. In most cases, one-half of the capital gain is the taxable capital gain.

  1. Schedule 3, Capital Gains (or Losses), to calculate the taxable capital gain to report on the final return.

What is a capital gains deduction?
This is a deduction you can claim for the deceased person against eligible taxable capital gains from the disposition or deemed disposition of certain capital property.

You may be able to claim the capital gains deduction on taxable capital gains the deceased had in 2012 from:

  • dispositions or deemed dispositions of qualified farm property or, after May 1 2006, qualified fishing property;
  • dispositions or deemed dispositions of qualified small business corporation shares; and
  • a reserve brought into income from either of the above.

The lifetime capital gains exemption has been increased from $500,000 to $750,000 for dispositions after March 18, 2007. Since the inclusion rate for capital gains and losses is 50%, the lifetime capital gains deduction limit has been increased from $250,000(one-half of $500,000) to $375,000 (one-half of $750,000) for dispositions after March 18, 2007.

For more information, see Line 254 - Capital gains deduction.

What is a capital loss?
When the proceeds or deemed proceeds of disposition of a capital property are less than its adjusted cost base, the result is a capital loss. One-half of the capital loss is the allowable capital loss. You cannot have a capital loss on the disposition of depreciable property or personal use property.

For more information on claiming a capital loss, see Net capital losses in the year of death.

Recaptures and terminal losses
For depreciable property, when the proceeds or deemed proceeds of disposition are more than the undepreciated capital cost, you will usually have a recapture of capital cost allowance. Include the recapture in income on the deceased's final return.

For depreciable property, when the proceeds or deemed proceeds of disposition are less than the undepreciated capital cost, the result is a terminal loss. Deduct the terminal loss on the deceased's final return.

To apply a net capital loss that happened in the year of death, you can use either Method A or Method B.

Method A - You can carry back a 2012 net capital loss to reduce any taxable capital gains in any of the three tax years before the year of death. If you are applying it against taxable capital gains realized in 2009, 2010, or 2011, you do not need to make any adjustment because the inclusion rate is the same in all three years. The loss you carry back cannot be more than the taxable capital gains in those years. To ask for a loss carryback, complete "Section III - Net capital loss for carryback" on Form T1A, Request for Loss Carryback, and send it to your tax centreDo not file an amended return for the year to which you want to apply the loss.

After you carry back the loss, there may be an amount left. You may be able to use some of the remaining amount to reduce other income on the final return, the return for the year before the year of death, or both returns. However, before you do this, you have to calculate the amount you can use.

From the net capital loss you have left, subtract any capital gains deductions the deceased has claimed to date. Use any loss left to reduce other income for the year of death, the year before the year of death, or for both years.

If you claim any remaining net capital loss in the year of death, you should claim it as a negative amount in brackets at line 127 of the final return.

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Note

Do not use a capital loss claimed against other income at line 127 in the calculation of net income for the purposes of calculating other amounts such as social benefit repayments, provincial or territorial tax credits, and those non-refundable tax credits requiring the use of net income.

Method B - You can choose not to carry back the net capital loss to reduce taxable capital gains from earlier years. You may prefer to reduce other income on the final return, the return for the year before the year of death, or both returns. However, before you do this, you have to calculate the amount you can use.

From the net capital loss, subtract any capital gains deductions the deceased has claimed to date. Use any loss remaining to reduce other income for the year of death, the year before the year of death, or for both years.

If you claim any remaining net capital loss in the year of death, you should claim it as a negative amount in brackets at line 127 of the final return.

The deceased may have had a net capital loss before the year of death but never applied it. If so, you can apply the loss against taxable capital gains on the final return. If the net capital loss arose after 1987 and before 2001, you will need to make an adjustment to the inclusion rate as explained below. If there is still an amount left, you may be able to use it to reduce other income on the final return, the return for the year before the year of death, or both returns. If you decide to claim this loss on the final return, report it at line 253.

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Note

You cannot use the net capital losses of other years to create a negative taxable income for any year.

You have to apply net capital losses of earlier years before you apply net capital losses of later years. For example, if you have net capital losses in 1997 and 1999 and want to apply them against your taxable capital gains in 2012, you have to follow a certain order. First, apply your 1997 net capital loss against your taxable capital gain. Then apply your 1999 net capital loss against it.

The inclusion rate used to determine the taxable part of a capital gain and the allowable part of a capital loss has changed over the years. If the inclusion rate of 1/2 for 2012 is different from the inclusion rate in effect the year the loss occurred, you will need to adjust the loss before applying it to the taxable capital gain in 2012.

To apply a previous year loss to 2012, you will need to adjust the loss as follows:

  • For a net capital loss from 1987 or earlier, there is no adjustment required.
  • For a net capital loss from 1988 or 1989, multiply the loss by 3/4.
  • For a net capital loss from 1990 to 1999, multiply the loss by 2/3.
  • For a net capital loss from 2000, multiply the loss by [1 ÷ (2 × IR)], where IR is the inclusion rate for 2000. This rate is from line 16 of Part 4 of the deceased's Schedule 3 for 2000, or from the deceased's notice of assessment or latest notice of reassessment for 2000.
  • For a net capital loss from 2001 or later, there is no adjustment required.

When you make these calculations, you get the adjusted net capital loss.

Now you can reduce taxable capital gains in the year of death. To do this, use the lower of:

  • the adjusted net capital loss; and
  • the taxable capital gains in the year of death.

After you reduce the taxable capital gains, some of the loss may be left. You may be able to use this amount to reduce other income for the year of death, the year before the year of death, or for both years. However, before you do this, you may have to calculate the amount you can use.

If you had to adjust the loss before applying it to the 2012 taxable capital gain as described above, you will now have to readjust the loss that remains as follows:

  • For a net capital loss from 1987 or earlier, there is no adjustment required.
  • Multiply any adjusted net capital losses from 1988 or 1989 by 4/3.
  • Multiply any adjusted net capital losses from 1990 to 1999 by 3/2.
  • Multiply any adjusted net capital losses from 2000 by 2 × IR, where IR is the inclusion rate for 2000.
  • For a net capital loss from 2001 or later, there is no adjustment required.

The result is your readjusted balance of net capital losses. From this balance, subtract all capital gains deductions claimed to date, including those on the final return. If there is an amount left, you can use it to reduce other income for the year of death, the year before the year of death, or for both years.

Example

A woman died in August of 2012. You have these details about her tax matters:

  • Net capital loss in 1999 which was never applied: $18,000
  • Taxable capital gain in 2012:                             $ 6,000
  • Capital gains deductions claimed to date:            $ 4,000

You decide to use the 1999 loss to reduce the 2012 taxable capital gain and to use any amount left to reduce other income for 2012.

You have to adjust the 1999 net capital loss before you can apply it. Multiply it by 2/3 to get the adjusted net capital loss:

$18,000 × 2/3 = $12,000

To reduce the 2012 taxable capital gain, use the lower of:

  • $12,000 (adjusted net capital loss); and
  • $6,000 (2012 taxable capital gain).

After you use $6,000 of the loss to reduce the gain to zero, you still have $6,000 ($12,000 - $6,000) left. You can use this amount to reduce the deceased's other income for 2012. 

To determine the amount to use, you have to readjust the $6,000. Because the loss occurred in 1999, multiply the amount left by 3/2 to get the readjusted balance:

$6,000 × 3/2 = $9,000

From the readjusted balance, subtract all capital gains deductions claimed to date:

$9,000 − $4,000 = $5,000

You can use $5,000 to reduce the deceased's other income for 2012. If you decide not to use the total of this balance in 2012, you can use the amount that is left to reduce other income for 2011.

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Note

If you claim a capital gains deduction for the year of death or the year before the year of death, subtract it from the balance of net capital losses you have available to reduce other income in those years. For more details about capital gains and loss

As the legal representative, you may continue looking after the deceased's estate through a trust. If you dispose of capital property, the result may be a net capital loss. If you dispose of depreciable property, the result may be a terminal loss.

Usually, you would claim these losses on the trust's T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return. However, in the trust's first tax year, you can choose to claim all or part of these losses on the deceased's final return. Any net capital loss realized after the date of death can only be applied to the year of death. For more information, see "164(6) election" in Chapter 3 of the T4013, T3 - 

The Executor and/or next of kin bear legal responsibility in the disposition of the deceased. It is prudent for the executor to include the family in any decisions regarding final arrangements.

Embalming is not required in Ontario but may be necessary under some circumstances.

Yes, services can be prearranged through a funeral home or transfer service and can be prepaid if you wish.

Costs depend entirely on the goods and services selected by you. Every funeral director and transfer service operator is required by law to have price lists available to the public at no charge and without obligation.

Cash disbursements are payments made by the funeral director on your behalf and might include items such as newspaper notices, clergy honoraria or flowers. Disbursements are charged to you at actual cost and if they appear on your contract, must be itemized and included in the total price.

This is not the law in Ontario. However, local customs vary and some cemeteries have by-laws requiring that outside containers be used for interment. For more information contact Cemetery Regulations, Ministry of Consumer Services; Tel: (416) 326-8393/1-800-889-9768; TTY: (416) 229-6086/1-877-666-6545.

You may prearrange and prepay services and supplies by means of a contract between you and the funeral establishment or transfer service.

Funeral homes do not have to guarantee services that have been prepaid. Purchasers should ensure that the contract clearly states whether or not the price will be guaranteed.

At the time of death the funeral director or transfer service will calculate cost based on the current prices. If the principal plus interest or insurance death benefit is less than the cost of services no other money is owed.

If you prepaid after June 1, 1990 the balance, if any, of the prepayment funds that are in excess of the cost of delivering the services and supplies contracted for must be refunded to the estate. If you prepaid prior to June 1, 1990 the funds will be refunded at the funeral establishments discretion.

Legislation provides several means for ensuring protection of prepaid funds. At the time of prepayment, the funeral director or transfer service operator must provide the purchaser with a contract, signed by the purchaser and the funeral director, showing clearly the services you have selected and the monies you have paid. Within 10 days of the investment of the prepaid funds, the funeral establishment or transfer service operator must deliver to the purchaser an investment receipt from the financial institution that the investment has been made.

Yes. When a written request is received, all monies including principal and accrued interest must be refunded. However, the funeral home or transfer service may keep an administration fee of 10% of the funds to a maximum of $200.00 if the contract is cancelled after thirty days. The financial institution or insurance company may also charge a cancellation fee.

Funeral directors and transfer service operators welcome and encourage people to make such inquiries prior to or at the time of need. Call the funeral home or transfer service and request a price list. They must provide a price list without cost or obligation. You are encouraged to compare prices and services by obtaining price lists from several establishments.

This option includes the removal of the deceased from the place of death, the placement of the body in a container or casket, the delivery of the body to the cemetery or crematorium and the filing of necessary documentation.

No. You can have either cremation or earth burial.

Yes. However your wishes should be discussed with your family.

You have two options either it is held in trust for you at a bank, trust company, credit union or fraternal society or you may have the option to purchase an insurance product.

No. These are personal expenses and cannot be deducted.

That depends on who received the death benefit. A death benefit is income of either the estate or the beneficiary who receives it. Up to $10,000 of the total of all death benefits paid (other than CPP or QPP death benefits) is not taxable. If the beneficiary received the death benefit, see line 130 in the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide. If the estate received the death benefit, see the T4013, T3 - Trust guide

A CPP or QPP death benefit can be reported either on the tax return of the recipient beneficiary of the deceased person's estate, or on a T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return, for the estate of the deceased. If the estate then pays the death benefit to the beneficiary, a T3 slip will be issued in the beneficiary's name. The amount of the CPP or QPP death benefit is shown in box 18 of Form T4A(P), Statement of Canada Pension Plan Benefits. Do not report the amount on the deceased's return. Unlike a death benefit that an employer may pay to the estate or to a named beneficiary, this benefit is not eligible for the $10,000 death benefit exemption. You have to report all other CPP or QPP benefits on the deceased's return. For more information see line 114 - CPP or QPP benefits.

Vacation pay is income of the deceased person and can be reported on a return for rights or things. Payment for unused sick leave is considered a death benefit and is income of the estate or beneficiary who receives it. For more information, see IT508, Death Benefits.

When the holder of a deposit or an annuity contract under a TFSA dies, the holder is considered to have received, immediately before death, an amount equal to the fair market value (FMV) of all the property held in the TFSA at the time of death. As a result, no income should be reported by the deceased on the final return or any optional returns. After the holder's death, the annuity contract is no longer considered a TFSA and all earnings after the holder's death are taxable to the beneficiaries in the year they receive this income. For more information, see Guide RC4466, Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Guide for Individuals.

No. The only instalments we require are those that were due before the date of death but not paid.

Since the payments are an advance on purchases for the current calendar year, you have to return GST/HST credit payments that were paid to the deceased after their death. If the deceased was single and the estate is entitled to the payment, another cheque will be issued to the estate. However, the cheque that was issued to the deceased person must be returned to us before we reissue the payment to the estate. For more information, see GST/HST credit.

Most people avoid thinking about funerals until faced with the death of a loved one. When you wait until this time of stress and grief, it can be hard to make the necessary decisions. In Canada, the provinces and territories regulate the funeral and burial industry.

Burial

Burial is the most common way of dealing with remains. Bodies must be buried in approved cemeteries.

There are two methods of burial. The first is the traditional earth burial, in which the body is placed in a casket and lowered into the ground. The second involves permanently placing the body and the casket in a mausoleum, or tomb, above or just below the ground.

Cemetery costs vary widely. Before you make an agreement to purchase a plot, ask for a written statement listing all costs and a copy of the cemetery's rules and regulations.

In most provinces, embalming must be authorized. Embalming involves substituting a chemical fluid for blood to temporarily preserve a body. This is usually done for cosmetic and sanitation purposes when the body is to be viewed in an open casket. Consider the benefits of embalming and the wishes of the deceased and next-of-kin when deciding about embalming. To avoid any misunderstanding, let the funeral services provider know your wishes as soon as possible. 

In most provinces, embalming is not legally required; however, it may be required, when transferring remains by air or otherwise to another province or territory, or out of the country, unless embalming is contrary to religious beliefs.

Cremation is an alternative to burial.  It usually costs less than burial, particularly because you don't have to buy a casket or spend money on a cemetery plot.

Before you receive permission to have a body cremated, the body must be examined by a medical examiner and a Medical Certificate of Death signed by the attending physician.

Funeral chapels and crematoria require that the body be enclosed in a container that is combustible, of rigid construction and equipped with handles. You may supply your own homemade container.

After a cremation, all that usually remains of the body is two to three kilograms of pulverized bone and ash, and perhaps some parts of artificial joints. These materials represent no health risk. You're free to take care of the ashes as you see fit. Most crematoria and funeral homes will provide temporary storage of the ashes until you decide what is to be done with them. You may also choose to bury the ashes in a cemetery plot.

A conventional funeral involves a service in a religious institution such as a church or temple, or funeral chapel, with the body present, followed by burial. The following services are usually included in the price the funeral home or cemetery charges:

    moving the body to the funeral home
    using funeral home facilities
    embalming and cosmetic application
    the price of the casket
    using a hearse for transportation to the cemetery or crematorium
    arranging funeral services
    registering the death and obtaining the Burial Permit
    preparing newspaper death notices

In most provinces and territories, funeral homes and cemeteries are required to provide families with a detailed cost breakdown of all the products and services they provide. This will enable you to select only those services you require and can afford.

A memorial service is usually held when the body is not present. For example, the body may have already been buried, or it may have been cremated or donated for medical research. Family and friends who live in a different city than the deceased often hold a memorial service.

A memorial service is most often held within a few days or weeks of the death. Memorial services, as with funerals, can be large or small, and held in a religious institution such as a church or temple, funeral home chapel, hotel, private club or family home. Arrangements are usually simple. Embalming, viewing and other services associated with a conventional funeral are eliminated, reducing the cost.

When looking for a prearranged plan, ask yourself the following questions.

    Does the funeral home have a good reputation? Ask friends for recommendations. Ask yourself whether the funeral home is likely to be in business for many more years.
    Will interest be paid on the money in your prearranged plan? If so, compare rates at various funeral homes. Will you or your estate receive the interest or will the funeral home?
    If you choose to pay in installments, will you be charged for late payment?
    Does the contract specifically describe all goods and services to be provided?
    Does the plan meet your religious needs? Does it allow for a service in your own religious institution such as a church or temple, or must you use the funeral chapel?
    Is there any plan to cover the increased cost of the prearranged service due to inflation?

Buying a Cemetery Plot

You can also buy a cemetery plot and a grave marker in advance. Before signing a contract, get answers to the following questions.

    What happens if you move or change your mind for whatever reason? Would you be able to sell the plot or transfer ownership?
    What are your payment options?
    What penalty would apply if you failed to make the payments?

Mausoleums and Columbariums

An alternative to buying a cemetery plot is to purchase a niche in a mausoleum (for a casket) or columbarium (for cremated remains). As with prearranging a funeral or buying a cemetery plot, it is important to ask questions about fees and services ahead of time.

    What are you getting for your money?
    Is there an extra charge for the nameplate or for a flower vase to put in front?
    What are the options for paying?
    Can you get a refund if you decide not to use the niche?

You should also ask about the opening hours for a mausoleum or columbarium, since they are unlikely to be open all the time, as cemeteries are. This is particularly important if your family lives in a different city from the mausoleum or columbarium and will only be visiting occasionally.

Memorial Societies

Memorial societies are voluntary, non-profit organizations dedicated to helping people arrange simple, dignified and inexpensive funerals in advance. They encourage the donation of bodies or body parts for medical science.

Most memorial societies have either a legal contract or an agreement with one or more local funeral homes to provide services for members. Memorial societies that are unable to get such agreements give advice to people who want to prearrange their funeral. Members are given a form on which they indicate their desired arrangements. The society and/or the cooperating funeral home keep a copy of the form. If you move, your membership file can be transferred to the local memorial society near your new community.

Donating a Human Body or Organs

Medical science makes valuable use of donated tissues and organs, for research, teaching and transplants. The entire body, or just certain parts, may be donated. It is quite easy to make such a donation. Just write out your instructions on a piece of paper and sign it.

Be sure to tell your next-of-kin about your wishes and to carry a copy of the signed instructions or a signed donor card in your wallet. Your driver's license may have an attached universal donor card, which you must fill out and sign for your wishes to be followed.
 

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Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult. Here is a list that can help you identify what to do when someone passes away.

First steps

The funeral director will register the death by completing the Statement of Death. This will be done with information received from a family member and the medical certificate.

Obtain a death certificate

    Learn how to order a death certificate and get the application form for the deceased's province or territory.

What to cancel

Pensions and benefits

    Find out how to cancel the deceased's various benefits including Old Age Security, Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance and tax-related payments.
   

Personal identification
    Find out how to cancel the deceased's personal identification cards, registrations, and other documents.

Benefits you may be eligible to receive

    Survivor and death benefits
    Find out if you are eligible to receive survivor or death benefits.
   

Federal Income Support for Parents of Murdered Children
    Find out if you are eligible to receive this income support grant for parents coping with the death or disappearance of a child.

Managing personal finances

    Financial checklist
    Learn about the key financial matters to consider while overseeing the deceased's finances as an executor or administrator.