Advice and Info

Advice and Info

The Cost of Dying:
Unlocking the Mystery
(Part 1)

Cost of dying: Unlocking the mystery

 Canadians Will Need $20,000 for Funeral Costs?

Establishing the true cost paid to a funeral service provider seems to be a real unknown for many. Inquiring minds I’ve met throughout my career seem to have a predetermined notion that “When I die, it’ll cost $15,000!” If you’ve had the TV on in the wee hours or late at night, you’ve watched the insurance company ads shrieking that “Canadians Will Need $20,000 for Funeral Costs!”

When their uncle died the funeral home charged them $42,000!

Throughout my career I’ve encountered numerous people who share a common version of what they’ve heard from a friend of a friend of a friend, that “when their uncle died, the funeral home in their town charged them $42,000 just for a plain and simple funeral, can you believe it??”  With all due respect; I’m still waiting on hold for the friend of a friend of a friend to provide the proof of the proof of the proof.

Although the cost for services vary from funeral home to funeral home; the Canadian average is somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000 dependent on the province, and whereabouts in the province you live. Provincial laws and regulations also factor in to the equation.

The service requirements provided by the funeral home, the merchandise items and ceremony details, based on what survivors select and choose, are what determines the cost.

Call it what you want; it’s still memorialization

One must first understand that although society has conjured up various labels to describe a death ceremony – call it whatever you want and orchestrate it however you so choose; the things we do when death occurs are forms of ‘memorialization.’ Peruse an obituary posting and scroll down three quarters of the way to the ceremony details; you’ll discover there are many ways to memorialize a life.  Nowadays you can attend one of several immortal gatherings: a Funeral Service, Memorial Service, Mass of Christian Burial, Celebration of Life, Memorial Gathering, Life Honoring Celebration, Graveside Tribute Service, Memorial Social Gathering, Private Gathering of Close Friends and Family, to name a few.

The reality is simply this; costs at the funeral home aren’t based on a re-branded name for ‘memorialization.’ A funeral home’s fee schedule is standard and relatively simple.

Arriving at a total cost

Perhaps the easiest way to understand costs at a funeral home is by knowing what is involved, what is provided and what the total cost actually entails – everything beyond the arrangements and discussions with a Funeral Director and all the tasks that exist. 

A simple way to  comprehend the total cost of dying might be to  approach it no different than establishing the total cost of a vacation; factor in all the items and details that make up the total and final cost.

Think about your last winter getaway out of the cold; there were roughly 5 main components that made up the total cost that more than likely included:

  • Flights
  • Accommodations
  • Meals
  • Beverages
  • Tours/Entertainment

Using that same approach, the money paid to a funeral service provider generally consists of 3 main components:

  • Professional services
  • Merchandise selections
  • Disbursement funds

Unlocking the mystery of a funeral service providers costs is rather plain and simple; by obtaining the knowledge and understanding, you’ll realize there’s really no mystery at all.