Funeral and Estate Checklist
Excellent service. Mr. O'Sullivan was outstanding in making all the arrangements and giving our family the best advice when needed. He was quick to take charge and put our minds at ease. We would highly recommend Affordable Funeral Services and John O'Sullivan for any funeral service needed.
What a great company, excellent customer service and affordable prices. In a time of need they know how to look after you. The funeral service was beautiful and simple. Perfect.
Words cannot express my gratitude for the service you have provided. You made a difficult time bearable and assisted in this part of the healing process. Your patience and guidance removed all the fears and stress I had. I am tremendously grateful for the personal care you and your staff take in your work. I will forever recommend your funeral service to all.
This was really a wonderful and happy experience. Never thought I would say this about a memorial service, but it is exactly what my father would have wanted. Laughing, joking and outrageous life stories, what an experience. A family gathered eulogy was perfect, everyone commented how absolutely unique it was. Greatest idea ever, it took all the pain out and brought all the love in.
Thank you for handling all the details of my father's cremation on our behalf. With no one in Canada, it was comforting knowing someone honest and kind was there to look after my father and all the arrangements. It took away the worry and made everything easier. Blessing.
Our family is so appreciative of the service you and your staff provided. You took away the stress and worry of dealing with so many issues at a time when we could not. As I said, "I couldn't do your job", but I am so glad you can and with such honestly and kindness. We will pass your name to anyone in need.
Our family wants to thank you for your caring and kindness during our recent difficult and stressful time. A mother's passing is always the most difficult time for any family. We truly appreciate your professionalism regarding her funeral, but it is your honestly and caring showed to each and every member of our family and friends that really stands out. Yours is not only a business, but a personal service.
What a welcome service this is. These days, funerals have become so impersonal and 'business-like' that bringing them back into the Church, where we bade our loved ones 'farewell' as they embark on their final journey, is very comforting. The cost of funerals is so horrendous, it's almost cruel but, thank God, Affordable Funeral Services seems to have some compassion for those left behind to bear this expense. Thank you and Blessings for great success.
As promised, I am posting a 5-star review! You helped my friend's family above and beyond any funeral service anyone has ever experienced. Thank you for coming to their house multiple times and putting them in contact with all the right government agencies. This could have been a real burden on them, but all worries are gone. Thank you again.
We just want to say our big Thank You to you for your great assistance and help during our time of difficulty. Thank you for everything that you did for us. Thanks to the Holy Spirit for guiding us to you. God Bless
HANDLING THE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS DIED
When a person dies, someone is named to handle the funeral arrangements and/or estate matters. They are usually called “Executors” or “Trust Managers.” Here is a prepared checklist to assist you as you take on this responsibility. Obviously the initial steps are to either carry out the instructions of the deceased, or make those arrangements if they have not been made prior to death. This is a trying time for all who are involved. This checklist hopefully will assist you in your important and honored work.
This checklist is a general guide to the many duties an estate representative may be required to fulfil.
- Locate will and review to determine whether there are any special funeral directions. Ascertain whereabouts of beneficiaries.
- Upon receiving funeral account, take to the bank, with the Proof of Death Certificate, to arrange payment. Most institutions will issue a draft payable to the funeral home.
- Assist in making funeral arrangements, if necessary.
- Obtain “Funeral Director’s Proof of Death” (or apply for Provincial Death certificate if required.)
- List contents of the safety deposit box.
- Arrange for safe custody of personal valuables.
- Review adequacy of property insurance coverage and alter if necessary.
- If deceased lived in a rental property, terminate lease or arrange to sublet.
- Apply for the Canada Pension Plan Death Benefits, Survivors Benefits and Orphan’s Benefits.
- Cancel driver’s license, health card, SIN number, condo maintenance fees, mortgage payments, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, cable, club memberships, telephone and request refunds if appropriate.
- Confirm outstanding balances and cancel credit cards.
- Request Canada post to re-route mail.
- Ascertain assets and liabilities by writing to financial institutions, insurance companies, brokers, employer, RRSP/RRIF trustees.
- Obtain prior years tax returns. Prepare and file T1 returns for the previous year within 6 months of the date of death or April of that year, whichever is sooner.
- Locate and obtain title documents for real property, mortgages, share certificates, bonds, debentures and guaranteed investment certificates.
- Arrange valuations of real estate, securities, personal property, and automobiles.
- Arrange for a review of the investment portfolio.
- Send a copy of the Will to each residuary beneficiary.
- Notify legatees/devisees of benefit to be received under the will.
- Notify charities of the charitable bequests (and regulators where required).
- Open estate bank account (if required).
- Notify dividend and bond disbursing agents to change address or record.
- Prepare inventory of assets and liabilities. List assets by class, value, full particulars, maturity date, interest rate, payment frequency and dates.
- Obtain and meet with estate solicitor to complete application for probate. Make provisions for any fees that may be applicable.
Locate Estate Documents
- The first step in handling the affairs of a deceased family member or friend is to locate and review any legal paperwork that the deceased completed before their passing. They may have given you a copy of their paperwork or granted you access to it. Retrieve those documents and review them thoroughly.
- You will need to have proof that you have been put in charge of the affairs of the deceased. Keep a photocopy of the Estate Documents with you and be prepared to show that you have Power of Attorney, or been named as Executor, etc.
- After you have been notified of the deceased’s death, you must decide which funeral home/mortuary will handle the body. This choice must be communicated to the service who was caring for the person: hospice, hospital, nursing home, etc. If the body is in the custody of the Coroner or Medical Examiner, you will have to notify them of the same, prior to releasing the body.
- If the deceased has previously made and or paid for mortuary services, this process will be one of simply notifying the funeral home /mortuary previously selected.
- Hopefully, the deceased included a contact list of family members and/or friends who should be notified of their death. If not, create a contact list and proceed to notify them. You can also let them know which funeral home/mortuary is handling the arrangements. Notify them of the timing of funeral, if one is planned. (You don’t have to have a firm date, just a general notice of …..”Funeral to be held this week…..We will let you know when, etc.”)
Funeral Planning and Logistics
- Notify the funeral home/mortuary that you would like 10-15 original copies of the death certificate. You will need these to carry out many estate functions.
- The funeral home/mortuary will need to know about the deceased’s specific funeral arrangements or directions. Hopefully, the deceased will have made those arrangements previously, if not, then it will be up to you to make those arrangements.
- Is the body to be buried or cremated?
- Is a funeral to be held? Is it to be an open or closed casket service?
- If open casket (and it does not conflict with religious preferences) then the body will mostly likely need to be embalmed.
- Where is the internment (burial or placement of ashes) to take place? Are cremated remains to be scattered? Where?
- If burial is take place, a selection of a casket will need to be made.
- Select a date and time for funeral / internment.
- Write and submit an obituary. Did the deceased write this before dying or give directions regarding the obituary? If no directions were left, this task is usually carried out by members of the family.
- Headstone/grave marker? Was there an inscription preferred? If not, one must be written out with a style and design selected. (This actually can wait. Grave markers are usually placed sometime after the burial. No need to rush.)
- Are there special needs for the burial ceremony? Military? Religious?
- If a funeral was preferred, who will participate in the funeral service? Who will deliver the eulogy?
- Was a charity selected “in lieu of flowers”?
- Was a wake or memorial party preferred instead of a funeral?
There are many tasks that need to be completed to “close out” the affairs of someone who has died. In some cases, hiring an accountant or legal advisor would be recommended. Depending on the complexity or size of a person’s estate, you may be able to handle this yourself or you may need to seek professional help and consultation.
Documents to locate – Collect the deceased’s:
- Social Security Card
- Driver’s License
- Birth Certificate
- Safety Deposit Box info/keys
- Life Insurance Certificates
- Previous Tax Returns
- Marriage License
- Military Discharge Papers (if former military)
- Credit Cards
- Property Deeds
- Bank/Check Books
- Bank Statements
- Pension or Retirement fund info
- Divorce Papers (if divorced)
- Any Business Ownership paperwork
- Stocks, Bonds or Other investment documents
- Title to Motor Vehicles
Handling the arrangements for someone who has died —whether expected or not—takes a lot of time and energy to complete. It is a very important responsibility to carry out the plans, wishes, directions and desires of another. If you have to make those decisions without guidance, it can be a very demanding process. We hope you have found this checklist helpful. We sincerely wish you success in your efforts.
This list is not all inclusive. You should consult with professionals in the area of finances, law and estate matters.
Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), Guide for Individuals: