One of the hardest things in life that we all inevitably face is losing the people we love most. When my grandmother passed away unexpectedly in January, without having an opportunity to communicate her wishes for end-of-life, my family and I were immediately overwhelmed and divided on how to proceed. Coming from a modest family background, we didn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on an elaborate send-off which added to the stress of making arrangements during an already difficult time.
We knew that she wanted to be cremated and desired a small intimate celebration of life. However, as she was the first significant loss our family had ever experienced, we had little knowledge of who to go to for cremation and funeral services. We didn’t know who we could trust, let alone afford.
In Canada, the average direct cremation costs approximately $5,000, which to many families (mine included) is an exorbitant amount of money to have to spend in the wake of an unexpected loss, especially given that the $5,000 price tag doesn’t include any sort of memorial, funeral, or send-off.
Despite not having made concrete plans for end-of-life, we knew that my grandmother wouldn’t want us to go into debt in order to honour her wishes. But the stress of having to make arrangements for her left us wondering if there was a way we could have prevented this extremely stressful and overwhelming situation.
As it turns out, there are funeral homes that do allow you to pre-plan and pre-pay for a cremation, one of them being Eirene Cremations. By using a service such as Eirene to pre-pay for your cremation as part of your estate planning process, you can ensure that your loved ones are protected from added stress during a time when they should be focused on sharing memories, celebrating your life and grieving.
When you pre-arrange and pre-pay for a cremation, the money you set aside is paid directly to the funeral provider for the package price you locked in upon signing. Any leftover funds are then handed over to your designated beneficiaries.
Pre-paying for a cremation differs from life insurance in that while the beneficiary of your life insurance policy can use some of those funds to pay for funeral expenses, insurance policy funds are generally intended for expenses related to everyday life.
So why pre-pay?
Well, the cost of cremation and funeral arrangements have nearly doubled over the last 10 years — and show no signs of slowing down. When you take the time to pre-pay for a cremation, it allows you to lock in today’s price for a direct cremation in the future. Which also helps you avoid the sometimes pushy and ambiguous sales tactics employed by funeral homes.
For those of you who are intrigued by the idea of pre-paying, below is an example of how services such as those that Eirene facilitates, function through an online platform.
Step 1: Enter some vital details through the online arrangement platform, and sign the documentation needed for your final arrangements.
Step 2: From here, you will be securely connected to the insurance partner, where you can purchase your funeral insurance safely and securely.
Step 3: Following your purchase of funeral insurance, you will complete and sign the documentation needed for your final arrangements. This process is done entirely online and easy to navigate.
Step 4: When you or your loved one passes, your coverage is confirmed, and the cremation is arranged at the original price that was guaranteed upon the purchase of your policy.
Step 5: Once your coverage is confirmed, your policy is paid out to your service provider within 48 hours to pay for the final arrangements. After paying out your funeral arrangement funds, any leftover funds are paid out to the policy's beneficiary. This could be a family member or the estate depending on who you have designated upon signing up.
As I experienced first hand, when our loved ones don’t take the time to plan for a funeral, cremation, or set aside a funeral fund, the burden often falls on grieving family members. However, taking the time to pre-plan and pre-pay for your funeral helps protect your family from unexpected expenses and ensures that they are left with fond memories instead of financial burden.