Q. Is the price of a prepaid service guaranteed?
A. All prepaid contracts are guaranteed if signed after July 1, 2012.
Q. What happens if there is an excess of funds after a guaranteed prepaid funeral has been provided?
A. 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 discretion of the funeral establishment.
Q. How are prepaid funds protected?
A. 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 paid. Within 10 days of the investment of the prepaid funds, the funeral establishment operator must deliver to the purchaser an investment receipt from the financial institution where the investment has been held in trust for you.
Tissue and organ donations
Q. Does my age, pre-existing medical condition, or sexual orientation prevent me from being a donor?
A. Everyone can be a donor regardless of age, medical condition or sexual orientation.
Q. How do you know if organs and tissue are suitable to donate?
A. Eligibility to donate is assessed at the time of death by Trillium Gift of Life Network Coordinators. Most diseases do not automatically exclude a person from donating. Testing is done to confirm the medical suitability of the organs and tissues and to determine who is the best match for transplant. Every organ is tested for suitability to ensure that as many people as possible can be helped through transplant. Organs or tissue not suitable for transplantation can be used for scientific research and medical education. Currently important research is being done on diseases of the eye, improving the quality of lungs to see if they can be transplanted, and collecting stem cells from the spinal cord to help patients with spinal cord injuries.
Q. What organs and tissue can be donated?
A. Organs and tissues that can be donated include the heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, small bowel, stomach, corneas (eyes), heart valves, bone and skin.
Q. Can anyone register to be an organ and tissue donor?
A. Any Ontario resident who is at least 16 years of age can register their consent to donate their organs and tissues after their death. (Information from www.giftoflife.on.ca, Trillium Gift of Life Network, 416-619-2306)
Last year in Ontario over 1200 individuals had their sight restored by corneal transplants made possible by eye donations. Currently, there is a critical shortage and 59 surgeries had to be cancelled due to lack of available tissue.
Q. Is the whole eye transplanted?
No, only the cornea (clear, front part of the eye) is used for corneal transplants. The sclera (white part) can sometimes be used for sight-saving surgery. The rest of the eye can be used for research (if you wish) to aid in future treatment of eye disease.
Q. I have cancer. Can I donate my eyes?
Yes, individuals with cancer can still donate their eyes, except for those with cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma or cancer/tumours of the eye itself.
Q. I wear glasses. Can I donate my eyes?
Yes, even totally blind people can donate their eyes because there is no relationship between poor eyesight and eye donors.
Q. How can I become an eye donor?
You can obtain a donor card from any CNIB office, the Eye Bank or fill in the donor information on your driver’s license. (Information on eye donations from firstname.lastname@example.org 416-978-7355).
Your Family Will Thank You
Have you completed and filed your Funeral Prearrangement Form and registered your wishes with the Funeral Home you have chosen?
If the answer is yes, your family will not have to make difficult decisions under trying circumstances, and know that your wishes were clearly registered.
By completing the Funeral Prearrangement Form (included in the Membership Kit), all of the required information will be available to the Funeral Director, to complete the provincial documentation.
At a time of great emotional upset, if mourners need to search through files looking for information, such as, the maiden name of one’s mother and her place of birth, the father’s place of birth, that can be very stressful.
When the Prearrangement Form is completed and signed by the Funeral Director, one copy will be filed at the Funeral Home, and two copies returned to the member. The Yellow card with the name of the chosen Funeral Home should then be sent to FAMS.
So with one phone call at the time of death, your wishes can be carried out and your family (or executor) will be grateful to you for your foresight and thoughtfulness in expressing your choices.
(From the Government of Ontario’s Board of Funeral Services Website}
Q. Who is responsible for final arrangements?
A. 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 for final arrangements.
Q. Is embalming required in Ontario?
A. Embalming is not required in Ontario but may be necessary under some circumstances.
Q. Can services be prearranged?
A. Yes, services can be prearranged through a funeral home or transfer service.
Q. How much do funerals and transfer services cost?
A. 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.
Q. When will I find out the cost of the goods and services that I have selected?
A. At the time the arrangements are agreed upon, the funeral director or transfer service operator must give you a written contract including the total price of the goods and services selected and estimate of any disbursements. The contract must be approved and signed by the person making the arrangements with the funeral director or transfer service operator.
Q. Is it necessary to retain the services of a funeral director or transfer service operator for all deaths?
A. No. It is possible to bury a member of your own family provided you comply with the relevant legislation.
Q. What are cash disbursements?
A. Cash disbursements are payments made by the funeral director on your behalf, which 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.
Q. What happens if I don’t want a traditional funeral?
A. All funeral homes must offer an inexpensive service known as ‘direct disposition.’ Transfer Services are companies that may only offer the ‘direct disposition’ option.
Q. What is a direct disposition?
A. 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. It does not include visitation or services with the body present.
Death Away from Home
A call should be made to the funeral home where the member’s prearrangement form is filed. In the USA, the Funeral Consumers Alliance at 802-482-3437 should be called. It is to be noted that it is very expensive to return a body. It would be wiser for the relatives of the member to have the body buried or cremated at the place of death.
Price Lists for Funerals
Funeral home operators are required to maintain an up-to-date price list of services and items. This price list must be displayed at the front entrance or a sign must be posted informing consumers that price lists are available at no cost or obligation upon request. And, before entering a contract, an operator must offer a price list.