Whether you lost a loved one or looking to pre-plan, check out our step-by-step guides below to help walk you through the process.

When a death has occurred

1. Contact a funeral home or funeral service operator

Contact a funeral home or funeral service operator to complete the necessary paperwork, register the death and to transport the deceased.

2. Contact Estate Trustee

Generally, the person(s) appointed as the Estate Trustee (executor or executrix named in the will) has the legal authority to make decisions. Or when there is no will, an administrator is appointed by the court.

3. Determine casket and/or urn selection, obituary and flowers

When working with a funeral service operator there are many decisions to be made such as: casket and/or urn selection, obituary, flowers and other service details.

4. Choose type of service

Types of services that can be held for the deceased are:

  • Visitation: is an event that gives friends and family the opportunity to gather and express sympathy and to share their support for the family of the deceased. Typically this event is held in a quiet, casual environment such as a funeral home or chapel. Visitation is typically held in a large room with the deceased present in a casket (open or closed) or in an urn. 
  • Service: A funeral service is a formal event where friends and family mourn the deceased. This service is usually led by an officiant, spiritual leader or family member, the event can take place in different venues such as a funeral home, church or Centre. At this service usually music is played, readings, stories and photos are shared about deceased.
  • Reception: Families can choose to have a reception. This usually includes food and beverages for friends and families following the service.
5. If being cremated, make arrangements

The cremation process takes place at a crematorium. Families can specify to their funeral service provider which crematorium they prefer the cremation to take place. Depending on the crematorium, families can choose to accompany their loved ones.

Check out our cremation guide for families for more information.

6. Choose final resting place

Cemeteries have many options to choose from for a final resting place. There is in-ground options for either casket or urn interment, or families can choose an above ground option, such as a crypt for casket interment or a niche within a columbarium for urn interment (i.e. placed in a wall), some cemeteries have scattering gardens available for cremated remains to be scattered. Check out our final resting place options.

Graveside service: typically, cemeteries offer families the opportunity to have a service at the final resting place at the cemetery prior to the interment. This can be facilitated by an officiant, funeral director, clergy or family. There can be readings, storytelling or families can simply be present to witness the interment.

Memorialization: depending on the final resting place you choose, there can be various memorial options. This can include a granite upright monument, or a granite flat markers, or a bronze plaque. Confirm what type of memorial is permitted at the final resting place at the time you purchase.

Want to have a permanent tribute to your loved one? Check out our tribute options.

Pre-planning in advance of need

1. Explore your options

Planning ahead lets you make your own decisions, saves your family from making unexpected decisions at a difficult time, and when you prepay you are also protected from inflation.

2. Speak to your executor

Provide your executor(s) with a copy of your will and a contact list of who should be notified.

3. Choose a funeral service operator

Choose a funeral service operator and schedule an appointment to review your wishes and options. The funeral service provider will have payment plan options to pre-pay funeral expenses.

4. Choose a cemetery

Choose a cemetery and schedule an appointment to review final resting place options. Typically, cemeteries have payment plan options to pre-pay cemetery expenses.

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