Reminder List for Arranging a Funeral
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At the Time of Death
Preparation for Funeral Arrangement Conference
Funeral Arrangement Conference
Checklist Prior to Scheduled Funeral Service
After the Funeral Service
At Foster & McGarvey, we know from our own losses that attending to the many details that must be dealt with when a loved one has died can be quite overwhelming. To help ease the burden of remembering everything that needs to be done, we have created this reminder list for the families who have entrusted their loved one's funeral arrangements to our care.
Please be assured that our Funeral Directors will be at your side every step of the way. They are uniquely qualified to make recommendations, anticipate concerns and ensure that your wishes are carried out with compassion and world-class family care.
Being a family-owned funeral home, we know that your needs do not end once the funeral service is over. That is why our service to your family does not end with the funeral service either. Please ask one of our Funeral Directors about Family Care or click here to learn more about this complimentary program available to you and your family.
Important Notice: Before any final funeral arrangements are confirmed (e.g., publication of the obituary; notification of family and friends), the family should speak to the officiating minister/celebrant, as well a Funeral Director at one of our three Chapel locations and the facility where the funeral services are scheduled to take place. This is to avoid telling family and friends where and when the funeral will be happening only to discover that the minister/celebrant and/or facility is not available on the day and/or time you have specified.
- If the death takes place in a hospital or similar care facility, the nurses and/or staff will usually take care of contacting the attending physician while the family will usually make the initial phone call to Foster & McGarvey. (Our three Chapel locations are available by telephone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.) Once we have received the initial call, we will ensure that one of our Funeral Directors receives your loved one from the hospital or care facility.
- If the death occurs at home and was sudden or unexpected call 911. If the deceased was under the care of a physician and the death was expected, contact the physician and homecare nurse instead of calling 911. After speaking to and receiving instructions from either the police and/or the attending physician contact, Foster & McGarvey.
- If you are employed, contact your employer and ask for time off to arrange and attend the funeral.
A little preparation before the funeral arrangement conference can help make the necessary decisions easier and less stressful for the family.
- Set up an appointment with one of our three Chapel locations for the funeral arrangement conference (conferences generally run between one and two hours)
- Invite family members and/or friends whose input in the funeral arrangements you would lik to have to the appointment.
- Review and complete the Information Required by the Funeral Home prior to the funeral arrangement conference.
- If you or your deceased loved one has not already decided, begin discussing the type, location, date and time of funeral services that your family would like.
- If applicable, contact your place of worship and pastor/minister or religious leader.
During the funeral arrangement conference, our Funeral Director will explain the many options available and assist in arranging and coordinating your wishes. Some of the items that may be discussed include:
- Registration of the death with the Government of Alberta (click here to review the information required)
- Burial or cremation
- Cemetery (final resting place for both casket burials and urns)
- Grave liner or vault for both casket and urn burials
- Place of service (place of worship, private facility, or one of our three chapel locations)
- Date and time of service
- Visitations/prayer service (family viewing only and/or public visitation)
- Minister or celebrant (Foster & McGarvey can assist with arranging a minister as per the family's needs and wishes)
- Burial clothing for the deceased (if required)
- Floral tributes (Foster & McGarvey has its own in-house flower shop, which serves all our chapel locations)
- Music (organist, pianist or recorded music)
- Memorial cards (handed out to family and friends at the funeral service)
- Guestbook and thank-you card stationery
- Obituary, including picture and/or logos being used (click here for more information on obituaries)
- Casket bearers and honorary bearers (if required)
- Reserved seating for the family during the funeral service
- Transportation to and from the service and/or cemetery for the casket, family members, bearers and minister (limousines and/or bus)
- Memorial donations (i.e., charities and foundations)
- Casket and/or urn
- Memorial luncheon (location, time and catering)
- Options for personalizing the funeral service (e.g., DVD tributes, balloon or dove releases, bagpiper, picture collages, memory table)
- Confirm minister/celebrant to officiate
- Contact cemetery and make necessary arrangements
- Confirm musician, soloist or recorded music for service
- Confirm dates, times and locations (visitation, prayer service, funeral service, sraveside and memorial luncheon)
- Notify extended family, friends, church community, unions and fraternal organizations
- Finalize obituary and give approval to Foster & McGarvey to publish it in the desired newspapers
- Select and notify casket and honorary bearers; provide Funeral Director with correct spelling of their first and last names
- Tell bearers to arrive 30 minutes prior to the funeral service and make their presence known to one of our Funeral Directors.
- Discuss all details pertaining to the funeral service with the minister/celebrant (readings, eulogies, speakers, music selections, special details and the actual order of service)
- Deliver clothing to Foster & McGarvey (if applicable); provide detailed written instructions if you wish any item to be returned prior to burial or cremation
- Deliver picture(s) for the obituary, memorial cards, enlarged portraits and/or DVD tribute to Foster & McGarvey
- Order floral tributes
- Arrange catering for memorial luncheon
- Inform family members of transportation arrangements to and from the service and cemetery (if limousines or bus are being used)
- Inform family members of seating arrangements during the funeral service (i.e., reserved seating)
- Inform Foster & McGarvey of the number of family sitting in the reserved section during the funeral service
- Prepare payment for caterer
- Prepare honorarium for minister
- Prepare honorarium for musicians
- Arrange for someone to watch the residence while the family is attending any scheduled funeral services
The following items may or may not be applicable:
- Send out thank-you cards
- Locate and review will
- Contact and/or retain lawyer for advice and assistance
- Contact life insurance company to help cover immediate expenses
- Give notice to beneficiaries regarding the contents of the will
- Locate and protect assets
- Protect business interests
- Collect valuables
- Open estate bank account
- Ensure all property is insured
- Assemble and value assets (e.g., real property, furniture, bank accounts, securities, business interests, jewellery)
- View safety deposit box to determine contents
- Determine if there are any agreements that apply to the assets (e.g., buy-sell agreement, shareholder's agreement)
- Determine if there is property located out of the province
- Apply for Canadian Pension Plan Benefits
- Notify Blue Cross and Alberta Health Care
- Order death certificates if required
- Cancel credit cards; obtain final statements
- Redirect mail
- Cancel subscriptions, memberships, etc.
- Arrange for the transfer of jointly held assets
- Assist lawyer in preparation of documents to apply for a Grant of Probate
- Contact lawyer and Public Trustee if minors are involved
- Determine with lawyer applicability of legislation (e.g., Family Relief Act,
- Matrimonial Property Act)
- Advertise for creditors
- File tax returns; obtain clearance certificate
- Pay taxes, debts, funeral expenses, etc.
- Prepare an accounting of the administration of the estate
- Determine with lawyer if any matrimonial agreement might affect the distribution of assets
- Convert assets to cash where appropriate
- Prepare and have all beneficiaries sign a release
- Distribute the assets of the estate
Note: Funeral expenses do not have to go to probate (most banks will pay the account(s) from the deceased's bank account).