Preplanning a Funeral

Usually the task of arranging for a funeral falls to a couple of family members or a single survivor who may have little or no warning. These people are most often unprepared for the many decisions that will need to be made. Pre-arrangement and pre-financing of funeral services may be considered. Making your wishes known in advance can do much to help loved ones carry them out. Discussing arrangements with your family is essential as the funeral affects them most directly.

Here are some of the benefits of pre-planning funeral arrangements:

  • Allows you to make rational decisions. Someone else, perhaps overcome with grief, might find it difficult to make rational, logical decisions on your behalf.
  • You may prepay expenses outright or by installments.

A funeral paid for in advance of need can be a good investment. With today’s inflation rate moving ever upward, your costs are fixed. Today more than ever, people are choosing to preplan or prepay for their own funeral or cemetery arrangements. Such planning spares survivors be required to make arrangements on short notice, reduces emotional strain and helps to ensure that the wishes of the deceased will be respected.

Because the Last Will and Testament is often read after the funeral, the best approach is for a person to speak to the family and a funeral director about arrangements, then write those wishes down and keep in a known place. The person who sets these personal wishes down will be performing a thoughtful gesture. A pre-arranged funeral plan may be arranged with most British Columbia Funeral Association members.


Preplanning can include prepaying for funeral arrangements. There is no centralized database to record prepaid funeral arrangements and it is up to you to ensure this contract can be easily located by your family members at the time of need. 

There are two types of contracts: trust contracts and insurance contracts. Trust contracts relate to any Funeral Service provider who is paid directly for preneed services or supplies, with the requirement for them to place monies received in trust. Insurance Contracts allow for the provision of Funeral related supplies or services to be funded in whole, or in part, by an insurance policy or annuity. 

For clarification, the content below relates to a trust contract. For more information about insurance contracts, please contact your insurance provider.

  • Funeral services plan contracts are required by law to include an itemized listing of all goods and services purchased and any other costs involved.
  • Money collected under a prepaid agreement must be placed in a government regulated trust account within 21 days.
  • The full sum of the agreement may be collected or an amount may be agreed upon to be paid on a monthly or time basis
  • A prepaid agreement may be canceled at any time. The funeral provider is entitled to a deduction for selling expenses of not more than 20 per cent of the amount received.
  • In a prepaid plan, the cost, with the exception of changes to taxation, does not increase even if the services do not take place for many years.
  • With many funeral providers you can have a preplanned arrangement without prepaying. For example, you may register your wishes at a funeral home for no fee.
Direct Selling

Funeral homes and cemeteries are prohibited by the Cremation Interment and Funeral Services Act to engage in direct selling at a person’s residence or to engage in telephone solicitation. An individual selling funeral and or cemetery arrangements may enter your home after receiving an invitation from you at least twenty-four hours in advance. This ban also applies to direct selling of any form of insurance intended to provide for cemetery property, funeral service and memorials.

Any concerns should be directed to Consumer Protection British Columbia – telephone: 888-564-9963 or (604) 320-1667.

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