General Funeral FAQs
Should I or Shouldn't I go to the Funeral Service?
Historically, formal invitations are not sent out for funeral or memorial services, which can make it hard to know if you should attend or not. Generally, as a rule, if you want to attend the funeral or memorial service, and the event is open to guests, then you can and should go.
What is a funeral?
A funeral is a ceremony for a deceased person before/after burial or cremation. A funeral gives the opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to gather and mourn the passing of their loved one, to share cherished memories and celebrate their life. A funeral is a vital first step to help the bereaved heal after the loss of someone special.
What type of service should I have?
If no pre-arrangements have been made, the type of service is entirely up to you. Services are usually held at a funeral home or a place of worship. There is a wealth of different services, ranging from a traditional religious or military service to something a little more non-traditional. Our funeral directors are more than happy to work with you to figure out what would be the most appropriate.
Can I personalize a funeral?
Of course you can, in fact more and more people are opting for a more non-traditional personalized service. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate somebody’s life. There are many unique ways to celebrate life, let the funeral director know exactly what your desires are and they will honor your wishes.
Do we need to have an obituary notice and what is included in one?
It is highly recommended to have an obituary notice that’s either placed in a local newspaper, or placed online. An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred, and gives them information about the service. Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city and date of birth and the city they were living in when they died. It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse, along with the names of anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children or grandchildren. Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you may include a little blurb on the life and legacy of the deceased. An online obituary or memorial website offers you the chance to add a lot more about the deceased.
Who are funeral directors and what do they do?
Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death. They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family in regards to the funeral service and the final resting place of the body. Beyond the logistics, funeral directors are there to provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with death.
What happens if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?
We are here to help, funeral directors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
What if a death occurs away from my home town?
We are here to help, we can arrange to have the loved one transported home from anywhere in the world. We will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have them returned to the community.
What is embalming and what purpose does it serve?
Embalming sanitizes and preserves the body; it also slows down the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of the body damaged by traumatic death or illness. Embalming gives time to the family of the deceased to arrange a service, and allows the family the option of having an open-casket viewing.
Do I need to have an embalming?
No. In fact some religions forbid embalming. However, some countries require embalming by law in order for remains to leave or enter the country. If it is not against your religious custom, embalming is recommended, especially if there is an extended time between death and burial or cremation.
How much does a funeral cost?
The cost of the funeral varies depending on the wishes you have. The average cost of a funeral is between $5,500-$8,000, however, the most basic of services can cost as little as $1900. The cost includes all professional services including transportation, embalming (as required) and other preparations, the use of a facility for the ceremony, and the purchase of a casket or urn.
Why are funerals so expensive?
Funerals are labor intensive and require a lot of work from a lot of people. The cost of a funeral goes beyond merchandise such as caskets, it includes the services of a funeral director in making the necessary arrangements, filling out forms, and dealing with all the other people involved in the death (doctors, lawyers, insurance companies). Funeral directors work an average of 70 man hours per funeral. The cost of operating a funeral home is factored into the cost as well. Funeral homes are a 24 hour operation, with extensive facilities that need to be maintained and secured.
What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled?
It is suggested you talk with the funeral home and see if you can come to a satisfactory conclusion. In Canada, funeral services are regulated provincially and this information can be found on the Canadian Consumer Information website at www.consumerinformation.ca
Legal Funeral FAQs
Do I need a lawyer for a funeral?
A lawyer may be needed depending on the size and complexity of the estate. Most lawyers will provide a free consultation to determine if you will require a lawyer.
What happens to the bank accounts of the deceased?
What is to be done with bank accounts after a death varies regionally. In some regions, bank accounts are automatically frozen after a death. To avoid any complications, the bank should be notified immediately, and you should find out the procedures for releasing these funds, and how to set up a new account for funds received after the death. It’s recommended that a joint account stay open for at least six months to allow you to deposit any cheques that are made out to the deceased. To take a name off a joint bank account, banks require a Certified Copy of a Death Certificate. If the deceased had a safety deposit box in a bank, the contents can be sealed after death and the original Death Certificate will be required to gain access to the contents.
How do I obtain a death certificate?
A Death Certificate is necessary before anything can be done. A death certificate can be obtained through a Funeral Director. It is a good idea to obtain at least 2 copies of a death certificate as most agencies require to see the original.
For more information on Death Certificates in British Columbia:
Am I required to use The funeral home That owns a cemetery?
The answer simply is no. You may use the funeral home of your choice regardless of where your cemetery plot is located. Often private cemeteries are part of a corporate entity and many own their own funeral homes. The service advisor will want to refer or take you to their funeral home if arrangements for the funeral are not in place and vice versus if you do not own a plot.
What is an executor?
An executor is the personal representative of your estate. They are the person in charge of taking control of your assets, paying off any debts, and distributing assets to your beneficiaries per the terms and conditions of your will. You can choose anyone to be the executor of your will, but it is a good idea to choose someone who is both competent and trustworthy. The person you choose to be executor should be outlined in your will. Someone you appoint to be the executor of your will has the right to refuse, so you should have a backup executor in place just in case.
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process that transfers the legal title of property from the estate of the deceased to their beneficiaries. During the probate process the executor of your will goes before the courts and identifies and catalogs all the property you owned, appraises the property, and pays all debts and taxes, proves that the will is valid and legal, and distributes the property according to the instructions of the will. Probate can be a long, drawn-out legal process, and there are some probate-avoidance plans in place. Simply speak to your attorney to find out what you can do to avoid probate in your area.
How do I make a will?
Everyone knows they should have a will, but the vast majority – about 70% of us – do not. Writing a will is easy and inexpensive, and once you are done you can rest easy knowing your hard earned money and property will be distributed according to your wishes. As well, if you have children, you can leave instructions on who will be left in charge of them if you pass, leaving that decision out of the courts hands. Making a will is easy, you just need to be at least 18 years of age and must be of sound mind when the will is written. To make a will legal it must:
- Expressly state that it is your will
- Be computer generated or typewritten
- Be signed and dated
- Be signed by 2-3 witnesses, these witnesses must be people who don’t stand to inherit anything in the will
Although you do not need a notary or lawyer to complete a will, it is recommended to do one with a notary or a lawyer, as it will avoid any legal headaches after your passing. Once your will is complete, it’s recommended that it is kept somewhere safe and secure outside of your home. If you do your will through a lawyer, most law firms will store it for you free of charge. Many people keep their wills in a safety deposit box at a bank, but this is not recommended as the contents could be sealed at the time of death. The executor of your will should be aware of the location of it.
Local Resources FAQ
What are the benefits of preplanning a funeral?
How do I find a notary public to prepare a will?
Most local notaries can help you prepare and finalize a will. If you need our suggestion, we recommend Donna Van Beek in Langley. The address is:
201 - 20171 92A Avenue
Langley, BC V1M 3A5
Why do people send flowers to a funeral?
Flowers have the power to say many things, and perhaps one of their most important functions in some cultures is their ability to express sympathy and grief when a loved one passes away. Along with showing support for the bereaved, flowers are also a way of paying tribute to the dead, and showing respect for those who are no longer here. Read more.
What churches are commonly used for funerals?
Below is a list of Langley churches that can accommodate a funeral service:
St. Andrew's Anglican Church
20955 Old Yale Rd Langley, BC
St. Dunstan's Anglican Church
3025 264 St, Langley, BC
St. George Anglican Church
9160 Church St., Fort Langley, BC
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
20097 72nd Avenue
Langley, B.C. V2Y 4J8
Pastor Kristen Steele
St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church
20675 87 Ave, Langley, BC
St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church
20676 Fraser Hwy, Langley, BC
Langley Gospel Hall
4775 221 St, Langley, BC
Christian Life Assembly
21277 56 Ave, Langley, BC
The Grove Church
20784 93rd Avenue, Langley, B.C
Northwest Langley Baptist Church
20025 91A Ave. Langley, BC
Walnut Grove Lutheran Church
20530 88 Ave, Langley, BC
North Langley Community Church
21015 96 Avenue Langley, BC
Emmaus Christian Fellowship
9205 209A Crescent, Langley, BC
21183 88 Ave, Langley, BC
Riverside Calvary Chapel
20178 96 Ave, Langley, BC
9095 Glover Road Fort Langley, BC
Fort Langley Evangelical Free Church
8870 Glover Road Fort Langley , BC
St. Andrew’s United Church
9025 Glover Rd, Fort Langley, BC
Sharon United Church
21562 Old Yale Rd., Langley, BC
Langley United Church
5673 200th St, Langley, BC
Canadian Reformed Church of Willoughby Heights
7949 - 202A Street Langley, BC
Canadian Reformed Church of Langley
21804 52 Avenue Langley, BC
Mountain View Alliance Church
7640 - 200th Street Langley, BC
Salvation Army Langley Community Church
5787 Langley Bypass Langley, BC
North Langley Community Church
21015 96 Avenue
Langley, BC V1M 2Z3
Christ The King Catholic Church
22630 48 Ave Langley, BC V2Z 2T6
Harvest Baptist Church
22594 Old Yale Rd, Langley, BC V2Z 2V4
Ph: 604- 534-2010
What cemeteries are in Langley and Surrey?
The following cemetery locations can be found in Langley and Surrey:
Cemetery Locations Township of Langley
Fort Langley Cemetery
23105 St. Andrews Avenue
Langley Lawn Cemetery
4393 - 208 Street
21405 - 44 Avenue
4700 – 224 St
Langley, British Columbia V2Z 1N4
Gardens of Gethsemani Catholic Cemetery
15800 32 Ave
Surrey, BC V3Z 9V1
Cemetery Locations in the City of Surrey
Surrey Centre Cemetery
16671 Old McLellan Road, Surrey BC
Sunnyside Lawn Cemetery
14850 - 28th Avenue, Surrey BC
19198 - 16th Avenue, Surrey BC
City of Surrey Cemeteries
14850 – 28 Avenue Surrey, BC V3S 3Y1
Funeral Etiquette FAQ
What is acceptable behaviour at a funeral?
Express your condolences – It's not easy to come up with the words to offer sympathy to someone who has just lost a loved one. You don't need to be a poet, simply saying something like "I am sorry for your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family" is enough. If you can't be at a funeral service in person, sending a card or leaving a message on a memorial website is a perfect way to express your sympathy.
Dress appropriately – Gone are the days of dressing up in all black for a funeral, but jeans and a t-shirt isn't exactly acceptable either. You should still dress to impress and avoid any bright or flashy colors. Wearing what you would wear for a wedding or a job interview would be the most appropriate.
Sign the register book – The family will keep the register book as a memento for years. Be sure to include your full name and relationship to the deceased.
Give a gift – You don’t need to go overboard with your gift, after all it is the thought that counts. Suitable gifts include; flowers, a donation to the charity of the family’s choice, or you can make a commitment of service to the family at a later date. A commitment of service can be something as simple as cooking them dinner, or offering to clean up their house, any of the “little” things that may be neglected while a family deals with death. Make sure you provide a signed card so the family knows who gave the gift.
Keep in Touch – You may feel that the family needs their space and time to grieve, but a simple phone call or note after the funeral lets the family know you care. With social networking leaving a quick note is as simple as a click of a mouse. The months following a death is when grieving friends and family need the most support.
What behaviour is not acceptable during a funeral?
Bring your cell phone – Your phone ringing will be highly inappropriate and will cause a disturbance, so turn any ringers or notifications off. Even better, leave your phone at home or in your car, a funeral is not the time to be texting or checking your messages.
Allow your children to be a distraction – From a very young age children are aware of death, and if the funeral is for someone that was close to them (grandparent, aunt, uncle) they should be given the option to attend. However if it is not appropriate for your child to be there, and if you feel they will cause a commotion, leave them with a babysitter.
Don't be afraid to remember the good times – Funerals are obviously a time of grieving and mourning, but remembering the good times helps with the healing process. Sharing a funny and appropriate story is acceptable, and in some cases exactly what the deceased would have wanted.
Overindulge - If food or drink is served, do not over do it. Have a bite to eat before you go to the service, you do not want to be that guy parked at the snack table. If alcohol is served, limit yourself to one or two, do not become inebriated and risk doing something inappropriate.
Writing a Eulogy FAQ
How do I Write a Eulogy?
Giving a meaningful, moving eulogy can be a nerve-wracking situation for even the most accomplished public speaker, but it need not be. How can you summarize somebody's life in a few short minutes, while being both somber and funny at the same time? Writing and delivering a eulogy is a therapeutic tool to help deal with your grief, and being chosen to give a eulogy is an honor and should be treated that way. Here are some tips for writing and delivering an eloquent and memorable eulogy.
Gather information. Talk with family members, close friends and co-workers to get important information on the deceased. Some important information to include in the eulogy is the persons family and other close relationships, their education/career, hobbies or special interests, places the person lived or travelled too, and any special accomplishments they had.
Organize your thoughts. Jot down your ideas by whatever means are most comfortable and familiar to you. Create an outline of your speech, and fill in the information that you gathered about the person.
Write it down. This is not a toast at a wedding where you can make off the cuff remarks, and you should not adlib a eulogy. Writing it all down allows you to include and remember every detail you wanted in your eulogy. When you bring a copy of your eulogy to the podium make sure it is easy to read, print it out in a large font, or if it is hand-written leave a few spaces between the lines. Keep in mind your time constraints, it's best to keep things on the short side, especially if there are other speakers.
Review and Revise. Your first draft will not be the last. When you think you are done, sleep on it and look it over in the morning when it is fresh again, that will be the time to make any necessary revisions.
Practice, Practice, Practice. Read over your eulogy several times in order to become familiar with it. Practice in front of a mirror, read it over to some friends or family and have them give you feedback. Become familiar with your speech so you can recite it without making it look like you’re reading from a script. The more you practice the more comfortable you will be.
Make them laugh, but be respectful. A funeral is not a roast, however there is room for humor in your eulogy. Fondly remember a story about the person that everyone can relate too. Keep it appropriate, there will be children and the elderly there that may not share the same sense of humor. Laughter is truly the best medicine, and some well placed humor will help people cope, and will bring back fond memories of the deceased.
Don’t be afraid to show emotion. Funerals are an extremely emotional event, nobody expects you not to shed a few tears. However, if you feel that you will be too strongly overcome by your emotions, have a back-up plan in place where someone you trust can deliver the eulogy for you. Give them a copy well in advance if you feel this could be an issue.
Have a glass of water as well as tissues handy.
How do I write an Obituary Notice?
Writing an obituary is a difficult and emotional task. First, you will need to gather information from family and friends of the deceased about their childhood, education, career and hobbies and interests. As well, speak to the funeral home to receive any important information on the date, time and location of any funeral service, or other funeral related events. Using the template will help make the process easier and will ensure you write a properly structured obituary.
Instructions: Replace all items in ITALICS below with the appropriate information.
[GIVEN NAME] [MIDDLE NAME (AND NICKNAME)] [SURNAME NAME], [AGE], [STATE], passed away on [DATE OF DEATH] in [LOCATION OF DEATH].
Funeral service will be held at [LOCATION] on [DATE] at [TIME] with Reverend [NAME] of [CHURCH] officiating. Burial will follow at [CEMETERY NAME], [CEMETERY LOCATION]. Visitation will be held at [LOCATION] on [DATE] at [TIME]. [NAME OF FUNERAL HOME] will be handling the funeral arrangements.
[NAME] was born in [LOCATION OF BIRTH] to [PARENT’S NAMES] on [DATE OF BIRTH]. He/she went to high school at [SCHOOL NAME] and graduated in [YEAR]. He/she went on to earn a degree/certificate in [DEGREE TYPE] from [SCHOOL NAME]. He/she worked as a [JOB TYPE] for [COMPANY] for [NUMBER OF YEARS]. He/she enjoyed [ACTIVITIES/HOBBIES]. He/she received [AWARDS/HONORS] and was involved in [CHARITIES/ORGANIZATIONS].
[NAME] is survived by his/her [RELATION], [NAME] of [CITY]. (List all survivors: spouse children, siblings, parents, grandchildren, nieces and nephews). He/she is preceded in death by his/her [RELATION], [NAME]. (List predeceased: spouse, parents, children and siblings.)
Memorial donations may be made to [ORGANIZATION NAME], [MAILING ADDRESS]. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to [ORGANIZATION/NAME] [FINAL WORDS].
Remember most newspapers charge by the word, this template is good for getting the all the information necessary in as few words possible. However, this template is not written in stone. You can make any adjustments you feel necessary.