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Ask The Funeral Director FAQ’s

How do I prepare for my visit with a lawyer in regards to preparing a will?

Since a lawyer will need certain information to write a will, there are several steps you can take before the first interview to save time and expense.

• Make a list of everything you own including all valuables, property you own or which will belong to your estate at the time of your death, bank accounts, insurance policies and pensions;

• Make a list of jointly owned items;

• Consider or write down what you want your will to contain, including who is to get what, whom you want to act as your executor, and any special bequests of gifts you may have in mind;

• Obtain and list the names, addresses and occupations of the people named in the will;

• Consider discussing your plans with your family and anyone you wish to appoint as executor, guardian or trustee under the will.

During your first appointment, you should discuss:

• Availability of legal aid;

• How and what you will be charged;

• When you will be billed and what disbursements (out-of-pocket expenses) you may be charged in addition to the fees. You are paying for your lawyer’s time. Therefore, the less time you use, the less it will cost.

Here are some points on keeping costs down:

• Get all of your papers and documents together and organized prior to the appointment;

• Stick to the facts;

• Ask questions when you don’t understand;

• Ask what you can do to reduce your costs.

Reference: www.gov.mb.ca/shas/publications/docs/guide_for_seniors.pdf

I would like you to please post this on “Ask the Funeral Director” to warn other families about hidden costs and unaffordable services.” Andrea, Winnipeg

My mother passed away this week. Originally I selected a funeral home that quoted me $1400.00 for Simple Cremation. When I arrived to make arrangements I felt very pressured and the cost kept getting higher and higher. When my invoice was finally complete it was almost $5000.00. I walked out of the funeral home and was immediately recommended to call Voyage by friends who have used their services in the past.

At Voyage, I paid a total of $1680.00 for simple cremation with NO hidden costs and NO added pressure during my time of sorrow. Below is a list of hidden costs that were NOT included in the $1400.00 price I was quoted: Cremation Fee From $200.00 – $800.00 Cremation Container/ Casket From $200.00 – $4000.00 Identification Viewing From $150.00 – $600.00 Embalming/ Care & Preparation From $300.00 – $500.00 Removal Fee/ Transfer Fee From $200.00 – $500.00 Service Vehicles/ Limo From $150.00 – $400.00 Professional Service Fee From $1000.00 – $2000.00 Estate Protection From $100.00 – $250.00

I highly recommend calling and comparing before making final arrangements.

How soon do I need to apply for the Canada Pension Survivors Benefit?

As the survivor, you are responsible for applying for your monthly pension. If you are incapable of applying, you may have a representative (such as a trustee) apply for you. You should apply as soon as possible following the contributors’ death. If you delay, you may lose benefits. The Canada Pension Plan will only make back payments for up to 12 months. It takes approximately 6-12 weeks to receive payment, from the date your application has been received.

Will I lose my pension if I remarry?

No. Your pension will continue even if you remarry. If you are widowed more than once, only one survivor’s pension (the larger sum) will be paid.

What is considered a spouse or common law partner?

A spouse is a person to whom you are legally married. A common law partner is a person of either sex who has lived with you in a conjugal relationship for at least one year according to the Canada Pension Plan Legislation.

Do I have to probate a Will?

You are only required to probate a Will if there are assets in the deceased’s name alone. Some assets can be transferred without a probate order.

Examples of these kinds of assets are:

• The CPP Death Benefit,

• Life insurance proceeds payable to a named beneficiary; and

• Jointly held property with a right of survivorship

What are the current Probate Fees?

The fees are:

• $70.00 on the first $10,000.00 value of the estate and then:

• $7.00 per $1000.00 or a portion of a $1000.00 thereafter.

Where can I get court forms online?

You may find court forms online at: https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/rules/form_e.php

If a funeral home closes, what happens to my prepaid money?

At Voyage Funeral Home, your money is 100% safe and protected by an assurance company. Your funds can be transferred to any other establishment across North America. In Manitoba, legislation protects the consumer.

Why should I preplan my funeral?

1) It provides you peace-of-mind and takes the burden off of your loved ones.

2) At Voyage Funeral Home, it is a guarantee that we lock you in at today’s price.

3) Your final wishes are documented.

What kinds of preplanned arrangements are available?

1) A prepaid plan, paid by installments or a lump sum.

2) An Info File, where no funds are required.

My loved one is in a Personal Care Home and we don’t have funeral arrangements in place what happens should he pass away?

It is always advantageous to have a pre-planned funeral arrangement exists, you can simply call Voyage Funeral Home, and a funeral director will guide you in your home of need.

Voyage Funeral Home has directors on call 24 hours a day to assist you, and they will arrange to take your loved one into their care regardless of the hour.

You may also choose to tell the care home in advance that you would be using our funeral home at the time of death. If the care home is not aware of your choice of funeral home, they may transfer your loved one to a funeral home of their choice, which could prove to be very costly.

There may be certain other situations where the death has occurred and the family is not available due to other commitments, i.e. holidays, work, etc., to avoid this type of situation, we would suggest that you contact our funeral home in advance and make preplanned funeral arrangements.

This allows us to follow through with your wishes and give you peace of mind.

If I feel uncomfortable with the way I am being treated at a funeral home, do I have to use their services?

At no point should you feel pressured into making any arrangements that make you feel uncomfortable. While some people may opt for a full traditional service with embalming and a viewing or wake, others may simply want a graveside service or a simple cremation.

All of these are valid options, and at no point should you feel that the funeral director is pressuring you to add on unwanted services. The funeral director and all staff should be respectful of your exact wishes.

You should also be given the price quote for the service options you are selecting in writing, so you will know exactly what the final invoice will be. You absolutely have the right to leave the establishment that is treating you unfairly or passing judgment of any kind.

If you have been asked to sign a document that includes items you don’t understand, simply do not sign it and walk out. There are funeral homes, such as ourselves at Voyage who would be honoured to assist you in any way at your time of need with no hidden costs and no pressure sales.

What happens during the cremation process?

Once proper authorization has been signed and approved by the family, the cremationist then prepares the body for the cremation. This involves confirming the identity of the deceased, checking for valuables and ensuring that no pacemaker or defibrillator is present.

The deceased is then placed in a cremation container or casket and is now ready to be placed in the cremator to be cremated. The body is then reduced by flame to small skeletal fragments “not ashes” as some people believe. Once cooled the skeletal remains are removed from the cremator and then placed in a mechanical processor to be reduced to their final consistency.

The cremated remains are then placed into a container of a family’s choice, which can be as basic as a cardboard container or urn made of ceramic, marble, metal, wood, etc. or something of a personal significance to the family.

I have been treated unfairly by a Funeral Director, who can I take my concerns to?

Any concerns about a service provided by a Funeral Director or Funeral Home can be taken directly to the Funeral Board of Manitoba.

Funeral Directors must be in compliance with the act and regulations of Funeral Service. Funeral Directors should be caring and compassionate individuals who are there to guide you through the most difficult of times.

If a complaint is received, the board will investigate and determine the disciplinary actions and attempt to mediate a satisfactory resolution. If you have a complaint or concern that you cannot resolve directly, contact

The Funeral Board of Manitoba

254 Portage Ave Winnipeg, MB R3C 0B6

Ph: 204-947-1098

Fax: 204-945-0424

Email: funeralboard@gov.mb.ca

Website: www.gov.mb.ca/funeraldirectorsboard

How do I personalize a service for my loved one?

When someone you love passes away, it can be a very emotional and trying time, yet many details must be attended to. Try to focus on the most important things when planning the funeral. Begin to think about how to honour the life of the person who passed away.

What kind of impact did this person have on family and friends?

What memories can you incorporate?

Consider his or her passions, hobbies, pastimes, likes and dislikes.

What achievements did they have?

Who was important to them and why?

The viewing/visitation, eulogy, music, readings, procession, committal service and reception can all be personalized to celebrate the person who passed away.

At the service, you can display their favourite things, photos, memorabilia, and artwork. Choose music that they loved and that reminds you of them. Flowers can be custom ordered the way they would have liked and you can choose them in their favourite colour. Incorporate a well written, meaningful eulogy as this is what is remembered the most about a funeral. When choosing a memorial card for the service, ensure it reflects the personality of the individual who has died. Many people will hold onto this program for many years. Select a poem or message that is both meaningful and healing.

Don’t be afraid to display any emotion that arises during the funeral. Don’t be afraid to laugh or cry. Be surrounded by people who give you strength and courage and get through it together. A well-planned funeral is the first step to healing when you lose someone you love.

Allow Voyage Funeral Home to help you, at your time of need.

How can I trust that the cremated remains I have received from the funeral home are truly those of my mother’s?

Voyage Funeral Home operates with the utmost honour and integrity. The most important component in this delicate process is the fact that we own and operate our own crematorium. We have complete control and care of your loved one at all times without a third party ever being involved.

Unless you operate 100% of the cremation process from start to finish, it is impossible to truly guarantee a family anything because the trust lies upon an outside source.

We choose to eliminate any chance of negligence by both owning and operating a crematorium on our own property. The directors that receive the phone call about a passing, meet with the family to do arrangements, pick up the loved one from the hospital, complete the cremation process and then return the remains back to the waiting family are one at the same.

It’s true personalized service.

My father has been on Employment and Income Assistance (EIA) for the past year. He has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Will EIA pay for his funeral?

Yes. If your loved one is on EIA, they will pay for the basic essentials to have a dignified service. Whether your father’s wishes are to have a Simple Cremation or a full Traditional Earth Burial, EIA will cover most of the costs involved.

EIA will not, however, cover additional items such as obituaries, reception rooms, catering, flowers, memorial cards etc. It is best to contact a Funeral Director at Voyage Funeral Home to discuss your options. It is important to also know that each individual who has worked and paid into CPP, from 1966 on, for a minimum of ten years is eligible to apply for a maximum $2500.00 death benefit.

Once you engage the services of EIA, you will no longer be eligible for this benefit, as EIA will apply for it and put it towards payment of funeral expenses.

I am interested in a career as a Funeral Director / Embalmer. Is there any special training or schooling I need?

Currently, in Manitoba, we have two schools offering the Funeral Director and Embalmer program.

Their courses offer technical training, combined with hands-on training as well as studies in embalming, microbiology, funeral law and human anatomy, just to name a few.

General requirements are a grade 12 education and you must be at least 19 years of age or older. For detailed information and registration requirements please visit https://me.rrc.mb.ca or https://www.ccfs.ca.

In my professional opinion, I would strongly suggest you call your local funeral home and speak with a funeral director about the possibility of job shadowing and answering any other questions you may have. A career in funeral service requires a compassionate and caring personality.

Voyage Funeral Home is currently accepting applications for a funeral director apprenticeship. If interested please forward your resume and cover letter to voyage@mts.net.

What is a green burial?

A green burial is also known as a natural burial. This is when the human body is returned to the earth as naturally as possible and not embalmed with chemicals. The body is enclosed in an eco-friendly, biodegradable shroud, then placed in a 100% biodegradable casket, without the use of a vault.

If your wishes are to view your loved one, the funeral home may use non-formaldehyde embalming fluid or a natural preserving method. The casket and body are then laid to rest in a green burial area. A green burial allows the body to be reunited with the earth.

What happens to my body after I die?

If the death occurs in a hospital:

After medical professionals pronounce an individual deceased, the body is shrouded and transferred to an area in the hospital called the mortuary. Your medical file is then reviewed by a representative of the Medical Examiner’s office and the Medical Examiner will release to the funeral home of your choice or schedule an autopsy for further review and investigation. Once satisfied, the body will be released to a funeral home.

If the death occurs in a care home:

After medical professionals pronounce an individual deceased, the family is immediately notified and asked which funeral home they have selected. In most cases, there is a time period of two hours allowing the family to say their goodbyes to their loved one before the funeral home arrives to receive the body.

If the death occurs at home:

Emergency services must be called to the home if an unexpected death occurs. If an individual is terminally ill and wishes to pass away in the comfort of their home, an “Anticipated Home Death” letter must be organized through the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the Medical Examiner’s office and the physician of the patient. Once arranged, a copy of this letter is given to the funeral home that you have selected. This allows the family to call the funeral home directly at the time of death allowing them to take your loved one into their care, without engaging the services of 911.

Is it okay to talk to my family about my wishes after death?

Death and dying is a natural part of life and should be discussed openly with family and friends. If your final wishes are known, you will provide comfort to your family when they are faced to make important decisions when planning your funeral.

Voyage Funeral Home has an information package containing a Wishes & Memories booklet. Once completed, these pages will speak on your behalf. It is a thoughtful gesture that your family and friends will appreciate. Your efforts now will lighten your loved ones’ burden and ensure that your funeral wishes will be honoured.

When someone passes away what information is required by the funeral home?

As a funeral home, we are obligated to complete the documentation required by Vital Statistics. The following information of the deceased is essential:

• Legal given names

• Address

• Marital status

• Occupation

• Social Insurance Number

• Date of birth

• Place of birth

• Parents’ names including mother’s maiden name

• Parent’s places of birth

• Name of informant (next-of-kin)

• Address of informant

• Disposition arrangements (burial or cremation)

At Voyage Funeral Home, every family we serve will receive a care package at no additional charge. This includes a guideline on how to handle the estate, four Funeral Director’s Statements of Death, Application Form & guideline for up to $2500 Canada Pension Death Benefit, Application Form & guideline for the Canada Pension Plan Survivor’s Pension and Child(ren)’s Benefits, & Application for a Manitoba Death Document as well as a Guide from the Funeral Board of Manitoba.

After cremation, what can I do with the ashes?

An excerpt from the Province of Manitoba summarizes your options:

1) Purchase a compartment (niche) in a columbarium

2) Purchase a lot in a cemetery

3) Scatter in a cemetery, with the permission of the cemetery owner

4) Scatter on private land, with the consent of the owner

5) Scatter on unoccupied provincially owned Crown land or water (including provincial parks) without government consent.

New Policy: “Human remains that have been properly cremated may be scattered on unoccupied provincially owned Crown land or water (which includes provincial parks) without the formal consent of the government. Care should be taken to ensure that ashes are not scattered near drinking water or recreational water activities like swimming.”

Here are some considerations with respect to these options:

* Cemetery property includes fees which vary depending on which cemetery is selected and their own in-house rules.

* The purchase of an urn is not mandatory (at Voyage Funeral Home).

* You can also keep the cremated remains in your own care in your home and any container can be used as an urn.

* You can transport them out of the country by following the shipping requirements that pertain to the location.

Can I transfer my preplan policy to another Funeral Home?

Absolutely. If you wish to switch to an alternate local funeral home or if you decide to move to a different province, your preplan can be transferred to a funeral home of your choice.

Prepaid funds should be held with an insurance policy or trust fund which is transferable worldwide. There is also product flexibility. If selected products such as a casket or urn are discontinued or not in stock, alternative choices of equal or higher value and quality will be provided.

It is important to realize that you are not locked into your original choice even when your plan is prepaid. You can change your mind at any time if your preferences change.

Here at Voyage, we have clients who have transferred their policies to us after realizing our pricing is more affordable. The excess funds are returned to the family after the passing occurs. The process is very simple and can be completed during an appointment with a funeral director.

Will the Government help financially with payment toward funeral services?

They may, depending on the circumstances:

• Canada Pension Plan 1-800-277-9914

• Old Age Security 1-800-277-9914

• Veterans Affairs 1-866-522-2122

• Workers Compensation 1-855-954-4321

• Manitoba Public Insurance: 1-800-665-2410

• Last Post Fund 1-800-465-7113

• Victim Services 1-800-262-9344

• Employment & Income Assistance: 1-877-812-0014

Is Voyage Funeral Home family owned and operated?

Yes, Voyage Funeral Home is locally and 100% Family owned & operated, established in Winnipeg in 1998.

The majority of Winnipeg Funeral Homes are owned by national conglomerates such as SCI- Service Corporation International and Arbor Memorial. The most notable difference between the corporates and Voyage Funeral Home is the cost factor.

You may pay double or even triple the price for services. Here is an example:

Simple Cremation at Voyage: $1600 + GST.

Simple Cremation at a corporate funeral Home: $2500-4500 +GST.

Educate yourself today, for peace of mind tomorrow.

If the account of a deceased person is frozen, how does the executor pay for the funeral?

If a funeral bill needs to be paid, an executor or family member can take the funeral bill to the bank where the deceased held his or her account, and the bank will pay the funeral bill directly from the deceased’s money.

The money won’t be given to the executor or family member; a bank draft will be issued directly to the funeral home as they have first right of payment. If the deceased owned a joint bank account with right of survivorship, the account won’t be frozen. The surviving joint owner will be able to continue to use the account as before.

For tax, estate and other reasons, the surviving joint owner should make sure that the bank is alerted of the death of one owner and the name on the account adjusted to reflect the current situation.

Is it okay to call more than one Funeral Home to compare pricing and products?

Yes. We encourage you to shop, compare and ask questions to determine exact pricing. Many Funeral Homes give you a preliminary price over the phone, but once your family arrives, you are told about all the additional costs involved. This could add up to thousands of dollars.

Voyage offers the best price, with NO HIDDEN COSTS. Our pricing is in writing – this shows our honesty and integrity. Every funeral home is different with their own morals and values. It is important to make a wise decision with whom you are entrusting your loved one.

I have been told that there are additional fees for the cremation of an overweight individual. Is this true?

At Voyage Funeral Home that is absolutely false. We believe in treating everybody equally with dignity and respect. We would never alter the price of cremation based on somebody’s size and weight. We actually find this quite disrespectful and degrading to both the deceased person and his or her family. We treat your loved one as we would our own, and would never take advantage of you.

What services must a Funeral Director provide to a client?

Funeral directors and embalmers meet families and clients when someone has died. Because this is often an emotional time and unfamiliar experience, families are vulnerable. Funeral directors and embalmers have a legal and ethical responsibility to provide fair, nonjudgmental and competent information and service.

In matters regarding accountability to the families and clients, funeral directors must:

a) Provide a copy of the Board’s brochure to the consumer for their permanent use, at the first meeting.

b) Provide fair and consistent services, without discrimination against individuals, respecting the faiths, beliefs and customs of the families they serve;

c) Uphold in the strictest confidence matters pertaining to the family of the deceased;

d) Provide funeral services that balance compassion for the family with understanding of the gravity of their grief;

e) Explain what products and services are required by law and which are optional, in a fair and nonjudgmental manner;

f) Indicate clearly if products, offered for sale or use, have been used before;

g) Ensure family decisions on all matters (including services, timing, and prices), have been fulfilled, whenever reasonable;

h) Explain any document presented to a client, including any that require signature;

i) Explain the option of embalming and consequences of delayed embalming, when applicable;

j) Obtain permission, written preferably, of next of kin or designated representative, to embalm or cremate; and

k) Indicate clearly the full range of available benefits and options of social services, veteran’s affairs, and various government and private agencies to which the individual may be entitled.

What do I do if I feel pressure from a Funeral Home?

If you ever feel pressure during Funeral arrangements or any type of preplanning, simply WALK OUT or ask the Funeral Director to leave your home. In such a delicate situation, this behavior should NOT be tolerated. Many Funeral Homes actually employ high-pressure sales staff – their mission is to SELL. Unfortunately – the higher your bill, the better they do.

At Voyage Funeral Home our vision could not be more different. We are a family owned Funeral Home who is here to guide you and to listen to what your wishes are. We want to ensure that your specific wishes are followed right to the very last detail. Our mission is to do the best that we can to make a very sensitive and difficult process a little easier for you.

Our licensed Funeral Directors are compassionate, caring and understanding. You will be treated with the utmost respect and dignity- the way funeral service should be. Guaranteed.

Can I preplan with Voyage without having to pre-pay?

Absolutely. This type of preplan is what we call an “Info File”.

This is a fast and easy way to make your final wishes known with zero money down. An Info File can be made for yourself or for a family member ahead of time. If you are anticipating the death of a loved one or if you just want some peace of mind, an info file can be made online, over the phone or an appointment can be set up with one of our Funeral Directors.

We are here to help guide you and are available to answer all of the questions and concerns you may have. An Info File simplifies stressful, last-minute decision making. Please feel free to call to set up a no-obligation appointment to discuss setting up an Info File with Voyage. We don’t employ any salespeople here!

What do I need to know about driving in a Funeral Procession?

You will be driving very slowly–usually, 30-40 km/h on roads, depending on the normal speed limit, and no more than 55 km/h on the highway.

• You will need to stay close to the car in front of you in the procession – do not allow room for a vehicle not in the procession to cut in, keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you.

• Stay in line and with the procession at all times – even if means you are going through a red light at an intersection. Local traffic ordinances give a funeral procession the right-of-way, and other motorists must yield until the procession has passed. Do not leave your place in the procession line unless there is an emergency.

• The last car in the procession will have 2 funeral flags and will also have hazards lights flashing to signify to other motorists that the procession has ended and that traffic may resume.

• Once you arrive at the cemetery, a cemetery attendant will lead the procession to the gravesite or chapel, and the funeral attendant will collect the flags from your vehicle.

What do I do if I encounter a Funeral Procession?

Just remember that funeral processions have the right-of-way. Here are some additional Do’s and Dont’s on how to handle a funeral procession that passes through an area where you are driving:

• Do be respectful.

• Do yield – once the lead car has entered traffic, such as going through an intersection – the entire procession will follow without interruption. Even if their traffic light is red and yours is green, you must stop and allow the procession to continue through the intersection until all cars in the procession have passed.

• Do look for the last vehicle in the procession – it typically has 2 or more flags and hazard lights flashing. Once it passes by, you may resume the normal flow of traffic.

• Don’t cut into or cut off a procession.

• Don’t honk at a car in a funeral procession.

• Don’t pass a funeral procession on the right side on a highway, unless the procession is in the far left lane.

What do funerals, memorial services, and life celebrations have in common?

A defining difference between a funeral and a memorial service is the presence of the body. The body is present at a funeral, and the body is absent at a memorial service, therefore affecting limitations on scheduling and form of after-death care, among other considerations.

The definitions of funerals and memorial services vary considerably by culture, religion, and place. Traditional funerals are generally held in places of worship or funeral homes. But less traditional funerals, memorial services, and life celebrations can be held in places as diverse as a private home, a hotel, a public meeting space, a mountaintop, a beach, or a park.

• Funerals and memorial services may be religious or nonreligious, spiritual or nondenominational.

• Memorial services and funerals can include elements of a traditional service, including music, flowers, prayers, readings, eulogies, and sermons.

• Memorial services and funerals can also be highly non-traditional, secular affairs; they can include the sharing of stories, displays of photos or memorabilia, bouquets of organic rather than mass-produced flowers, and requests for charitable donations.

• You can hire a professional caterer, or family and friends can bring food.

• You can display objects of special meaning from the deceased’s life: photos of a favourite vacation, artwork, a handmade quilt, childhood memorabilia, awards and trophies, a motorcycle, fishing pole, or a musical instrument, etc.

• You can play music, such as the deceased’s favourite songs, or you can hire a band or singer to encourage singing or dancing.

• The event may last an afternoon, a day, a weekend, or even longer.

Is a casket required for a cremation to take place?

A casket is not required for a cremation to take place. All that is required is an alternative container. The construction can be made of wood or cardboard, which is cremated with the body

What are the 10 stages of grief?

The stages of grieving have been described by many people. Although there is no one “right” way to grieve, ten stages can be identified.

Remember, grieving is highly individualized. No two persons will grieve in the same way or for the same amount of time. The important thing to remember is that grief is a natural, necessary result of losing something or someone important.

Stage 1: SHOCK AND DENIAL. The pain is too great to be handled. Temporarily the system “overheats” and reality is blocked out. “This can’t be happening.”

Stage 2: EMOTIONS ERUPT. The shock passes and emotions overflow their usual boundaries. They are expressed in ways ranging from wrenching sobs to gentle tears. Logic and rationality give way to an overwhelming realization of the loss.

Stage 3: ANGER. After being hurt, most people feel angry. They want to retaliate, to inflict pain on others, to strike out at the person or thing causing the pain.

Stage 4: SICKNESS. Often the body acts out the pain being felt through actual physical symptoms. Nausea, headaches, diarrhea, extreme fatigue are common.

Stage 5: PANIC. After a time of sickness and emotional upset, people begin to realize that they aren’t acting like themselves anymore. They begin to worry, wondering if they have become mentally ill. They frequently ask themselves “What is happening to me?”

Stage 6: GUILT. Personal guilt feelings build up as people wonder whether they are somehow to blame for the loss. They ask themselves if they could have done something to make it different if only …

Stage 7: DEPRESSION AND LONELINESS. The pain of their loss often causes people to withdraw into themselves. They begin to realize that the change is permanent. As the depression deepens, friends and family find it harder to draw the person out, to talk them into participating in regular activities again.

Stage 8: RE-ENTRY TROUBLES. Once the effort is made to get back into the normal routine, the pain of loss makes it difficult to be as trusting and open as before the loss. Suspicion must be battled constantly. Friends and families are tested again and again.

Stage 9: HOPE EMERGES. Gradually, the pain subsides and the world becomes bearable again. Hope sneaks through the cracks in the walls built up as protection against hurt. Energy is regained. The process of rebuilding seems possible.

Stage 10: ACCEPTING AND AFFIRMING REALITY. The loss is accepted without bitterness. Death gives way to new life. Purpose is regained. A new, different reality is where life is to be lived.

I have made calls to many funeral homes inquiring about the cost of cremation and have noticed the price varies drastically. Why is this so?

High pricing is often the result of many unnecessary additional charges. Some funeral homes employ high-pressure salespeople who must answer to shareholders and meet certain profit margins.

Others, use the “bait and hook” system, where they advertise low pricing but fail to mention all the additional fees such as the purchase of a cremation casket, an urn and an identification viewing.

These items are not required by Provincial Legislation.

At Voyage, we are a full-service funeral home. and we are known for our honesty and our “no-hidden-cost” policy. Our pricing is often two to three times less than the conglomerate funeral homes. The price you are quoted is the price you pay.

Do all funeral homes own crematoriums?

No, some funeral homes do not. Those funeral homes need to subcontract out the cremation procedure. This means there is a third party involved complicating the process. There is no continuity of care and no control over when the cremated remains will be available.

At Voyage, we are proud to say that we own and operate our crematorium. This means that your loved one is always in our care and we are able to offer you 100% personalized service.

My mother passed away in a care home this past week. We did not have funeral arrangements in place. To my surprise the care home sent my mother to a funeral home of their choosing.

If your loved one is presently in a care home it is imperative that your family selects a funeral home of your choice. Leaving the decision up to the care home can be a costly mistake that the family pays for in the end.

For this reason, make your wishes known at the care home and have them make a notation in the file. Oftentimes when a death occurs without any formal instructions recorded on file, the care home usually without consultation with the family will make the choice in your absence. The care home sometimes is left with no choice, if the family has not made a decision and cannot be reached.

I strongly suggest you do your homework by comparing costs and services associated. If you do not have arrangements in place and a loved one passes in a care home, Voyage Funeral Home has funeral directors on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you, with no obligation.

My father is very sick in the hospital. Together we watched a program on CBC about traditional funeral homes and alternative funeral providers. Can you tell me the difference between the traditional funeral home and the alternative for when my father passes? His wish is to be cremated.

The main difference between a traditional funeral home and an alternative service provider is: the alternatives, typically, do not have the facilities to facilitate or carry out a funeral or cremation service. Alternatives operate as brokers. They arrange to have various services contracted out to third parties, such as the cremation, transport, embalming, etc.

The disadvantage of having all these services contracted out is that the alternative loses control over the process; thusly they no longer have any control or oversight of your loved one.

The number one question a family should be asking when choosing a cremation for a loved one is – does the provider own and operate their own crematorium? If the answer is no, then it is impossible to get assurances from that company. Most of these alternative providers do not. How do you know that you are receiving your loved ones cremated remains back? You don’t! Simply because these types of providers are hands off and have contracted out all their services.

When a family chooses a full service licensed traditional funeral home that owns and operates its own crematorium, such as Voyage, you can be assured that your loved one is in our care from beginning to end. Thus minimizing the likelihood of something going wrong or missing.

We provide you with peace of mind knowing that we have complete control of your loved one 100% of the time. Our strong internal control process ensures that you’re getting back your loved ones cremated remains without question.

Hi, having read the online CBC article ‘Prearranged funeral money in limbo after funeral company goes out of business’ May 31, 2017, I checked the PUB website. Both my partner and I have prearranged funeral services with Voyage Funeral Home & Crematorium. I do not see this business listed on your “List of Licensees’. Would you be able to comment on this?

In the province of Manitoba, there are 2 methods of funding funerals.

The first and least popular method, presented in the article, is to use a trust account. If the funeral home opts to use this method, they must first register with the Public Utilities Board of Manitoba. This method is where the monies are held in trust at a chartered bank on your behalf by the funeral home of your choice. A disadvantage of this method is that any monies over and above $75.00 interest are taxable and a T5 has to be filed for income tax.

The other method that most funeral homes opt to use is insurance. Using this method to fund funerals has many advantages over a trust account. First and foremost, the monies are held in YOUR name by an entity separate and apart from the funeral home. This protects you the consumer against business failure and unscrupulous business practice. Another advantage is that the policy is transferable to any funeral home across North America. Finally, interest on insurance funds in tax exempt. Because the transaction is between YOU and the insurance company and the certificate is held in YOUR name and not the funeral home, it is not necessary for Voyage Funeral Home to register with the public utility board. The only way that Voyage Funeral Home gains access to these funds is for us to provide the insurance company with proof of death. Unfortunately for the public, the representative of the Public Utilities Board did not make the insurance option known in this article.

We hope this helps clear up any confusion that may have arisen from this article. If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us directly.

I want to be present when my loved one is cremated. Can that be arranged?

Yes. Voyage Funeral Home has a newly rebuilt state of the art facility, allowing your family the option to be present at the crematorium when your loved one is cremated.

It is not everyone’s wish or desire to witness the cremation nor is it mandatory to do so however in some cultures it is suggested for the eldest child to start the cremator.

Some funeral homes do not allow viewings to take place simply because they do not own or operate their own crematorium. These funeral homes subcontract the cremation process out to a third party meaning that your loved one is not in their care 100% of the time.

At Voyage Funeral Home we work with you and your family to arrange an appropriate time and date that works for both you as well as our funeral directors for this service. In my professional opinion, I highly recommend using a funeral home that owns and operates their own crematorium. This provides you and your family with peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in the care of whom you trusted to do so.

I watched a T.V. segment the other day that went undercover in funeral homes. It was shocking and disturbing to me how they took advantage of families. Do all Funeral Homes operate in this manner?

Not all funeral homes should be painted with the same brush. Some funeral homes employ high pressure commissioned sales staff, who will do their utmost to bully and upsell services and merchandise that may not be necessary.

Remember funeral service is still a business, as such, it’s a good idea to do your homework in advance by comparing pricing and services. Educate yourself today for peace of mind tomorrow.

A Funeral Director should be there to help guide a family in a respectful and dignified way. Families should not be misled by unethical sales tactics, which include the upselling of urns (at Voyage Funeral Home urns are not mandatory), caskets, obituaries, unnecessary identification viewings, embalming for cremation purposes and environmental charges that do not exist such as washing of the body prior to cremation. These tactics or gimmicks are not necessary or mandatory by law.

Some funeral homes even claim to own and operate their own crematorium but in fact, they do not. They subcontract this process out to a third party so your loved one is not in their care 100% of the time.

(For a list of funeral homes that own and operate their own crematoriums please visit The Funeral Board of Manitoba website at:

At Voyage Funeral Home we truly believe in treating your loved one as we would our own. We are family owned and operated and provide families with upfront pricing with no hidden costs or surprises. We treat every family with respect and dignity. Voyage Funeral Home owns and operates its own crematorium and we also have facilities on site such as a chapel, family room, arrangement offices, and reception rooms. Lastly, Voyage Funeral Home does not employ high pressured sales staff.

What does a Funeral Director do?

Funeral Directors have several different jobs and responsibilities. First and foremost they must practice their gifts of compassion, care, guidance, honesty and care for your loved one in a dignified manner at all times.

They also respect and accommodate cultural, religious, ethnic, and family customs or traditions, whenever possible.

Directors are advisers during a difficult time in life and help provide services required. By law, when asked, a Funeral Director must present all who inquire a general price list and a written no-obligation estimate itemizing selected products and services. Funeral Directors must carry out the responsibilities described on the price list to the family’s complete satisfaction.

If at any time you feel pressured or uncomfortable by a Funeral Director it is okay to walk away. At Voyage Funeral Home we do not employ high pressured sales staff that operates on commission. Every family is treated with the utmost respect and dignity.

If you or your family has been treated unfairly by a Funeral Director and you cannot resolve the matter, you may contact:

The Funeral Board of Manitoba at 204-947-1098.

My sister is about to pass away and I am at a loss for what to do next. Can you provide me a checklist or guideline to follow as I am very confused?

Below is a quick guideline on what to do when a loved one is close to passing or passed away:

• Do your research before selecting a funeral home. Ask questions such as costs, items or extras not included in quoted price etc.

• Do not sign a contract or commit without a completed contract, including all costs and services provided.

• Select a funeral home of your choice that you are comfortable with.

• Make an appointment to speak with a funeral director.

• Decide what type of service you require (simple cremation, cremation with a memorial service, funeral service with cremation to follow or traditional earth burial).

• Gather information for vital statistics (i.e. date of birth, social insurance number, place of birth, parents names and birthplaces if known, mother’s maiden name; if there is a will, the name and information of who the executor/ executrix is).

• Information for an obituary (an obituary is not mandatory at Voyage Funeral Home).

• Talk about a final resting place (i.e. scatting, cemetery, niche or keeping cremated remains in your home).

• If selecting a service, decide on a date, time, location, clergy, catering, pallbearers, flowers, music and eulogies.

Voyage Funeral Home has licensed funeral directors on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist in all your needs. We do not employ high pressured sales staff. We truly believe in treating your loved one as we would our own.

My mother passed away this week. Her decision was a simple cremation with no service. Our family paid over $5000.00 for just a cremation. We later found out that Voyage charges only $1600.00 for simple cremation. Why is there such a significant price difference?

At Voyage Funeral Home, we believe in honoring your loved one’s wishes. If your mother chose a simple cremation then that is the service that should be provided.

We do not charge for unnecessary services such as a mandatory viewing, embalming, limousines or environmental fee. We do not require you to purchase a cremation casket as our price includes that cost. Also, we do not charge based on your loved one’s size or weight as some funeral homes may do. We treat everyone equally.

Voyage Funeral Home cares, understands, respects and honors your loved one’s final decisions. We do not believe in hidden costs. Just because our cost is lower does not mean that we cut back on the services we provide. We treat every family as we would our own.

My mother would like to know some benefits of cremation. Can you provide me with a few examples?

Cremation now is becoming a more popular service then burial due to a few factors as listed below

Cost: With no casket, burial, monument, or plot, a cremation can cost as little as a sixth of what a traditional burial costs.

Flexibility: Remains are easier to deal with than the physical body. Funerals can sometimes be rushed due to the condition of the body, which can be very stressful for loved ones. With cremation, you can take more time to plan a ceremony or celebration personalized more to your loved one.

Portable: If you have family members who live in different parts of the world, you can plan a ceremony in a place that’s easier for everyone to get to. Urns can be transported if the family so desires.

Resting Place: You can put the deceased to rest anywhere. With a cremation, you aren’t restricted to just a cemetery. You can distribute the remains anywhere that the deceased and loved ones would have felt most appropriate.

My parents do not want to talk about their final arrangements. Do you have any suggestions that can guide me through this?

Death of a loved one is always hard to talk about. That is why people get taken advantage of at their time of need. It is important to educate yourself today for peace of mind tomorrow. Death is a sensitive topic and is never easy to discuss. Talking to loved ones about their final wishes avoids guilt, confusion and conflict.

At Voyage Funeral Home we offer a free Wishes and Memories booklet to help make this discussion a little easier for you and your loved ones. This booklet is a thoughtful gesture that family and friends will appreciate.

It contains two different sections;

• The first section includes vital statistics information, funeral service guidelines, cemetery requests and important information for the funeral director.

• The second section is more personal and provides material for eulogies, obituaries, a family tree and other remembrances.

The result will be a clear record of your funeral wishes, a source of important documents for legal and public records, and a permanent keepsake of your fondest memories to speak to future generations.

To request your free booklet or to preplan your final wishes with a licensed funeral director, please contact Voyage Funeral Home & Crematorium at 204-668-3151.

My husband and I live on a fixed income and do not have a lot of money. Is there a way that we can preplan together?

Yes, Voyage Funeral Home offers a preplan package called a “joint first” account. With this type of account, both you and your husband would come and make your funeral arrangements and apply for the benefit through one of our funeral directors.

We would then have both of your wishes on a file with us, and apply for the benefit in both of your names. When two people apply under one benefit, the benefit is issued to the applicant who passes first.

This gives your family peace of mind knowing that you have pre-arranged your final wishes and also the financial freedom to save for the second applicant.

For more information or to schedule a preplan appointment with a funeral director please call 204-668-3151.

How do I write a Eulogy?

Here are the best practices for writing eulogies:

The most meaningful eulogies:

• Are presented by those closest to the deceased.

• Include one or two stories about the deceased. A funny story to start the eulogy will help people remember the happiness of the deceased’s life.

• Mention something that gave the deceased pleasure, for instance, playing music or sports.

• Frequently reference the person who has died by name.

• Mention the circumstances surrounding the death.

• Capture the deceased’s important beliefs with quotes from people who were inspirational to him or her.

• List some of the accomplishments of the deceased and the differences he or she has made in the lives of others. Include the memories of many different people.

• Discuss how the deceased has affected your own life (in a positive way), as well as how his death has affected you. Be honest about your feelings. An honest eulogy is always more meaningful.

• Acknowledge mourners’ pain and encourage them to exhibit grief.

• Include family members who may tend to keep a “low profile” (i.e. ex-spouses; stepchildren etc.).

• Elevate the message to deepen our awareness of mortality and appreciation for life.

• Acknowledge the value of the guests’ presence to family and friends.

• State that the deceased will be missed and will always be loved. The best advice is to speak from your heart and do the best you can.

My mom recently passed away. To our families surprise her obituary was run numerous times without our permission. When I called the funeral home they said it was a normal procedure. Can you please advise?

This is not a normal procedure. Obituaries are placed in the local paper to acknowledge the passing of a loved one to family members, friends, co-workers etc.

An obituary along with a picture (if desired), also serves to notify if a family is having a funeral service or celebration of life, if so, time, date and place of service, a brief summary of the person’s life as well as the sending of flowers, or donations to a charity.

An obituary should not be an advertisement for the funeral home or funeral directors. An obituary should only be rerun upon the family’s request. Keep in mind once you put an obituary in the paper, it automatically goes online to the Passages website, where it is kept for people to see at their convenience.

This also allows loved ones and friends to send condolence messages to the deceased’s family.

A side note, an obituary is not mandatory.

What is quite common is that on the bottom of an obituary you will notice a funeral home name or logo. This allows people to call and receive information about the service details in full, such as directions to a specific location, times for flower delivery etc., Also keep in mind this feature is of no cost to the family running the obituary.  Obituaries may be very expensive. It is best to always ask for an estimated cost.

I have purchased cemetery property and/or I know where I would like to be buried, am I obligated to use the funeral home located at the cemetery?

You are not obligated to use the funeral home located on the cemetery grounds. Voyage Funeral Home services all cemeteries and places of worship.

Cemeteries area separate identity, and are regulated under the Cemeteries Act. This act states any funeral home may have access to the cemetery grounds of a family’s choice.

Voyage Funeral Home can also help your family choose a cemetery that best suits your needs. Using a funeral home that is not situated on cemetery property may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. We would strongly urge you to call and compare before you commit.

How do I select a reputable funeral home?

Some considerations to make when choosing a funeral home is to simply Google search the name and read the reviews. Unfortunately, not all funeral homes are created equal. In many cases there is no continuity of care, meaning the funeral home loses care and control of your loved one.

Some examples of this are when a funeral home contracts out the cremation process to a third party operator, or other important services such as embalming. (An important question to ask is if the funeral home owns and operates their own crematorium.) Be wary of funeral homes that use unethical marketing practices, such as using your loved ones’ obituary to market the funeral home.

Examples of this are when a funeral home publishes an obituary multiple times. An obituary is to announce the passing of a loved one, and not as a vehicle to market the funeral home or funeral director’s name at the family’s expense.

The Funeral Board of Manitoba operates a website that shows pending hearings, complaints, judgments and penalties launched against various funeral homes and directors. www.gov.mb.ca/funeraldirectorsboard

To summarize, it pays to do your research. Call and compare pricing and services.

Should I bring my child to a funeral?

When it comes to children attending funerals there is no “yes” or “no” answer. Most parents or guardians intuitively know what is right for their child. Each child is different and deals with grief in his or her own way.

Some children may be upset and scared and others may find it a very peaceful experience. A 7-year-old will understand better than a 3-year-old but not as well as an adult. Some kids are oblivious as to what is going on and some get really emotional. Each behavior is perfectly normal for each individual child.

Attending a funeral needs to be a decision that you talk to your child about. Explain beforehand to them exactly what will happen at the funeral, and what they need to be prepared for. Funerals can be an important part of the grieving process and help them come to terms with the death.

My mother passed away this week. She had pre purchased a niche at a cemetery on Main Street. The sales person at the cemetery tried to bully me aggressively informing me that I must use the funeral home located on the cemetery property or I would not be able to use my mother’s pre purchased niche. Because I had previously used Voyage I knew that this was not the case. Can you please tell me if the staff are allowed to mislead people in such a manner?

Unfortunately, most cemetery staff are commissioned salespeople that are not forthcoming with truthful information. This behavior is unacceptable. Voyage Funeral Home services all cemeteries and places of worship.

Cemeteries are a separate identity and are regulated under the Cemeteries Act.

Using an alternative from the funeral home situated on cemetery property can and will save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Whether it is cremation or a traditional earth burial.

Before committing to services, Voyage strongly urges families to shop around and compare pricing. Voyage does not employ high pressured sales staff and we truly do believe in treating your loved one as we would our own.

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