Julie Evans, funeral director with Sands Funeral Chapel, Cremation and Reception Centre in Colwood.

Plan ahead to ease your family’s grief

From vital statistics to notifying friends, loved ones face 87+ tasks and decisions after a death

When a loved one passes away, we can face more than 87 decisions or tasks – all at a time when our hearts and minds might be focused on anything but decision-making.

“As I find myself sitting with families, I have to ask them so many questions,” says Julie Evans, a funeral director with Sands Funeral Chapel, Cremation and Reception Centre in Colwood.

Some of those questions are legally required – details for the death certificate, for example – others are specific to the funeral or service, while still others may seem peripheral to their loved one’s death, but essential.

A relative, friend or even a stranger is left with the responsibility of accomplishing all these tasks in just a few days. Just some of the what’s needed includes:

  • Secure vital statistics such as Social Insurance Number, parents’ names, mother’s maiden name, places of birth.
  • Collect documents such as the will, marriage licence and bank profile
  • Decide and make funeral and cemetery details arrangements
  • Pay for arrangements such as funeral, cemetery, florist and ambulance
  • Notify family, friends, lawyers, employers, pension plans and others

“Imagine how much pressure and uncertainty you could lift from the shoulders of loved ones by removing these details from their time of grief,” Evans reflects.

While not everything can be planned well in advance – who will look after children too young to attend the service, for example – it is possible to address many of those questions and decisions.

“It’s a conversation everyone must have, but it can be challenging for people,” Evans acknowledges. “But once you’ve talked about your wishes and feel good about them, ensure that they’re recorded with your funeral provider. When the time comes, we can look at what you decided and bring that conversation back for your family. While there’s still many decisions to be made and things to do, it helps.”

Even when pre-paying for funeral arrangements isn’t possible, Evans is happy to discuss and record your information and wishes. Visiting a funeral provider with a loved one, friend or executor is also a way to find a funeral home your loved ones will feel most comfortable with at the time of your death – another vital way to minimize the stress they’ll face.

“The more comfortable you are with your funeral provider, the easier it will be to share the intimate stories of your loved one’s life – details that can really help us create a service or event that is meaningful for you, and help guide you on the journey afterwards,” Evans says.

“Life is a story, tell it well.”

To learn more or to receive the Free Family Registry and Estate planner, please call Sands Funeral Chapel Colwood at 250-478-3821 or stop by 317 Goldstream Ave.

“I firmly believe that having that conversation makes such a difference for families,” Evans says.

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