Planning and Prearranging
Planning your funeral can relieve the family of making immediate arrangements at the time of need, and it can give you peace of mind in knowing that your choice for funeral services has been decided. You are welcome to meet with the funeral director to assist you in making your plans. You can plan for your funeral without prepaying. The choice is yours.
Prepaid Funeral Contracts
A Prepaid Funeral is one that has a formal contract signed between yourself and the funeral home. You outline all of your choices for your funeral service and deposit the cost with the funeral home based on today's pricing. Your payment is deposited in your name in a trust account between you and the funeral home. Interest accumulates on a non-taxable basis provided all funds are applied toward the funeral services in the contract and are not removed from the contract.
An annual audit of every funeral home in the Province of Ontario, and the Compensation Fund of the Board of Funeral Services ensure that your Prepaid funeral funds are safe. We guarantee our Prepaid funerals.
Making Arrangements When Someone Passes Away
Thomas (Tom) C. Merritt is the managing funeral director of Merritt Funeral Home Inc. and will be your primary contact in making arrangements when someone has passed away. Tom and other members of our staff will assist you, your friends and family from the moment you notify us of the death. It is best for the Executor to be the primary contact, when possible.
We are always available by telephone, 24 hours a day. When a sudden death occurs, you should first call 911 for emergency services. When someone whose death is expected has passed away (such as palliative care patients), the doctor usually provides his/her phone number to call, or refers you to call the local hospital. A doctor must complete and sign a certificate pronouncing the death (in some cases a coroner is called), before the person can be released to the funeral home. You may call us at any point during this time, when you are ready to do so. When a person passes away at the hospital or long term care residence, someone from that facility may call on your behalf, although we need to talk to you as soon as possible as well.
The family will meet with Tom, usually at the funeral home. Information will be gathered and funeral arrangements will be made. This is called "at need", and has a formal contract signed between (usually) the Executor, or next of kin, who becomes the Purchaser.
Choosing Funeral Services
There are important components to choosing the funeral service and final disposition (burial or cremation) you want. Equally important are the services you want from a funeral home. You may have full confidence and peace of mind in knowing that all of the choices and arrangements you make with us will be carried out with care, compassion and dignity, while we continue to work with you through a very difficult time.
Whether you choose to have a funeral service, memorial service or graveside service, the final disposition of the deceased must be chosen. Most people choose either burial or cremation (entombment is another option).
For burial, the deceased must be placed in a casket or burial container and buried in a cemetery plot (interment). Most cemeteries require an outer vault to protect the casket and deceased from the surrounding earth. Arrangements are made to mark out the grave location, open and close the grave, and position the burial vault and lowering device to receive the casket. Also required is documentation and registration of death, and transportation to the cemetery.
Options: embalming, open or closed casket, visiting, funeral service or graveside service, and other services you may wish
For cremation, the deceased must be placed in a casket or cremation container, a Coroner's certificate is required and any implanted or radioactive devices (i.e. pacemaker) must be removed from the deceased prior to cremation. Also required is documentation and registration of death, and transportation to the crematorium.
Options: embalming, open or closed casket, visiting, funeral service or graveside service, and other services you may wish
For those choosing to bury the cremated remains in a cemetery, arrangements are made to mark out the grave location, open and close the grave, and place the cremation container or urn in the earth (inurnment). Some cemeteries require an outer urn vault to protect the urn and deceased from the surrounding earth.
Traditional Funeral Service
For many families, a traditional funeral service can be an important social, religious and cultural part of the memory and celebration of the life of one so loved. A traditional funeral is one where the casket is present for visiting and/or the funeral service. You may want the casket open (viewed) or closed; choose whether or not you want embalming (recommended if the casket is open, each situation will be determined on a case by case basis); after the services, you may want to be buried or cremated. For those families choosing cremation, we offer a rental casket for use in the funeral home during visitation and/or the funeral service.
When you make arrangements for a traditional funeral, your choices determine the services, funeral products, facilities, transportation and other disbursements that are required or necessary, or that you want us or others to provide, and the funeral account is adjusted accordingly.
An alternative to the traditional funeral service, a memorial service takes place following cremation. A memorial service is held at the funeral home or other location and the inurnment of ashes may or may not follow. It offers families the same opportunity to have a service with friends and family and honour the life of the deceased. The only difference in the services we provide for a traditional funeral service and a memorial service is that visitation does not occur (no embalming and cremation has already taken place) and the inurnment of ashes may or may not take place following the memorial service.
As with traditional funerals, the choices you make for a memorial service determine the services, funeral products, facilities, transportation, and other disbursements that are required or necessary, or that you want us or others to provide, and the funeral account is adjusted accordingly.
Graveside Services and Alternatives
For families requiring only minimum services, a graveside service is offered. Our service provides for the initial transfer of the deceased to the funeral home, basic use of our facilities for the shelter and preparation of the deceased prior to transfer to the final disposition, arrangements with the coroner and crematorium (for cremation), or cemetery (for burial), required documentation of the death, transportation and services to the graveside (for burial and inurnment of ashes) or crematorium (for cremation), and funeral director's statement (proof of death certificate). All disbursements (for example: cost of cremation, coroner's certificate, grave and cemetery charges, fees for the registration of death, etc.) are services charged or provided by an outside party and will be added to your account. Additional services can be purchased as required. For cremation, if inurnment of ashes is not required, the associated costs are deducted.
Social Service Assistance Funerals
The regional government offers a provision for families to apply for assistance when their loved one has passed away with assets under a maximum amount. Please do not hesitate to talk to us if you find yourself in this situation. We will advise you of where to call to make the initial inquiry, and you may make that call direct from our offices if you wish us to be present at the time. The government service coordinator will arrange a time and day for your meeting - this will very likely be that day or the next business day. Following your confidential meeting with the regional government (and prior to entering a contractual agreement for funeral services), they will advise us of the services and disbursements selected via a Purchase Order. We will be honoured to assist you in making the arrangements for this service.
Choosing a Casket or Container
Once you have made a choice of the funeral service, memorial service, graveside or alternative service for your loved one, a casket or container is required for burial or cremation. We are pleased to offer a wide and varied selection, both in terms of selection and pricing. Your choice of casket/container/urn is added to your final account, offering you great flexibility in determining your overall funeral or memorial expenses. We also offer a rental casket for those choosing cremation.
Please note that for safety reasons, some restrictions apply with respect to the choice of cremation containers and use of the rental casket.
Choosing an outer Burial Vault or Urn Vault
Almost every cemetery requires an outer burial vault with the interment of a casket. We will advise you if you do not require a vault for the cemetery chosen. Though some families choose an urn vault, the inurnment of cremated remains does not require an outer urn vault in most local cemeteries. We will advise you if you require an outer urn vault for the cemetery chosen.
Choosing an outer burial vault or outer urn vault provides protection of the casket and the deceased from the surrounding earth. Some outer burial vaults and outer urns provide resistant* to water from the surrounding earth (*see Outer Vaults for Burial: note regarding manufacturer's sealing capabilities and warranty).
We offer a wide selection of outer casket burial and urn vaults ranging from concrete graveliner (the minimum cemetery requirement) to copper and stainless steel vaults. Your choice of outer vault is added to your final account, and the range of selection and pricing continues to extend flexibility in determining your overall funeral or memorial expenses. With the purchase of a burial vault, the shelter tent to surround the gravesite, grass carpet and casket lowering device are available at a reduced price from the supplier and we pass those savings on to you.
Disbursements are additional products or services, required or chosen, that are purchased in addition to the professional services, facilities and equipment, transportation needs, casket or container, outer vault, stationery products or other services provided by us and will affect the final outcome of your account. Choosing disbursements is another opportunity to making your funeral personal.
Disbursements are for services, products, facilities, transportation, etc. provided by an individual or a business other than the funeral home. Some disbursements are required for the funeral service chosen (for example: for a funeral involving burial, the cost of opening and closing the grave; for cremation, the cost of the coroner's certificate, cost of cremation, and transportation charges to the crematorium). Arrangements for the disbursements you have chosen will be made on your behalf with your provided instructions and information as part of our service. The actual cost from the provider will be added to your account. You may choose to arrange and pay directly for any disbursements you wish, and some families do that (for example: a lunch following the service).
Guide to our Funeral and Memorial Services
When you meet with us to make funeral arrangements, we are confident you will find our approach to providing for your needs fair and flexible. We offer you the opportunity to choose only those services that you want or are required, and you pay only for those services you want or are required. All of your choices for the funeral service can make it the way you want it to be.
The Funeral Stationery, Products and Services package for Traditional and Memorial Services may include the funeral register and guest book, memorial service records, acknowledgement cards, Prayer cards, funeral director's proof of death certificates (for legal and financial matters), crucifix and rosary, and temporary grave marker, as requested or required. You can choose to personalize the memorial service records with a photograph, favourite biblical verse or special poem. The newspaper notice (obituary) and photograph are posted to our website which offers friends and family at a distance to send on-line condolences or send memorial contributions. This package is offered together - any and all services and products may be included - or separately, and purchased as required.
Our facilities for Traditional and Memorial Services offer picture memory boards for photographs to be displayed during visitation or the service, and we invite you to bring framed photographs, albums or personal items that reflect on the person's life. Favorite music (on your CDs) can be played during visitation or before and after the service. Coffee, tea and bottled water are available for our families. A baby change table is located in the women's washroom, and a lounge area available for children (with your supervision). Memorial contributions may be made in our front office. Hymn books give an opportunity to include the singing of favourite hymns during the service. Two of our staff are accomplished pianists and available for services held at the funeral home. We often provide maps and directions for out of town family and friends when the funeral procession takes us out of town. Our after service care program includes assistance with CPP and OAS - notification to the agency, assistance with completion of the forms, and certification of required documents; information or referral for grief counseling, and assistance with cards of thanks if desired. All of these facilities and services are included with traditional and memorial services.