Q&A with Tina Wolfe, Advance Planning and AfterCare Director of Oliver’s Funeral Home

Tina Wolfe

When did funeral homes start offering pre-need service?
Oliver’s first employed a pre-need person in the 1990s. Before then only a few people walked in to preneed and then the money was put in trust.

Is it a concept that has taken off with the general public?
For the general public, it depends on what their live experience has been. For example, if their parent preplanned and it went smoothly, they are more likely to decide to give their loved ones the same gift. Some like to prepare their estate to make it as simple for their loved ones as possible. Then there are those who have lost a child or a sibling and watch a young person struggle to make the final decisions for their loved one. When they see how difficult it is, they know that they love their children too much to leave the hard decisions to them.

Why would I want to pre-plan my funeral?
To make it as simple and easy as possible for your loved ones or executor. It’s the best gift you’ll ever give.

Where does the information get stored?
Oliver’s has a computer program we store the information in. We also have a paper file. Additionally, the executor receives a file with all the info we have.

What if I move?
If you move anywhere in Canada, you would contact a funeral home in the area you have moved to and Oliver’s will transfer the file to that funeral home. If you move outside of Canada, then the funds are made available to the executor at the time of passing.

What if I pass away while on vacation?
There is World Wide Travel Insurance. It’s the same insurance company that brings our Canadian soldiers home when a life has been lost. If a person has purchased this (a one-time fee) then if he/she should pass away anywhere in the world more than 100 kilometres from home, the body would be brought back to Oliver’s, or whatever funeral home is chosen.

Do I have to come to the funeral home to pre-plan?
Not necessarily. I can also come to your home or meet you at a place of your choice that’s convenient for you.

So, I have planned my funeral, and I have decided I want a cremation and my ashes scattered in what is to be a nice rose garden at my local cemetery. However, my relatives find out that the planned rose garden has not been created yet. Now, what is to become of me?
If this were to happen, the family may choose to keep the cremated remains at home until such time that the rose garden was built or choose another location to lay the loved one to rest.

What if I do not want either a burial or a cremation but something even more simple than that. Is there such a thing?
At this time, no.

What if I want to donate my body to science? Do I still come in and pre-plan?
It is still wise to pre-plan as the universities have a limit on the amount of bodies they can take in a year. If you’ve pre-planned and pre-paid for your disposition and the universities have a need for the body, then the funds go back to the estate.

Oliver’s Funeral Home runs the “Living Well and Leaving Well” workshops. What is discussed at those sessions, and do you offer these workshops every year?
The workshops are there to help families prepare all aspects of the estate, such as the importance of a Will, Power of Attorney, Personal Directive, and Last Wishes Pre-planning. We also discuss how and what to do to keep the probate fees at a minimal cost. These workshops are offered yearly.

Finally, how do I start the conversation of pre-planning with my family?
This may be a sensitive subject in some families depending on the losses the family has experienced. I find the more losses, the easier it is to approach the subject. Having said that, it still is an important thing to talk about as you’ll regret if something happens and you never did. If it’s with a parent, it’s wise to ask if their estate is in order and if something were to happen, where would I find all the paperwork. If it’s with your kids just tell them what you’ve all done to prepare the estate and where you keep the paperwork. If you have pre-planned tell your loved ones. If something were to happen, call Oliver’s.