Today's date: Monday April 22, 2019
column width padding column width padding

The Wellington Advertiser Masthead Logo

We Cover The County...
40,052 Audited Circulation

WEEKLY POLL   |   Community News   |   EQUINE   |   Schools & Buses

Wellington Weddings 2019
Business Leader Banner
column width padding column width padding

ESTATE PLANNING: Funeral Planners explain shift from the traditional service

ESTATE PLANNING: Funeral Planners explain shift from the traditional service

by Aryn Strickland

WELLINGTON CTY. - Over time all industries experience changes in approach. Funeral planning is no exception.

While at their core funerals continue to serve the same function, many within the industry say they have seen a shift in tone and change in what are considered common practices.

Among the major shifts the three most popular are celebration of life ceremonies, cremation over burial and prearrangement planning.

What makes a celebration of life ceremony different from a funeral depends on the family or organizer.

“What a family views as a celebration of life, we just have to further ask them questions to find out what a celebration of life means to them,” explained England Funeral Home owner Dawn McNab.

For some it is all in the name McNab said.

“Sometimes people say that they want a celebration of life and sometimes it’s still fairly structured and follows common practices for a traditional funeral. And then the next time the family may say a celebration of life and all that they are wanting is to have a come and go where people visit with the family and there is no actual service. It really ranges,” McNab said.

“You will hear that term more and more,” agrees director of preplanning for Gilbert MacIntyre and Son funeral home Michael Labelle.  

“Celebration of life has always been around really… I guess the big difference is in most cases it is less denominational and more about the person’s life,” said Labelle.

With celebrations of life ceremonies being less denominational, Graham A Giddy Funeral Home, Fergus chapel co-owner  Rob Giddy said quite often those events take place in the funeral homes instead of in churches.

“Less and less people are having funerals in churches, they are having more funerals at the funeral home,” said Giddy.

Not having the celebration of life take place in a church leads to a more relaxed atmosphere that in Giddy’s experience takes more of its direction from the traditional lunch following a funeral.

“There is so many different versions of it. More often than not a celebration of life is when a group of people will get together, they will share food and just chat with each other and what not, more of like a social setting… there is usually food involved where there is usually never food involved with a funeral,” said Giddy.

Moving the ceremony out of a church also changes the dynamic. A minister or priest may be present but often is more about sharing stories rather than being led in prayer which can lead individuals at the service to be or feel more involved.

Another major change is the shift from burial to cremation. “Over the years the amount of cremations has increased, people are looking for that rather than burials, I couldn’t give you the percentages though but it is common knowledge,” said Labelle.

Giddy agreed noting that although as an industry the price of funerals has remained relatively stagnant over the last 15 years, general inflation has led more people to go for the more cost efficient option.

However, McNab, Labelle and Giddy all say that prearrangements are the number one way to save money and unburden families during a difficult time.

“Prepayment that is an option as well but even just recording wishes is something that’s very beneficial to the surviving family members at the time of need,” said McNab.

According to Labelle, there are over 85 different decisions that have to be made to plan a funeral which can cause undue stress on families who have no plan to work from and are put on the spot while they are grieving.

Overall the average age of an individual who opts to preplan is dropping.

“If you look back 20 years ago I believe the average age was about 78, now we are all the way down to about 62 so people consider it, a lot of people have estate planners where they are getting their affairs in order and it’s becoming part of that, getting  your will in order,” Labelle said.

Though as Giddy explained, cost in the industry remains fairly stagnant, those who choose to prepay protect the family against possible inflation.

“In a lot of cases some people are under the impression that the funeral home gets the money; we don’t,” explained Labelle.

Instead the money is held in trust by a third-party financial institution and invested so there is actually some growth there potentially for the family down the road.

The funds are transferable. “You are not locked into a particular funeral home because [the money is] not held by that funeral home. So for example, if you move from Guelph to Kitchener, you can always just transfer your prearranged funds to any funeral home of your choice,” said Labelle.

That is why the biggest piece of advice from McNab, Labelle and Giddy is not to put off thinking about and planning a funeral.

“If it is something you are thinking about pre-planning then just pick up the phone and call whoever your local funeral home is and talk to someone,” Giddy said.


April 12, 2019


Tell Us What You Think

Login to submit a comment

Comments appearing on this website are the opinion of the comment writer and do not represent the opinion of the Wellington Advertiser. Comments that attack other individuals or are offensive, unsubstantiated or otherwise inappropriate will be removed. You must register or log in in order to post a comment. For more information, read our detailed Comment Policy and Guidelines.


Lions Home Show


Wellington County

Related Stories

  • Mapleton Minto 81s have successful weekend
  • Wellington Countys blue box program turns 25
  • Warden: little interest in elected at-large head of county council
  • January is Crime Stoppers Month
  • Hospital executives earn almost $700,000
  • Police warn even with good road maintenance drivers must take care
  • County adds items to blue box collection
  • Reports: Cynthia Vanier to be held 40 more days
  • Three local groups receive Farm Credit Canada funding
  • County staff offer helping hand to families in need
  • Parents upset by school board plan to transfer students from Guelph to Erin
  • Local emergency departments urge patients to prepare for holiday
  • Mount Forest woman accused as ringleader in Gaddafi smuggling plot
  • Inspector Scott Smith: People are their own best crime defence
  • Groves, North Wellington Health Care get award
  • King of the Pull winners announced
  • column width padding column width padding column width padding

    The Wellington Advertiser





    Digital Publications


    Twitter Logo

    Free Press News Network Logo