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Take Command of the Pre-planning Conversation

Posted On 6/6/2017 By Admin

One of the most colourful insults I’ve ever had hurled at me was being called a “well-dressed pirate.”  As someone who’s worked in funeral service for over 25 years, I have a pretty thick skin but name-calling and stereotypes still hurt.


The majority of small, family-owned funeral homes in Canada boycott a commission-based business model. Those scoundrels you see in the news? They’re not licensed funeral directors; they’re professional salespeople.


As in life, speaking truth to power takes courage. Here are three tips when making plans about your life and legacy.


Pre-planning Tip #1: Are you in sales or service? In 2014 the provincial government granted cemetery visitation centres the right to present themselves as full-service funeral homes. Today families unknowingly meet with quota-driven salespeople rather than commission-free funeral directors. You have every right to ask the person you’re potentially investing your time, memories and money with if they’re in funeral sales or funeral service.


Pre-planning Tip #2: Show me, don’t tell me. “Everything was supposed to be included!” is a sad, frequent cry from grieving families facing unexpected funeral fees. Whether you’re in front of a salesperson or a funeral director, both are legally obligated to show you an itemized list of services and charges. If you sign papers, make sure you’ve read those papers and understand what you’re investing in. A flippant “Everything is included” accompanied by a push to sign on the dotted line is unprofessional, impolite and unethical. If you’re not being educated in a kind, patient way, choose this option: walk out. 


Pre-planning Tip #3: These boots were meant for walkin’. We are emotional creatures who make emotional decisions. When we take empowered action, especially about life-death choices that feel uncomfortable, expensive and/or dependent on someone else’s expertise, it’s because we trust the person who’s helping us. If you don’t connect with (like or enjoy) the person pre-planning your arrangement, leave. Walk out. Honour your feelings and find a funeral home with funeral people where you feel comfortable, relaxed and respected