Frequently Asked Questions


Below is a list of questions we commonly receive along with corresponding answers. We will continue to include any new questions in this section that we feel might be helpful.


If you have a question that is not covered here, we would like to hear from you. You may use the Ask the Director section of our site to forward your question or comments to us, or feel free to visit our Contact Us page for more information.


Our staff are pleased to provide an answer to any question you may have. If we do not have the answer immediately, we will find it and contact you the minute the information is in our hands.


1.   WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR FINAL ARRANGEMENTS?
 
2.   IS EMBALMING REQUIRED IN ONTARIO?
 
3.   CAN SERVICES BE PREARRANGED?
 
4.   HOW MUCH DO FUNERALS COST?
 
5.   WHEN WILL I FIND OUT THE COST OF THE GOODS AND SERVICES I HAVE SELECTED?
 
6.   IS IT NECESSARY TO RETAIN THE SERVICES OF A FUNERAL DIRECTOR FOR ALL DEATHS?
 
7.   WHAT ARE CASH DISBURSEMENTS?
 
8.   MUST A CASKET BE PLACED IN AN OUTSIDE CONTAINER FOR BURIAL?
 
9.   WHAT IS A PREPAID SERVICE?
 
10.   WHAT HAPPENS TO MY MONEY?
 
11.   IS THE PRICE OF A PREPAID SERVICE GUARANTEED?
 
12.  HOW DOES THE GUARANTEE WORK?
 
13.   WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS AN EXCESS OF FUNDS AFTER A GUARANTEED PREPAID FUNERAL HAS BEEN PROVIDED?
 
14.   HOW ARE PREPAID FUNDS PROTECTED?
 
15.   WILL MY MONEY BE RETURNED IF I CHANGE MY MIND?
 
16.   HOW CAN I OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT SERVICES OR COSTS?
 
17.   WHAT IS CREMATION?
 
18.   IS A CASKET REQUIRED BY LAW FOR CREMATION?
 
19.   WHAT IS DONE WITH THE CREMATED REMAINS?
 
20.   DO I HAVE TO BUY AN URN?
 
21.   IS IT POSSIBLE TO DONATE YOUR BODY OR ORGANS TO MEDICAL SCIENCE?
 
22.   WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T WANT A TRADITIONAL FUNERAL?
 
23.   WHAT IS A DIRECT DISPOSITION?
 
24.   DOES DIRECT DISPOSITION MEAN ONLY CREMATION?


Question #1 WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR FINAL ARRANGEMENTS?


Answer: The executor/estate trustee and/or next of kin bear legal responsibility in the disposition of the deceased.  It is prudent for the executor to include the family in any decisions regarding final arrangements.


Question #2 IS EMBALMING REQUIRED IN ONTARIO?
Answer: Embalming is not required in Ontario but may be necessary under some circumstances.


Question #3 CAN SERVICES BE PREARRANGED?
Answer: Yes, services can be prearranged through a funeral home and can be prepaid if you wish.


Question #4 HOW MUCH DO FUNERALS COST?
Answer: Costs depend entirely on the goods and services selected by you.  As part of this web site there is a price list available or you can request one by mail at no charge and with no obligation.


Question #5 WHEN WILL I FIND OUT THE COST OF THE GOODS AND SERVICES I HAVE SELECTED?
Answer: At the time the arrangements are agreed upon, the funeral director must give you a written contract including the total price of the goods and services selected and an estimate of any disbursements.  The contract must be approved and signed by the person making the arrangements with the funeral director.


Question #6 IS IT NECESSARY TO RETAIN THE SERVICES OF A FUNERAL DIRECTOR FOR ALL DEATHS?
Answer: No.  It is possible to bury a member of your own family provided you comply with all relevant legislation.


Question #7 WHAT ARE CASH DISBURSEMENTS?
Answer: Cash disbursements are payments made by the funeral director on your behalf and might include items such as newspaper notices, clergy honourium and flowers.  Disbursements are charged to you at actual cost.  If they appear on your contract then they must be itemized and included in the total price.


Question #8 MUST A CASKET BE PLACED IN AN OUTSIDE CONTAINER FOR BURIAL?
Answer: This is not the law in Ontario.  However, local customs vary and some cemeteries have by-laws requiring that outside containers be used for interment.  For more information contact Cemetery Regulations, Ministry of Consumer & Commercial Relations:  Tel #416-326-8392.


Question #9 WHAT IS A PREPAID SERVICE?
Answer: You may prearrange and prepay services and supplies by means of a contract between you and the funeral establishment.


Question #10 WHAT HAPPENS TO MY MONEY?
Answer: You have two options either it is held in trust for you at a bank, trust company, credit union or fraternal society or you may have the option to purchase an insurance product.


Question #11 IS THE PRICE OF A PREPAID SERVICE GUARANTEED?
Answer: Funeral homes do not have to guarantee services that have been prepaid. Purchasers should ensure that the contract clearly states whether or not the price will be guaranteed.  At Humphrey - Miles - Newbigging your price is GUARANTEED.


Question #12 HOW DOES THE GUARANTEE WORK?
Answer: At the time of death the funeral director will calculate cost based on the current prices.  If the principle plus interest or insurance death benefit is less than the cost of services no other money is owed.


Question #13 WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS AN EXCESS OF FUNDS AFTER A GUARANTEED PREPAID FUNERAL HAS BEEN PROVIDED?
Answer: If you prepaid after June 1, 1990 the balance, if any, of the prepayment funds that are in excess of the cost of delivering the services and supplies contracted for must be refunded to the estate.  If you prepaid prior to June 1, 1990 the funds will be refunded at the funeral establishments discretion.  We at Humphrey - Miles - Newbigging always return what is left over from the trust account.


Question #14 HOW ARE PREPAID FUNDS PROTECTED?
Answer: Legislation provides several means for ensuring protection for prepaid funds.  At the time of prepayment, the funeral director must provide the purchaser with a contract, signed by the purchaser and the funeral director, showing clearly the services you have selected and the monies you have paid.  The funeral establishment must deliver to the purchaser an investment receipt from the financial institution that the investment has been made. 

Trust funds are inspected by the Board of Funeral Services.  Funeral establishments must annually submit to the Board of Funeral Services a Report of the Public Accountant on their trust funds.  The Board of Funeral Services administers a Compensation Fund that provides compensation in the event of misappropriation of trust monies.


Question #15 WILL MY MONEY BE RETURNED IF I CHANGE MY MIND?
Answer: Yes.  When a written request is received, all monies including principal and accrued interest must be refunded.  However, the funeral home may keep an administration fee.  The financial institution or insurance company may also charge a cancellation fee.


Question #16 HOW CAN I OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT SERVICES OR COSTS?
Answer: Funeral directors and transfer services operators welcome and encourage people to make such inquiries prior to or at the time of need.  Call the funeral home or transfer service and request a price list.  They must provide a price list without cost or obligation.  


Question #17 WHAT IS CREMATION?
Answer: Cremation is a process where fire reduces the body to a residue.


Question #18 IS A CASKET REQUIRED BY LAW FOR CREMATION?
Answer: Yes.  Crematoria require that the body be enclosed in a rigid container/casket of combustible material.


Question #19 WHAT IS DONE WITH THE CREMATED REMAINS?
Answer: Cremated remains may be retained by the family, interred in a cemetery, placed in a niche in a columbarium, or scattered on one's private property or in a designated area of the cemetery.


Question #20 DO I HAVE TO BUY AN URN?
Answer: No.


Question #21
Answer: Yes.  However your wishes should be discussed with your family.


Question #22 WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T WANT A TRADITIONAL FUNERAL?
Answer: All funeral homes must offer an inexpensive service known as a "direct disposition".


Question #23 WHAT IS A DIRECT DISPOSITION?
Answer: This option includes the removal of the deceased from the place of death, the placement of the body in a container/casket, the delivery of the body to the cemetery or crematorium and the filing of necessary documentation.


Question #24 DOES DIRECT DISPOSITION MEAN ONLY CREMATION?
Answer: No.  You can have either cremation or earth burial.