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Dissecting Funerals #1: Steve Bailey from Binsky Whittle on The Legalities of End of Life Planning

It was an absolute pleasure meeting with Steven Bailey, licensed paralegal with Binsky and Whittle and member of the Law Society of Upper Canada. He educated us on some of the issues that can arise if your estate and affairs are not properly looked after before you pass away. I’ve been in the funeral industry a long time and my eyes were opened to many things that I was not at all aware of. Enjoy the podcast and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further question.

[powerpress]

ERIC: OK! I’m here at Binsky Whittle on Stanfield Road in the same building of the head office of Basic Funerals and I’m with Steven Bailey.

STEVEN: Hello.

ERIC:  So, Steven, why don’t you tell me a little bit about what you do here?

STEVEN:  So, basically- I’m a paralegal. I work under the supervision of lawyers. I do wills and estates. So, basically, anything to do with wills, power of attorney, or probates, they come to me. The best way to explain it to people, ‘What is a paralegal? Is that a lawyer or is that a whatever?’ Basically, if you look at it in the medical field, you have a doctor and you have a nurse. I’m kind of like the nurse of the legal field in a way.

ERIC:  OK

STEVEN:  So, I do all of the actual work. [laughs]

ERIC:  [laughs]

STEVEN:  The paperwork, all the not fun stuff… and then everything gets looked over by a lawyer to make sure everything’s done properly, and done legally, and then I deal with all of the clients. They call and they talk to me. It’s better to talk to me because I have more time. I can actually be more hands on, more than a lawyer where you hear from them once and you get a $500.00 bill. You know what I mean?

ERIC:  Right.

STEVEN:  So, it’s cost effective for the client as well. So that’s basically what I do here at Binsky Whittle.

ERIC:  So wills, estates, probates, I mean, that goes along so closely with what we do when we serve people who are either prearranging a funeral, or actually arranging a funeral, which we would call at-need, where there has been a death. Because, people very often they don’t have their wills in order, their end of life affairs in order… and they don’t find out about find out about that until someone passes away. They are completely unorganized and then, you know, for the next time… they get organized. We run into that all the time and we’re trying to educate people on how they can best plan for their end of life. So, you know, we like people to prearrange their funeral to remove stress and financial burden. What would you suggest to people on your side of things to best plan for end of life?

STEVEN:  And you’re absolutely right. When I get somebody in here it’s usually someone has died. You know and all of a sudden it’s like ‘oh, I’ve never even thought of doing a will.’ The issue is, sometimes, you know what? It’s funny. I find it’s usually men who are very stubborn about this situation.

ERIC:  About actually doing a will.

STEVEN:  About actually doing a will. So, they’ll come to me and say “I don’t need a will because of this, this, and this.” And they’re absolutely wrong.

ERIC:  Because men are ten feet tall and bullet proof… I know I am. [laughs]

STEVEN:  And that’s the thing. They’re like “I’ll never die.” I’m pretty sure if you get hit by a car, it doesn’t matter what age you’re at. You’re not going to most likely survive that. So, when I talk about a will, especially if you own a house, and a lot of people here, especially with the GTA market, houses are expensive— extremely expensive.

Eric: Yeah.

What a lot of people don’t understand is: If you don’t have a will, your estate is still going to be distributed. It’s not going to go to the government. A lot of people think ‘the government is going to take all of my money… that’s why I want a will’ that’s not the reason why you want a will. You want a will because if you don’t have a will, it could go to people you don’t want it to go to. That’s the issue.

ERIC:  So, your estate could be divided up and given in a way that you don’t want it to be.

STEVEN:  Exactly, and it’s easier for people to contest it as well. A friend, Bob, could come up and say “He promised me ten thousand dollars before he died.” And technically, he can go to court with that. With a will, it’s almost impossible to contest that.

ERIC:  Because the will has everything laid out exactly the way you want.

STEVEN:  Exactly the way you want, and who you want your money to go to and all of that. Another issue you come into is you have spouses as well… where you might not want to give everything to your spouse. Just because you’re married doesn’t automatically mean everything is going to her… or him.

ERIC:  Right. We’re seeing a lot of families where there is a second marriage. A person passes away and they’re married to their second spouse… and so there’s children and grandchildren and things like that. It’s probably more complicated now than it was years ago.

STEVEN:  It’s more complicated and if you have a will and you state that you want nothing to go to your ex-spouse, whether you’re divorced or not, she can still come in and try to claim something. It doesn’t mean she can’t. In law, you can claim anybody; you can sue anybody for any reason, really. It doesn’t mean you’re going to win, but you can sue anybody for any reason. When you have a will, it’s more concrete… Saying: ‘No, this is where I want my money to go to; this is who I want it to go to.’ And that’s basically the end of the story. It doesn’t mean people can’t still try to claim something. Because, like I said before, they can do anything they want. I can sue my next door neighbor because he looked at me funny. It doesn’t mean I can’t do that, but it doesn’t mean they’re going to win. When it comes to a will, you’re just saying, no ‘this is my wishes when I die. I want all of my money to go to my kids’, for instance, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen… and that’s the point of a will.

ERIC:  So that’s it. That’s the main point of the will, to direct and divide up assets and things like that.

STEVEN:  Now another thing I wanted to add as well, sorry, things like life insurance, GIC’s, you can name beneficiaries on, which is a good thing. You actually want to name beneficiaries on these different establishments because if you don’t, it goes to the will. The more in the will, the more you have to… what’s called probate. That’s where probate comes in.

ERIC:  We’ll get to probate in a minute. I have a couple of other questions; because, I find this fascinating. Within the will, how do you suggest to your clients to choose an executor, or an executrix, or whatever— and please give me the right name. Because we see it all the time where the executor of the estate also makes the decisions on the funeral and sometimes the executor is not the next of kin and so we sometimes see some disagreements. How do you suggest people choose an executor?

STEVEN:  It’s best to have somebody you trust. And also it’s good to have two. You can have as many as you like. An executor is also known as an estate trustee. It’s the same thing.

ERIC:  OK. Is that a more correct term?

STEVEN:  Estate Trustee is what they like to call it now, but it used to be called executor.  The courts are trying to change it to estate trustee. It’s just complicating things more than anything, but they like to use Estate Trustee more than executor. It’s kind of like an older term—executor.

ERIC:  Yeah

STEVEN:  So, I always recommend to have at least two and to have an alternate as well, because if something happens to the executor and something happens to you soon after, then all of a sudden you’ve got nobody. It’s good to have two at the same time because then they both have to make decisions on stuff… as long as they don’t argue.

ERIC:  Right.

STEVEN:  Right. That can cause a whole other problem. If you have one brother… let’s say that there’s two of you. It’s good to have that one because he’s your brother and he’s going to most likely do what you want. But, I usually recommend either two together or one and then an alternate. Just in case something happens to that first one. Now, as the executor, you’re right, and it’s not always somebody that’s close like a family member. Sometimes, they’ll say “I don’t want my family members as the executor because they’re going to fight. They’re going to argue… I’d rather it be my friend, whoever…”

ERIC:  Unbiased.

STEVEN:  Unbiased. He’s just going to do what the will says. He’s not going to listen to anybody else. He or she is going to do what the will says.

ERIC:  Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

STEVEN:  And that’s what a lot of people do… and that’s actually not a terrible idea—to have somebody outside of the family that you choose. And again, you have to trust that person.

ERIC:  And I guess too, if you name an executor, or I guess, an estate trustee?

STEVEN:  Yeah.

ERIC:  —of your will, but you are going to be grief stricken when the person dies. You may not be in any state to actually do what you need to do.

STEVEN:  That’s actually absolutely right.

ERIC:  So that makes a lot of sense that you would choose someone like that…

STEVEN:  And I’ve had times with clients and I’m with them and they’re the estate trustee, like a spouse, and it’s hard to talk to them because they’re crying and then they’re… Obviously, I try to be as easy as possible and make the process easy so that they don’t have to do too much work. That’s the whole point of what I do.

ERIC:  Yeah.

STEVEN:  But, when it happens and you’re right, they’re crying and it’s hard for them to bring this kind of stuff up, because they know they’re never going to see them again.  So, it’s one of those things where it is tough and it’s better to have somebody who comes from the outside. Obviously, they’re still going to be sensitive; it’s a friend of theirs, but their hopefully not going to be as grief stricken. Let your family members grieve. That’s what they need to do right now, is grieve… and that’s it.

ERIC:  You mentioned sometimes that if there’s two estate trustees they have equal power, if they don’t agree on something, what happens?

STEVEN:   That’s the one issue when you have two. Eventually it will get to court and the court will decide what to do. It might not be what’s best for the estate. That’s why I say when you do it, you have to be careful if you have two joint [executors]… to make sure that you think that they’re not going to argue on anything. So that’s why it’s almost better to have the one and the alternate. When you do the one you make sure it’s somebody you really trust.

ERIC:  Right

STEVEN:   But, like you said, eventually it would head to court and court will have to decide for them. And sometimes what they’ll do is they’ll just say “you know what, guys? Too much arguing is going on here. We’re just going to liquidate everything and everybody’s going to get this percentage. Done.”

ERIC:  So, what would you say to a person who doesn’t think they should have a will? They don’t see the value in doing it; they are probably obviously not educated on the subject. What are the three key points that you would say: here’s the three main reasons why you need to do this and why it’s so important?

STEVEN:   One of the biggest ones, I actually have a personal experience that I explain to people that I like to tell people that really, to be honest, scares people. I don’t mean to scare them as in, “oh, you better get a will—”

ERIC:  But, they should know.

STEVEN:  They should know. My father passed away without a will and he didn’t have a lot of money but had a really, really big pension. The pension didn’t have a named beneficiary on it either so it went to the estate, but because there was no named beneficiary on it and it went to the estate, the pension company actually kept almost the whole thing. He had about almost $300,000.

ERIC:  And you guys didn’t get anything?

STEVEN:  We got $11,000 each and there’s three of us. Three brothers.

ERIC:  Because there was no will?

STEVEN:  Because there was no will.

ERIC:  And if there had been a will?

STEVEN:  If there had been a will, it would have went to the estate and it would have went to us. Now it’s not the government that took it.  The government has nothing to do with it. The government, all they really want is the taxes. That’s all they care about, obviously. But, the pension company, they said “oh, there’s no will.” And there’s some clause in one of their forms that says if there’s no will, we keep the money. You get a small percentage… and that was it. That’s one of the biggest reasons why you need a will is because anything can happen and your money could actually not be distributed to your family members or your loved ones.

ERIC:  Especially in that third party situation, I guess.

STEVEN:  Yeah.

ERIC:  If there’s no one named on the pension, there’s no will, there’s nothing to do then they just keep it.

STEVEN:  They can say, “Sorry, guys. We’re going to keep this money.” There was a clause and we went to court and everything for this. There was a clause in there that they had stated in one of their contracts. Basically, we were out of luck. That’s, funnily enough, what started me on this path… to become a paralegal.

ERIC:  You weren’t a paralegal at the time?

STEVEN:  I knew nothing about any of this. This was over ten years ago. I knew nothing about this, but it kind of started my mind going and that’s when I started to get into this position. So, that helped me in that way…

ERIC:  Yeah.

STEVEN:  Another reason is—especially when, as you were saying before, the two marriages, people get married again and they get divorced, if you don’t change your will or make a new will and it’s before the date of the marriage it’s deemed void. Which means it’s no good anymore. So let’s say you have a will, you get married… let’s say I make you a will today and two years from now you find a new girl and you get married and you don’t think about it. That will that you made, you think “Oh, I’ve got a will. Don’t worry about it.”

ERIC:  Before I got married?

STEVEN:  Before you got married, it’s void. A court will not take it.

ERIC:  So if you get married after you made a will and you don’t at least update it—

STEVEN:  The date of the will has to be after the date of the marriage.

ERIC:  OK. Got it.

STEVEN:  That’s fine, you can keep the will the same, that’s fine, but you have to date the will after the marriage; which means, you could even just reprint it and resign it if you really want. If you’re thinking ‘that’s fine, I still want to give my money to Whoever Whoever…’ but, if it’s before the marriage the court will not accept it.

ERIC:  Wow… OK. Very good point, I’m sure many people don’t know that.

STEVEN:  A lot of people don’t.  Yeah.

ERIC:  I’m getting married next week, so I had no idea. So, we’re going to have to change some wills when we’re all done!

STEVEN:  Well there you go! [laughs]

ERIC:  Ok, great, anything else on the wills before we move on?

STEVEN:  Last thing is… I guess… you asked for maybe three points? I said two… Now, this one doesn’t really pertain to the will exactly, but also Power of Attorney’s are very important.

ERIC:  Power of Attorney, and that’s pre-death?

STEVEN:  That’s pre-death. So, you’re still alive, but you’re incapacitated.

ERIC:  OK.

STEVEN:  Power of Attorney’s, there’s two different kinds: One is property, one is health. The health one is called Personal Care, but it’s also known as a Living Will. So, the Living Will part, basically all it is the main clause is what’s called a Do Not Resuscitate Clause, which is what your wishes are if you’re at a point where machines are keeping you alive and basically… do you want to pull the plug? That’s basically, in a nutshell, what it means… And the property is just dealing with money. So let’s say you’re in a coma. Something needs to be done. You need to mortgage your house. You need to buy a house… whatever it is. You’re giving the power to whoever you want to do that for you as long as you’re incapacitated. As long as you’re in a coma, you have Alzheimer’s disease; I mean there’s a whole list of medical reasons.

ERIC:  OK, so, the two different types of Power of Attorney: your property and your health, how is that authority granted? Is it in a will, or…?

STEVEN:  No. No. It’s separate forms. The will is only once you pass on. The Power of Attorneys you would give to whoever you want… brother or sister or a wife or whoever, but they’re two separate forms. One is Property, one is Personal Care. So, basically, if that happens, usually what people do is that they’ll give that piece of paper, that Power of Attorney, to that person. So let’s say you’re getting married and you want to give it to your wife. You would give that copy to her and say, “Hey, by the way, if something happens to me, here’s my Power of Attorney. Make sure everything’s taken care of in case I get in a car accident or I’m in a coma or something.” The will is no good until you’re dead.

ERIC:  Exactly, I understand that.

STEVEN:  Right, so if you don’t have one… and it’s happened to lawyers here before where they come to me and say ‘My husband’s in a coma. I need to do a bunch of stuff, but I need Power of Attorney’, but because they’re incapacitated, they can’t sign anything.

ERIC:  Right.

STEVEN:  So, a court application costs roughly $3000.00 to do the court application for Power Attorney for someone who is already incapacitated.

ERIC:  Oh, wow. So that’s a big problem.

STEVEN:  Compared to $100.00 before [laughs], so it’s a big difference.

So, if you haven’t done this Power of Attorney, that authority doesn’t automatically fall to someone else unless you’ve done it. If, say, I’m married and I’ve become incapacitated, it doesn’t immediately fall to my wife?

STEVEN:  For Personal Care, usually the doctors won’t care as much… health wise.

ERIC:  OK.

STEVEN:  Money wise, no. They will say no.

ERIC:  They need that Power of Attorney.

STEVEN:  The main source of worry is getting sued. If that happens, “Oh, don’t worry about it, it’s my husband.” They’ll say, “I’m really sorry, but we really want Power of Attorney before you can do anything.”

ERIC:  Right, that makes sense.

STEVEN:  So, they want to cover their own tracks.

ERIC:  For sure. OK. Makes sense. Great. I want to move along to probate, which you brought up. What is probate? Give me the Coles Notes on probate.

STEVEN:  Basically, the best way I explain probate is… when anybody passes away, whether they have a will or not, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about what they have in their estate. So, let’s say you pass away. You’re a single guy. You have a house and you want to give everything to your kids, let’s say. You were divorced before. It doesn’t matter if you have a will or not, but let’s go with someone who doesn’t have a will. So the kids would say, ‘dad’s passed away, we need to sell the house.’ They go to a real estate lawyer, they need probate before they do anything. Probate is a tax. It’s a court application where you get a piece of paper called a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee that costs a percentage of whatever you’re probating. Say, the house is worth $500,000. It’s a percentage of that: 1.4-1.5%.

ERIC:  OK.

STEVEN:  All it is, is a piece of paper with a gold star on it. That’s what I like to tell people. It’s from the court. It’s a court order that’s basically mentioning you’re allowed to sell the house. Even if you have a will, people will say, ‘why do I still have to do a probate?’ Banks are very scared. Banks do not want to get sued so they’ll say, ‘we need probate before we can release the funds to you.’

ERIC:  Right.

STEVEN:  Say, the person has $100,000 in their account. You’ll hear that a lot. There’s a hundred grand, that’s fine. You’ll show them the will and they’ll say, ‘we want a piece of paper from the court, which is probate, stating that you are the estate trustee and that we’re allowed to release the funds to you.’

ERIC:  So, if you have a will, you’re best off to probate the will, depending on what needs to be sold, and have been appointed by the court as an Estate Trustee, even though you’re already named the estate trustee?

STEVEN:  Sometimes you can avoid probate. You want to try to avoid probate. I’ll explain it a little better. Let’s say, for yourself, you’re getting married. Do you have a house?

ERIC:  Yes. We do.

STEVEN:  Is it your house or is it owned jointly?

ERIC:  It’s owned jointly.

STEVEN:  So, your wife wouldn’t have to probate because it’s owned jointly. It would automatically go to her. Probate is not something that will have to happen to you. You don’t have to worry about that. But, let’s say you have $100,000 in a bank account and it’s only under your name, she has to probate that. She can’t just go and take the money even though that you’re married.

ERIC:  OK.

STEVEN:  Even though that you have a will.

ERIC:  Right, she would still need to probate, because the house would be owned jointly, so if a couple—one of them passes away: the ownership of the house goes directly to the wife.

STEVEN:  —Directly to the spouse, no matter what.

ERIC:  But, if the bank account—

STEVEN:  Only under your name…

ERIC:  Under my name only.

STEVEN:  But if it’s jointly, you don’t.

ERIC:  So, that’s how you get around it. You need everything to be joint.

STEVEN:  There’s two different joints.

ERIC:  OK

STEVEN:  There’s a joint that’s literally 50/50. Then you would have to probate 50% of that house. As long as it is joint—and I believe it is to the survivor, I’d have to ask a real estate lawyer for the correct term, but joint to the survivor, meaning it goes to the other one if one passes away, which is fine. That way, you don’t have to go probate. But, people say, ‘what if I put my son on the title with me?’, but then, the problem is the government gets you there because you have to pay Capital Gains Tax.

ERIC:  Right.

STEVEN:  So, either way you are paying a tax.

ERIC:  OK.

STEVEN:  The only real way is if they live with you and if you own the house jointly. That would save you from probate. Same with a bank account. If you own it jointly, the banks don’t care. Because you’ve already agreed, said yes, ‘If I die…it’s going to be my wife’s or my husband’s account’ you don’t have to probate anything in that case.

ERIC:  OK. If it’s all joint?

STEVEN:  Sometimes there’s nothing. You’re not going to put your son joint. I’ve got a lot of money in there, what if he takes it? Because he can technically do anything he wants with that account. Sometimes you can’t avoid it or the same if you don’t live with them. There’s nothing you can do about that.

ERIC:  What about families who have, say, a family cottage? And the parents own the cottage, probably jointly, and one of the parents passes away? It would obviously go to the parent remaining. Let’s say that the parent remaining is getting older. Is there anything that families can do to avoid paying Capital Gains on a family cottage? Because, I’ve heard of people losing their cottage because they don’t have the money for Capital Gains. Is there a method of sheltering yourself from that?

STEVEN:  There used to be.

ERIC:  There used to be?

STEVEN:  The Government’s changed that unfortunately. There used to be when they would marry, one would own the cottage and one would own the house and they could get away with it, because they’re both technically primary residents. But now they say if you’re married you can only own one house together.

ERIC:  OK

STEVEN:  So let’s say you want to go buy a cottage, you own a house now. You can never claim it as your primary residence. It has to be the cottage, or your house.

ERIC:  And you can’t jointly own those with your children as you mentioned?

STEVEN:  You can, but you will pay Capital Gains. As soon as you change it, then you start paying Capital Gains.

ERIC:  That’s going to be based on what you paid for the place vs. fair market value?

STEVEN:  Exactly. Now it would make more sense to do the cottage, because it won’t gain a lot of capital since you bought it, whereas here in the GTA it can go up $50,000 in a year sometimes because of how fast it goes up. It would make more sense for, let’s say you have kids and they want to own the cottage, put them on the cottage because it’s not going to gain a lot, most likely, depending on where it is.

ERIC:  Right. I’ve heard before from some of the clients that we serve, they could have bought the land 50 or 60 years ago, built the cottage themselves; it didn’t cost them a lot. They worked hard and they saved their money and they did a lot of work themselves, but now that area, say it’s something in Muskoka, now that cottage is worth $700,000 and the kids are left going ‘I can’t afford the Capital Gains on this.’ What happens then?

STEVEN:  They would have to sell it. Either way, they can’t have that cottage unfortunately.

ERIC:  But, the sooner they jointly own it with the kid, the less it would be. The less it would go up.

STEVEN:  Exactly. If they only did it a year ago, there won’t be very much Capital Gains. A lot of people, when I get in, I’ll get an older couple and their younger son or daughter and they’ll say ‘what do I do? Do I do probate?’ They want to know which way to go.

ERIC:  Right.

STEVEN:  And I usually tell them, I can’t really tell you when your parents are going to die [laughs].

ERIC:  Exactly.

STEVEN:  That’s what it depends on. It sounds morbid, but if your parents die tomorrow, Capital Gains is the way to go, because you’re paying nothing. But, if your parents live for another then years, then probate’s probably the way to go. You’ll probably pay less in probate than with Capital Gains. It also depends on where they live: if they live anywhere out of the GTA, because anywhere in the GTA the house market is crazy. For instance, I’m originally from Ottawa. Up in Ottawa, it doesn’t go up all that high each year… maybe $1000-2000 roughly. Downtown would be different, obviously.

ERIC:  Sure.

STEVEN:  In that case, then it’s all a numbers game, really. It doesn’t really matter which way you go.

ERIC:  Got it…OK. So, we’ll go right back to the beginning. End of life planning, you know, we get into this because people are looking to take care of their funeral, for their kids, not only arranging the funeral, but paying for it at the time. But that’s not necessarily the most important part. So: we definitely want people to have a will in place and make sure that it counts. Other than the marriage happening after the date of the will, is there anything else that can void a will?

STEVEN:  Nothing else other than yourself. You can void your own will. You can make a new will. The old one is going to be void. I suggest you shred the old one just in case, because if they can’t find that new one, they’ll use the old one.

ERIC:  And we’ve had those situations where we’ve served families, they’ve shown us the will and they didn’t realize a year later another will comes out of the woodwork and now there are legal issues within the family.

STEVEN:  When we do that, when I do a new will, I usually ask for the old will and shred it.

ERIC:  That makes sense.

STEVEN:  We would rather just get rid of it completely so that there’s no way of it causing any problems.

ERIC:  OK. So you want to have your will in order. You also want to have your powers of attorney in order: both someone in charge of your property, your money, your assets and also your health… and then probate happens after the person has passed away.

STEVEN:  …And that all depends on how you’ve arranged everything; sometimes you can’t avoid it, unfortunately. Sometimes, you can.

ERIC:  If you know that you are going to have to have something probated and you’re someone who wants to look after your family, have you ever suggested to anyone, or seen anyone put money away into an account to cover those costs?

STEVEN:  It doesn’t really matter, because it comes out of the estate. Everything comes out of the Estate anyway. Funeral, legal fees, everything comes right out of the estate. The person that’s the executor or the beneficiaries, it shouldn’t come out of their money. The way you look at it is that everything comes off the top of the estate and whatever is left over gets distributed.

ERIC:  Got it.

STEVEN:  Including income tax and whatever taxes are left on the estate.

ERIC:  Well… it’s definitely something we want all of our clients to know about and I think that I’ve only scratched the surface here with you today. I think probably what’s going to happen, since a lot of people are going to find this so helpful, we’re going to have to come back and see you and drill down on some of these things line by line as we get questions and as things happen. This was a great start and a great way to introduce our clients to some of the things they need to be aware of and the some of things they need to do. I want to thank you very much, Steven, it was great. I look forward to speaking to you more about this kind of thing. Thanks very much!

Was extremely pleased with the services provided by Basic Funerals. The whole experience was well executed from pre-arranging to need fulfillment and follow up. Would recommend both pre-arrangments and Basic Funerals.read more
Gerard Grimm
13:56 02 Oct 21
All staff at Basic Funerals have been compassionate, patient, supportive and efficient every step of the way. They really did a great job easing our minds and making our lives easier at a time when we really needed all of that! They are quick and responsive too. The work they did on the obituary and photo gallery helped my family feel more peace and closure than they expected at a time like this.read more
Alana Hunt
14:32 24 Aug 21
The Ottawa Administration Team for Basic Funerals were all so kind, courteous and very helpful with making arrangements regarding my late father. Sam took my initial phone call and emailed me information about various options for cremation. Darlynn helped me decide which option was best, and did not try to up-sell things we did not need, but added on a couple of things we wanted. Marty drove all the way to our home to pick up clothing. All of the paperwork was done over email / phone and the urn was delivered directly to our home by Brandon. Tania was involved in coordinating that delivery and also sent follow-up emails . I am so pleased with the service and how helpful, caring and polite everyone was. Such a refreshing change from a lot of places nowadays. I appreciate each and every one of you for helping us through this difficult time. Your team is exceptional. Thank you!read more
Sherry Hickey
16:09 21 Jul 21
A great team there. Always doing what it takes to look after their clients.
Micheal Davis
13:13 30 Jun 21
Amazing. I am completely blown away with how wonderful the team, especially Jessica, has been. Pleasant, kind and ever so helpful, they have made this sad experience more tolerable. Thank you for everything.read more
gayle mills
19:25 14 Jun 21
My first experience making funeral arrangements for a family member was made so much easier and on so many levels, thanks to Basic Funerals Mississauga. I didn’t have any idea on who to call, what services I needed, and associated costs. I google searched and called many different funeral homes. When I read the reviews for Basic Funerals and compared their costs to all other homes, I thought they sounded too good to be true. I took the chance and secured their services, and I couldn’t be happier. I dealt with a number of different staff members throughout the process and everyone was fantastic, efficient, helpful and sympathetic. They never tried to up-sell me, in fact, they explained why a less expensive item/service was more practical for our needs. There is absolutely nothing that I could possibly suggest for improving their services or fees. I can’t thank them enough for making this difficult time easier. I wouldn’t hesitate to refer Basic Funerals to my family and friends!read more
Lisa Cooper
19:24 27 May 21
The absolute best value for your money. I saved a ton by not going the regular funeral home "rip you off" route. 1st Class service. Was extremely surprised how efficiently they handled my Father's funeral. Recommend 100%...WITHOUT RESERVATION....read more
George A
19:47 26 May 21
I would highly recommend Basic Funerals. The service my sister and I received after our mom's passing was exceptional. Darlynn was so compassionate and calming. She was so very helpful it took a big burden off our shoulders. We cannot thank her enough.Renette and Linda.read more
Molly D
21:32 09 Apr 21
Basic Funerals are a bunch of empathetic and compassionate individuals. I have had a very satisfying experience with them recently and Chelsea and Jenna, both went over and above their responsibilities and helped us with their services. Extremely helpful and compassionate.read more
Mohit Goyal
17:47 04 Apr 21
They came recommend by a friend. Basic funerals made the difficult process much easier. Professional, kind and very efficient. I would highly recommend Basic Funerals to anyone.Mark Griffithsread more
mark griffiths
18:39 20 Jan 21
I recently engaged Basic Funerals to handle the Funeral needs of a good friend. This was all new to me, but they were just fantastic! They were so very efficient, helpful, patient and understanding, without once trying to upsell. They displayed a lot of sympathy and caring while answering a lot of questions. Their free linked service via Executorschoice.com was equally outstanding and helpful with filing all the necessary stuff online with the different Govt. Agencies,etc.read more
Austin Noronha
18:19 28 Dec 20
We do thank you all for the very professional services, the family was highly pleased with all the stages of the process. We called Basic Funerals for shipping the deceased abroad.The arrangements and communications were excellent especially during these difficult COVID times, we have had the understanding for the short delays but overall it was a real five stars service.read more
Michael Colceriu
21:15 26 Nov 20
It was exactly as I my loved one requested. There was never any pressure and no surprises. I have recommended Basic Funerals to others. The online obituary was done professionally and remarked on as such by all who viewed it.read more
Hugh Floyd
01:22 04 Nov 20
My mother's funeral was handled thoroughly and professionally by the team at Basic Funerals. Special thanks to David who patiently answered my many questions and oversaw the funeral on the day of. He was empathetic and was attentive to all of my family's requests. And thank you to Jessica for the communication and Amanda who assisted with the funeral as well.read more
Sarah Kim
19:56 14 Oct 20
The team at Basic Funerals were very professional all the way through for our "graveside" service. On the day of the funeral, the coach arrived on time (early actually!), it was very clean and polished, they had a map of the cemetery and pre-planned out their route, the staff communicated well with us, provided us with everything that we need, and even did last minute adjustments to my grandpa's positioning/the padding to optimize the open-casket viewing. Andrew was our director for the day and he was amazing!Highly recommend graveside service, esp during COVID.read more
Tammy Lee
15:21 21 Sep 20
I highly recommend using Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices. The staff are professional and helpful. I have told others about Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices for a cost friendly and simple alternative. Not once through the process did I feel I was 'cheaping' out. Our friends/family really appreciated the online obituary, video memorial and tribute wall.read more
K Wright
17:22 18 Sep 20
We had the pleasure of having basic cremation to have my grandmother there her name is Maria Gomez it’s been almost 3 weeks since she passed away the customer service here was fantastic and amazing Chantelle did my grandma’s makeup for her viewing it looked exactly like my grandma when she was alive as we are still grieving her loss Chantelle did an amazing job and I’m so grateful for her I took a picture of my grandma and I have that forever in my heart Basic cremation service is definitely recommend Thank you for everything and Chantelle you are amazing your art is beautiful and you did an amazing job on my grandma God bless you girl! Thank you with love Priscilla Nielsen & Familyread more
Priscilla Familia
18:08 24 Aug 20
I used the repatriation service of Basic Funerals. Although I had some problems with some documents, the company reached out to me to help me with my problem. Therefore I would recommend them to other families.read more
Evelin Halász
15:55 15 May 20
During a difficult time, the staff at Basic Funerals we compassionate and professional as well as helping us navigate through the paperwork. We would recommend those considering an alternative to an expensive funeral consider contacting Basic Funerals to understand the less expensive alternatives for their loved one that has passed (or will be passing).read more
dennis dillon
19:49 24 Feb 20
My mom always led us to believe her final arrangements had been made and paid for. What a shock it was when she passed away to find out that wasn’t the case at all. Mom had a plot and a memorial marker paid for at the cemetery she wanted to rest in, that was it. I contacted the place mom had chosen and was shocked at how outrageously expensive everything was. Sorry to say but this place was too rich for my budget.So now, I’m bargain shopping a funeral for my mom. I chose Basic Funerals and Cremation by website reviews and pricing and have never looked back. I didn’t know what to expect since they were much more affordable than the “original” place but the professionalism and compassion shown by Basic Funerals staff is second to none. Mom was treated with respect and dignity throughout the whole process. I say whole process because due to illness in the family, we did not have mom’s service until mid February and she passed away the previous November (nearly 3 months prior). They kept mom safe and didn’t pressure me until we were ready.I should mention that everything was arranged mostly through email and the odd phone call as I live a couple hours away? I thought it was going to be extremely difficult to arrange mom’s cremation from afar but Katelyn (my first contact) made it easy and didn’t force me to make the drive unnecessarily.Mom’s service was everything I could have hoped for and so much more. Karoline Lebrun was the funeral director and memorial specialist assigned to us through the Legacy Celebrations department. I cannot say enough kind words for everything Karoline did to make mom’s final send off perfect. The clergy Karoline chose to perform the ceremony was a gem. His service wouldn’t have been much better if he had actually known mom or our family previously. Karoline arranged for mom’s urn to be transferred from the service to the cemetery for burial and personally made a couple of flower arrangements out of the flowers there to go with mom and for us to take home. She was very professional. compassionate and personable. It was an absolute pleasure to finally meet her and thank her in person for everything she did to help me arrange mom’s service.I highly recommend Basic Funerals and Cremation. The services they provide are at fraction of the cost of other funeral homes and they do so with the utmost respect, courtesy and without upselling or guilting into more than you desire. You sacrifice nothing in terms of service by choosing Basic Funerals and the Legacy Celebrations department is top notch.Cindy Byersread more
cindy byers
15:32 22 Feb 20
My Mom passed away just over a week ago. Our family was in dismay from the death and I had to make funeral arrangements immediately. Basic Funerals went above and beyond to accommodate our family's needs. From picking Mom after her passing, to funeral details, to the official program and cremation, everything was affordable and professional.The funeral took place on Saturday and everyone I spoke with was impressed by what they saw, family included. I'd highly recommend Basic Funerals to anyone looking for professionalism and affordability when it comes to caring for their deceased loved ones.read more
Christopher Neblett
22:46 01 Jan 20
In August of 2019 I became in need of Basic Funerals services.My husband had specified exactly what services he wanted and when I called Jena, she provided a plan that included everything we needed.She was very efficient, professional, and kind, and answered any questions that I had.When my husband died, I appreciated the support I received, which made a difficult time easier for me. Later, I found the package regarding closing affairs particularly helpful. Using it, I was not confused or anxious as everything I needed to do was set out for me.The experience I had with Basic Funerals leads me to highly recommend them. Thank you.read more
Marion Dick
17:20 06 Nov 19
They were attentive and responsive for all the steps for my grandmother's funeral. They came to our home to pick up her clothing and ensure that everything was prepared for the visitation and service. The final paper work was received quickly and in order. Highly recommend them.read more
Areti Papadopoulos
15:16 27 Sep 19
I can’t say enough good things about Basic. They actually know what customer service actual is. Very knowledgeable staff, great rates and well organized. There really is a plan for every type of funeral you could possibly be interested in. Robyn is an delight to work with.read more
Mary Gorman
19:01 19 Sep 19
Kaetlyn B was superb at handling Mom's affairs and handling me! Although our mother's death was expected, it was still quite overwhelming. I had never been responsible for this type of arrangement, and am very grateful for Kaetlyn's professional, yet personal manner. Every phone call was answered promptly, and my issues were addressed immediately. Kaetlyn made sure I had everything I needed to start the process, and has provided me with lots of information and direction for the days and weeks ahead. I couldn't be more pleased. I have already spread the word about Basic Funerals, and Kaetlyn. God Bless You All!read more
Karen Drake
19:11 06 Sep 19
Jessica, thank you very much for all your advice and patience and, most of all, for guiding us through this difficult time. All Cremation arrangements at Riverside Chapel were well planned . You are very kind and thank you very much. Also, thank you to everyone else at Basic Funerals and Riverside Cremation for your help.read more
sandy SAGAR
03:59 21 Aug 19
The meeting was very informative and casual. All our questions were answered in a professional manner. We did not feel pressured in any way. We are very happy with the arrangements.read more
Lina Elliot
22:51 15 Aug 19
Helpful, didn't try to push any thing on us.Very affordable.
marg lahey
02:18 08 Aug 19
My experience with Basic Funerals was excellent. My first contact was with Robin. She was easy to talk with and was very quick at returning emails, and phone calls. The pre planning process went smoothly as did the final arrangements. We went with the Basic package, cremation no service. Mailings arrived quickly. The information provided before and after was valuable and the cost of the package was considerably less than arrangements through other funeral homes. I feel comfortable in recommending this company to others in need of this service.read more
Ken Fryer
12:11 07 Aug 19
Allarrangements were handled professionalism and kindness. Jessica was lovely to deal with. The process was very efficient and the cost was reasonable, no or sure was at any time put on you to spend more than your decided you wanted which is not the case in most situations with funeral homes. I will pre arrange for myself and my husband's in the very near future.read more
Debbie Mastin
00:31 07 Aug 19
Robin was very helpful and patient with me on things I didn't understand. I appreciate that very much. Thank you, I have recommended Basic Funerals.
Verda Matthew
17:49 18 Jul 19
Very understanding and absolutely no attempt to sell us anything than we asked for. Professional and very kind.
Viv
10:42 16 Jul 19
Jessica B was very friendly and helpful
Aaron Hachie
17:22 03 Jul 19
Everyone was so helpful in dealing with my brother John's funeral.
Judy Costantini
22:57 13 May 19
During a difficult and emotional time the services we received were exactly what we wanted. There was no attempt at "up-selling" nor was there any sense that we were being guilted into making unaffordable or complex choices. Rather, we received careful attention and very professional responsiveness to our needs. I would absolutely recommend this service for anyone struggling with all of the many other details and emotional distress that follow the passing of a loved one.read more
Debra Macphail
17:18 06 Mar 19
Karoline was the front-line Funeral Director who looked after my wife's final needs. Although I was, at first skeptical, Karoline soon put my mind at ease and she created the type of service that Shelley desired and in a special location that I requested.Throughout the entire process, Karoline offered support and in the event we needed clarification, Karoline did not hesitate. She proved herself to be a valuable asset. to Classic Funerals but also to the family they served.read more
D.C. Mahoney
08:46 31 Jan 19
Robin was awesome to deal with and answered all of my questions. I only wished I know of basic funerals when I was pre arranging my mother's. I was told all sorts of lies by a funeral home.read more
joann guenette
20:04 06 Sep 18
Robin was very professional, knowledgeable, organized and helpful. Great customer service! Thank you.
Louise Viersen
20:40 20 Aug 18
We decided that we wanted to make our pre-planned funeral arrangements and had the pleasure of speaking to Robin. She sat down with us, and clearly outlined all of our options. She reviewed earlier cemetery arrangements with regard to our family plot and what we still required. We are both pleased and relieved that everything is in order and that the Executor of our estate will only have to call one number..read more
Soosy Q
19:29 24 Jul 18
Excellent customer service! Excellent prices! Convenient payment plans. Could not ask for more!
Jaden Winfree
20:08 21 Jun 18
I prearranged my own funeral all on line including payment etc..no muss no fuss....a great experience
John O'Hearn
19:38 24 Apr 18
Robin was very helpful!!! I feel very happy knowing my arrangements are done as per my wishes. This will be so helpful to my family when my time comes to depart this earth!read more
Sandra Stubbs
12:49 09 Apr 18
I contacted Basic Funerals & Cremation to pre-arrange services for my mother. I initially reached out for an appointment by email and received a very prompt reply. I set up the appointment via an email exchange and met with Robin at Basic F&C the following week. It was a very straightforward process and Robin went to great lengths to to explain and simplify the various options. I highly recommend Basic F&C for the ease of contact, arrangement and follow-up.read more
Rick Pringle
17:09 28 Mar 18
Very happy with their professional service. Quick to respond with any questions or concerns. Would highly recommend this company to anyone needing their service .read more
Gail Adamson
20:34 07 Feb 18
Convenient and respectful. This is the second time my family has used Basic Funerals and Cremations Choices. The first was 5 years ago when my father passed away and this time was for my brother. I didn't deal with Basic with my father's arrangements but my step-mother did and recommended them and honestly, I don't think I'd use anyone else moving forward. When we had word on my brother's terminal illness, I called 3 places to get quotes on the cremation he wanted. Let me preface this by saying that my brother said a Celebration of Life was acceptable but he didn't want a viewing or funeral so a cremation is what I was researching.Since this was my first time arranging such services, I had no idea what to expect. The first place (a local funeral home) quoted me $4000, so now I had a starting point. The second place (a local cremation facility) quoted me $1000 (wth? talk about a price difference!) but then stated I had to involve a separate "funeral home of my choice" for transfer services (huh?) and lastly I called Basic.Unlike the other two places I had called, Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices took the time to explain everything to me and offered to email me a quotation that contained all of the details. They offered me various packages to choose from depending on my needs and told me there was no pressure to decide now-I could decide when the time came. The three packages were Budget, Basic and Priority (I chose Priority and would recommend it for the slight price difference). They also confirmed that there would be no additional charges beyond what I was quoted (and there wasn't!).Unfortunately, it was a very short time after this call when their service was needed. I made the call to Basic and they took care of everything. They were incredibly professional the whole way through. From the initial phone call, to the follow-up call when my brother passed, to the young gentleman that came to deliver my brother's ashes and even follow-up calls, these people are top-notch.Basic Funerals and Cremations Choices took the worry out of making the arrangements. I have started recommending their service to friends and family and told my husband this is what I him to do want when my time comes.I'd like to end my review with a sincere thank you to Basic Funerals and Cremation Choices.read more
Connie P.
14:15 05 Feb 18
I was in need of immediate service and Basic Funerals were very helpful and right there tending to my request. The staff were very helpful and attentive to our needs. I would definitely recommend this service for anyone, thank you.read more
Don Mascarin
01:51 12 Jan 18
Our family lost a member who lived in Ontario while most of us are in Newfoundland. This could have caused a lot of confusion and extra expense that we did not need at this difficult time. Basic Funerals was amazing to deal with. Fast, clear, informative, inexpensive, and respectful of our wishes. We got the cremains in plenty of time for the funeral, as well as everything else we expected. I HIGHLY recommend Basic Funerals for anyone during this difficult time.read more
Communication was exemplary...clear, quick response times, helpful. I also appreciated the professional yet senstitive approach each person I spoke with had during our difficult time. One thing I very much appreciated was NO attempt to upsell whatsoever. Any tiny suggestion to get more money I would have not used their services and they never once did...very impressed by that.I was helped by David, Natasha and Kamilah and I was very happy with their customer service...I would highly recommend Basic Funerals.read more
Evangelina Coleman
19:47 12 Nov 17
My Mom had a prearranged plan with Basic Funerals at my recommendation. I found them on the internet and my Mom prearranged everything back in 2011. When my Mom passed we contacted Robin who was her Prearrangement Specialist and was extremely helpful from start to finish. I highly recommend Basic Funerals. Thank you so much Robin and staff for all your help at this difficult time!!!read more
Sandy J-Lee
18:13 12 Nov 17
Very helpful. Compassionate.
Nadine Kyle
13:59 12 Oct 17
Representatives on the phone and in person were so courteous, efficient and straight forward. It was a very difficult time for my elderly parents, and they made it so much easier and in ways enjoyable. Thank you Robin ans Stephanie for such professionalism ! The price is very affordable, no frills and up-selling. Highly recommended.read more
Dragana Skokovic-Sunjic
02:02 11 Oct 17
Prompt response. They understand and listened to your needs. Robin was extremely professionnal, caring and understood what I wanted in regards of my dad's pre-arrangements. It feels good to be understood. Robin was great and went above and beyond to provide me with a great service and no surprise in regards of the pricing.GREAT PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE.I would recommend highly BASIC FUNERALS.read more
Johanne Coshall
15:20 09 Oct 17
Basic Funeral and Cremation Choices was the right choice for my mother's cremation. I contacted Jessica a few days before the time and she provided a quotation after a few minutes on the phone. The quotation was exactly what we were looking for. The price was reasonable. Jessica was on site for the cremation and everything went as planned. I would highly recommend Jessica and her firm.read more
Ravi Aggarwal
16:13 05 Oct 17
Jessica, was wonderful She took her time walking my family through our options. The detailed information she provided was priceless. Guiding us through a very difficult time. This was the second time using her services. I'd definitely use Basic Funerals and Cremations again. Also considering prearrangement of my own aftercare services. Offering my family peace of mind that my wishes were already thought out and paid for!Louise Kruegerread more
Louise Munro
02:36 05 Oct 17
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