Plan a funeral or memorial

A funeral or memorial can take many forms, but usually

  • Acknowledges that a person has died
  • Gives people a chance to say goodbye
  • Provides support for friends, family and the community
  • Allows for reflection on life and death

Funerals or memorials are often planned in the days after someone dies. There are financial support options to help with the costs.

On this page:


Find a funeral home 

Funeral homes are private companies that provide service and support following a person’s death. Funeral homes can vary in the services offered and the cost of those services.


Types of memorials 

Memorials for a person who died can take many forms:

  • Funeral service
  • Memorial service
  • Cremation service
  • Celebration of life
  • Wake
  • Symbolic (bench, plaque, monument)
  • Dedicated event

A funeral home can provide you with options, including standard services they offer and what the costs are. You may be interested in a cultural, historical or religious practice. If the person who died had a will, it may include instructions for an event or memorial.

If the person who died did not have a will, an administrator may need to handle the estate and decide how to honour their wishes.


Moving the person's body  

There are rules for who can move the person's body and where it can be moved to. A physician or coroner will tell you when the person’s body can be moved.

The only person who can allow a funeral director to move the body is


If the death happens at home

If the person had an expected/planned natural death at home and a Notification of Expected Death in the Home form (PDF, 67KB) was filled out by a physician or nurse practitioner, the person’s body can be moved without talking to a medical practitioner or coroner.


If the death happens at hospital

If you use a funeral home, tell the hospital the name of the funeral home. You may be asked to allow the transfer of the person's body from the hospital to the funeral home.


Private transfer

If you want to privately transfer the person's body to a funeral home, crematorium or cemetery, you need to get a private transfer permit.


Donation

The person who died may have been registered as an organ donor. Some people choose to donate their body for research or study.


Writing an obituary  

An obituary is the written announcement of someone’s death. It’s usually published in newspapers or on memorial pages on the Internet.

An obituary can

  • Let the community know that someone has died and make funeral arrangements clear
  • Tell the story of a person’s life once they have died
  • Share the names of close family or friends, for example a surviving spouse
  • Act as additional proof of death when cancelling services or accounts
  • Become a historical record

If you use a funeral home, you can work with them to write an obituary. You can also write it yourself and contact the newspapers directly or set up your own memorial page on the Internet.


Burial 

A body can only be buried in a designated cemetery in B.C. This is usually arranged by a funeral home.

You can apply to establish a private property as a place of burial.

Burial on a reserve


Paying for a funeral or memorial 

Funerals and memorials can greatly vary in cost. Ask a funeral home for an itemized quote of the cost of the services. The cost is covered by the executor or administrator, estate of the person who died, family, friends or financial support options.


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