After the Funeral
This listing is provided as a resource for addressing issues that may need to be attended to after the funeral. The Family Assistance Action Sheet provides you with helpful information on benefits you may be eligible to receive.For your convenience we have included the forms required to apply for various government benefits.
Family Assistance Action Sheet
Canada Pension Plan Information Sheet
Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit Application
Survivor Benefit - Old Age Application
Survivor Benefit Information Sheet
Survivor Children Benefit Application (18-25 years)
Survivor and Children Application
Survivor and Children Information Sheet
Declaration of CommonLaw
Declaration of School or University
Thank You Cards:
The acknowledgment cards that our funeral home provide each family are to be sent to anyone who has shown an act of kindness to the family such as: making a memorial donation, sending a floral tribute, purchasing a mass card, delivering food to the home or sending a telegram. It is not considered necessary to acknowledge those who have visited the funeral home or sent cards of sympathy.
Your Lawyer and Your Estate:
Often financial institutions will release monies to a widowed spouse without probate. Although there are exceptions, normally this is the case when the monies are under $10,000.00 and the customer is well-known at the branch.
A probate will be required if you are not both the sole executor and sole beneficiary of the estate or if there is a property transfer involved. Contact your lawyer for advice.
If a probate is required, the Will is formally offered in court; the personal representative is approved by the court; an estate inventory is prepared and filed; debt and taxes are recognized and paid; and finally the representative files his/her, account and requests that estate assets be assigned to the designated beneficiaries.
In the absence of a Will, the procedure is the same except that the court, not you, makes many of the critical decisions. The court cost of probating a Will and the lawyer's fees for settling an estate are based on the size of the estate.
If the deceased left no Will, the law and the Probate Judge determine who will administer your estate and handle the financial matters. Generally, the surviving spouse or legal age children apply to be administrator.
It's a good idea to ask you lawyer what some of his/her costs might be and how long does the process of settling an estate of this size take. Usually, its more lengthy than you imagine.
Almost everyone should have a Will. If a person dies without a Will, the law will determine who inherits your property and it is unlikely that your estate will pass to the persons and in the proportions you prefer.
Joint ownership of property is not a good substitute for carefully planned Wills. As a result of a common accident both you and your spouse may die before the survivor has an opportunity to execute a proper Will and the property will pass according to the law. We recommend that both husband and wife have Wills.
The law is very exacting in its requirements with respect to the publication, signing and witnessing of Wills.
You should review your Will every few years, particularly if you have moved or if your family situation has changed since you last executed a Will. Laws vary as to formal requirements and as to the rights of children and grandchildren born after a Will was executed.
HAVING A WILL PREPARED BY A COMPETENT LAWYER/NOTARY, COULD VERY WELL BE THE BEST INVESTMENT YOU WILL EVER MAKE.
Legal Aid has information that can assist you in answering your questions. Consult your telephone directory for the correct telephone number.
Mail will continue to be delivered or can be held at the Post Office until further direction is given. Mail redirection is possible at no charge. Please contact your local Post Office for the required documentation.
Bank Account/Safety Deposit Box:
Notify your bank immediately of the death for advice as to the requirements regarding the necessary papers and changes. A Funeral Director’s Proof of Death Certificate should be given to the bank at this time. The deceased persons next of kin or estate is entitled to all cheques (or direct deposits) which have been received as income for the month in which the death occurred. This includes Canada Pension, Old Age Security, Supplemental Benefits, Social Security Benefits, Veteran’s Benefits and most other provincial and federal benefit cheques. It may be beneficial to leave a joint account open for a couple of months to deposit any cheques made payable directly to the deceased.
There are three types of survivor benefits under the Canada Pension Plan which may need to be applied for
1) The death benefit is a one-time payment to the estate or person responsible for the funeral expenses.
2) The surviving spouse’s pension is a monthly pension paid to the spouse of a deceased contributor.
3) The children’s benefit is a monthly benefit paid to children of a deceased contributor.
We will provide the necessary application forms and will assist in completing, if required. When forwarding documents to CPP, it is recommended sending certified photocopies instead of original documents (excluding the Funeral Director’s Proof of Death Certificate). We can certify the originals if required. Please visit the CPP website for further information.
Private Company Pension:
Notify the company immediately of the death for advice as to requirements regarding the necessary documentation.
Notify each insurance company (Life, House/Apartment, Vehicle) and they will send a representative to see you or mail the forms, which will need to be completed. A refund may be applicable. Each company may require a Funeral Director’s Proof of Death Certificate. If the death involved a fatal accident there may be special coverage in a policy.
War Veteran’s Burial Assistance:
If the deceased was receiving a war veteran pension, disability pension, or qualified at the time of death for benefits, the surviving spouse or estate can apply for financial assistance for the funeral costs.
Extended Health Care Coverage:
If the deceased had extended health care coverage, there may be a refund due. A Funeral Director’s Proof of Death Certificate will likely need to be sent to the insurer. If there is company health care coverage, the employer should be notified as to the death.
Contact each company to cancel or transfer to spouse. They may require a Funeral Director’s Proof of Death Certificate. Cards being canceled should be destroyed and any outstanding balance paid.
The companies (Newspaper, Telephone, Cable TV, Magazine Subscriptions, etc.) should be contacted and notified of the death, in order to cancel or transfer an account. A refund may be applicable.
Take vehicle registrations to the nearest motor vehicle office. Signature of the executor or surviving spouse is required for transfer along with possibly the Funeral Director’s Proof of Death Certificate, a Notarized Copy of the Will or a Statutory Declaration completed by a lawyer (if no Will exists). If a vehicle is being sold or transferred to someone other than the surviving spouse, the license plates should be returned to the motor vehicle office. A refund may be applicable.
Should you be traveling due to the death of a family member, most airlines and railways offer a Compassionate Travel Policy. The company should be contacted, since you may be eligible for a special discounted fare or a partial refund on the fare paid. They may require a Funeral Director’s Proof of Death Certificate or will contact the funeral home to verify the death.
An Income Tax Return will need to be filed with Revenue Canada for the deceased for the year in which the death occurred. The publication “Preparing Returns for Deceased Persons” can be obtained by contacting the Forms Department of Revenue Canada at 1-800-959-2221.
Bank and Trust:
After the funeral you should visit your bank(s), trust companies or credit union and ask for assistance from the estate specialist. You then notify them of the death of your spouse or loved one.
Some of the documents that you require when you go are:
1) Birth Certificate
2) Social Insurance Number
3) Proof of Death Certificate
4) Will (if applicable)
1) Birth Certificate
2) Social Insurance Number
3) Marriage License
4) Canadian Citizenship (only if non-native)
The bank recommends that you keep one temporary joint account in the deceased's name, so that cheques made out to that person, can still be deposited. Pension cheques can be kept and deposited only for the month in which the deceased died. Any additional cheques received must be returned. If the cheques are sent for direct deposit, after the first one is received, the bank will automatically return any future cheques.
If the bank account was joint, where either was able to sign cheques, nothing is frozen and the person surviving can have complete access to the funds.
However, if it is any other type of account, even a Joint Account where both have to sign, once a death takes place, the account is automatically frozen. Often times a probated Will is necessary before the institution can release the funds. If he account is frozen, funeral and other necessary expenses can still be withdrawn. The person handling the estate accounts will advise you on the necessary steps involved in having the balance of the funds withdrawn.
Safety Deposit Boxes:
If the safety deposit box was rented with either the deceased or the survivor to sign, the widowed spouse may remove all the contents without any problems.
However if it was required that both must sign, the contents are inaccessible. You will require a copy of the Will to gain entry into the box. If the Will is in the safety deposit box, the bank at their discretion, will allow one of their employees to accompany the survivor when the box is entered, so that only the Will is removed.
Canada Savings Bonds:
The beneficiary has the option of leaving the bonds and certificates in place until maturity or the funds can be released with a Proof of Death Certificate.
Loans & Mortgages:
If the loan or mortgage is life insured, a Will and Proof of Death Certificate is usually all that is needed to settle the matter. Where otherwise indicated, payment continues as normal. You should feel free to discus this with your bank or trust company manager as well.
Ministry of Transportation:
If the insurance for the vehicle was in the deceased's name you should immediately contact the insurance company. Do this before you notify the Ministry of Transportation. Then contact the Ministry of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Branch in your area and notify them of the deceased's name.
If the deceased had a Will and the executor has signed over ownership – no car safety check is required and the license plates can then be transferred to the survivor.
If there is no Will, and he deceased had siblings it will be necessary for the surviving spouse to have a lawyer prepare a "Letter of Directive." Even if the vehicle is registered jointly and there is no Will the procedure is the same. The Motor Vehicle Branch will charge a small fee for this service. Also, check with your lawyer, as there may be a fee for preparing the "Letter of Directive."
For spouse – no change required. If you wish the Post Office to forward mail to another family member's address you must provide a copy of "Proof of Death Certificate" from the funeral home. If a Death Certificate is provided no fee will be charged, however if you do not provide the Certificate a transfer fee will be charged.
If you have a copy of the insurance policy(s) contact your insurance agent. If you are unable to find a copy of the policy(s) at home, contact your agent who will probably have a copy on file.
If more than one insurance policy is involved your agent should contact the other insurance companies for you and request claimant forms. Most dealings with insurance companies will be done by mail.
If a private pension plan is involved check to see if that plan had an insurance policy.
It should be noted that in case of sudden death while traveling, many cardholders are automatically insured if that card was used on the trip. Check to see if this applies.
If the insurance policy benefits are less than $10,000, you will require a claimant's statement signed by the attending physician. If the death was accidental, the coroner would have to complete the claimant's statement. Your family doctor usually can made arrangements for this form to be completed and sent to you.
The beneficiary has a choice in how the benefits are received when an insurance claim is settled. For smaller settlements, usually a cheque is mailed to the beneficiary. However, for larger policies, you may choose to have a lump sum or you may prefer to have settlement in monthly payments.
Depending on your circumstances, you may also prefer to have one half as a lump sum and one half in monthly payments. You will have to try to look ahead in deciding how best to manage your financial affairs.
Contact an Investment Planner for financial advice.
After the funeral you may need some professional financial help. Many survivors rely on financial planners, bankers, accountants or lawyers to organize their affairs. The planning professional after reviewing your circumstances, will make some suggestions about changes in joint investments. If you are on a fixed income now is the time to develop this plan.
Your financial professional will thoroughly examine your financial situation and recommend what are the best options for you. Areas to be considered would be age of dependents, if applicable, possible investments to supplement your future income, diversified investment portfolio. Also life insurance should be a consideration if you are a young survivor with some dependent children, but only if the premium payments can be worked out.
The OHIP Office in your municipality must be notified in writing.
You must supply the Health Card and a copy of Proof of Death – when supplied the deceased number will be cancelled.
For Blue Cross, Green Shield or other extended health coverage check with their local representative to ensure no refund premiums are due to the estate. Also inquiries should be made as to coverage for surviving dependent members if required.
Revenue Canada Taxation:
The Government has prepared a special booklet entitled "A Deceased Person's Income Tax Guide" which is available free of charge by simply calling Revenue Canada.
Upon death of the deceased you should immediately telephone Revenue Canada and supply them with the deceased date of death, date of birth, social insurance number and one of the Proof of Death Certificates, which was supplied by the funeral home.
You are given up to six months, or by the following April 30th to file an income tax report on behalf of the deceased. Depending on the income earned, it may not be necessary for the survivor to pay any income tax for that year.
C.P.P. Survivor Benefits:
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provides for the payment of survivor benefits to the eligible spouse and dependent children of a deceased CPP contributor who has met the minimum contributory requirements of having made valid contributions for at least three (3) years in at least one third of the years since 1966 or ten (10) years, whichever is less.
Benefits are increased every year according to the cost of living and are payable anywhere in the world. Cheques may be directly deposited to your bank and will be subject to income tax. Children over the age of eighteen (18) must submit a declaration of school attendance form every year and/or semester.
To be eligible for a CPP Lump Sum Death Benefit, the applicant must:
- Be the executor, administrator or legal representative of the estate of the deceased contributor. If there is no estate, the person responsible for the funeral expenses or the surviving spouse or the next-of-kin may apply.
To be eligible for CPP Surviving Spouse's Pension the applicant must:
- Be the legal or common-law spouse of the deceased contributor. The common-law spouse is that person of the opposite sex with whom the deceased contributor had been living in a conjugal relationship for at least one year immediately before the date of death.
To be eligible for a CPP Orphan's Benefit, the child must:
- Be the child of the deceased contributor or a child who was in custody and control of the deceased contributor at the time of death, and
- Be either under the age of eighteen (18) or if between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-five (25), be in full-time attendance at school or university, and provide such proof.
You should contact your local Government of Canada Office - Health & Welfare Canada - Income Security Programs as it may take up to 8 weeks for the documenation to be processed.
Veterans Affairs (DVA):
A funeral and burial grant may be provided if it can be established that the estate, or surviving spouse has insufficient funds or it can be medically established that the cause of death was related to his/her pensioned condition.
The list of services which may be considered for this grant may include: the funeral director's professional service fees, single grave and opening and closing charge, standard grave liner, headstone, cost of cremation, coroner's fee, cost of urn and niche for the ashes, and additional funds may be available for oversized caskets and special handling of the body. All invoices at the funeral home must be made out to the family member, as Veterans Affairs cannot accept responsibility for the charges. Applications for these benefits should be made to the local office of the Department of Veterans Affairs prior to the funeral service.
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (formerly WCB) provides compensation to workers who are injured on the job. The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board - WSIB has the responsibility of determining whether the accident or disease was work related and to award and pay benefits. The WSIB provides death benefits to those who worked for employers who contribute to the plan. Spouses, children and other dependents of workers who are killed on the job or die from an industrial disease are eligible for benefits.
For more information regarding benefits call the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board at 1-800-267-9461.
If the deceased was a labor union member at the time of death or ever had been a member of a union, they may be entitled to a union pension. All pension plans vary so the best advice would be to contact the union office executive and request information on possible entitlements. You will need a copy of the funeral director's statement of death or a certified copy of the death certificate and a copy of the funeral contract.
Compassionate Travel Policy:
Most major airlines offer a Compassionate Travel Policy and should someone from your family be traveling due to a death of an immediate family member, you may be eligible for a partial refund on your airfare.
The deceased must be a member of your immediate family and is defined by most airlines as: spouse, child, adopted child, step-child, parent, step-parent, grandchild, grandparent, daughter or son-in-law, father or mother-in-law, brother, sister, half brother or sister, brother or sister-in-law, step-brother, step-sister, and legal guardian (proof of judgment required).
To apply for a refund, a Compassionate Travel Refund Application will have to be completed where you purchased your airline ticket within 90 days of the date of death.
When applying you will need:
1) Death Certificate or Funeral Director's Proof of Death Certificate.
2) Passenger Coupon portion of your ticket.
3) All your boarding passes.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board:
A dependant, spouse or relative of a deceased victim may apply for compensation if the death was caused by a crime of violence such as an assault, wounding or murder. The board must receive applications within one year of the crime date. Medical and police reports, bills, and receipts and income tax returns are all documents that must be submitted. Decisions are based on the evidence shown through documentation and an oral hearing. Legal representation is not required, but may be helpful if the claim is complex. Expenses that you may apply for include: medical bills, prescriptions, funeral expenses, loss of support experienced by dependents due to a victim's death, expenses to obtain documents and to attend the hearings, cost of an interpreter and any other reasonable cost. For an application form please phone or write to the:
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board,
439 University Avenue 17th Floor
Or Fax (416) 326-2883