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Do you need help understanding funeral costs and the funeral fees you should expect? Here is a brief breakdown and explanation of the four different components which make up the cost of a funeral, and which should be reflected in the billing you receive from your chosen funeral home.

There are generally four sections:

  1. Professional service charges
  2. Casket and other merchandise
  3. Cash Disbursements
  4. Taxes on applicable funeral costs

At InMemory, we do our best to estimate the fees for funeral homes in sections 1-3 – specifically noting where we have used an estimate as opposed to a specific fee provided by the funeral home or from its general price list. An explanation of each of the four categories follows:

Important Notes

  • At InMemory, we do not try to estimate the costs of a cemetery plot and/or opening / closing costs. Please bear this in mind as these costs can be substantial.  
  • Please see the article entitled "How much is it going to cost?" for an analysis on total funeral costs using data from over 650 funeral homes across Canada.

1. Professional Service Charges

These are the charges that the funeral home levies representing the services that it directly provides to families. They are generally comprised of three sub-categories:

Personal and professional services

Items covered in this sub-category include funeral director and staff costs involved in administration, documentation, registration of deaths, embalming, dressing, casketing of remains etc.

Facilities, equipment and sundries

These fees arise from use of the funeral home and equipment for the sheltering of remains, use of the preparation / embalming room, funeral services, visitations etc.

Automotive and transportation needs

Fees in this category cover the cost of transferring the deceased from the place of death to the funeral home, transferring the remains to the cemetery / crematorium, transporting clergy / the family to the cemetery, and using a funeral coach or hearse to transport the casket. Funeral homes may also charge for a general duty/service vehicle for various administrative tasks.

2. Casket and other merchandise

Items in this category are tied directly to individual decisions made by the family from their review of casket / merchandise price lists. In addition to caskets, other types of merchandise you might find in this category are:

  • Burial vaults (which is a lined and sometimes sealed outer receptacle that encases the casket). Such vaults help to preserve the appearance of cemeteries by preventing the ground from settling.
  • Cremation urns
  • Stationary packages

3. Cash Disbursements

Fees in this category represent third party expenses which are covered by the funeral home and placed on your account as a matter of convenience until the payment is settled. Typical cash disbursements include:

  • Cemetery charges / crematorium charges
  • Grave markers / monument lettering
  • Newspaper notices
  • Coroner’s Cremation Certificate
  • Clergy honorarium
  • Organist / soloist honorarium
  • Catering

4. Taxes on Applicable Funeral Costs

Unfortunately, the provincial and federal governments impose sales taxes (either applicable PST/GST or HST as appropriate) on all of the above funeral costs.

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