FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You’ll find here the answers to some of the most common questions relating to the activities and value of all things ‘funeral/burial/cremation’. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to provide you with clear answers. We also invite you to with your suggestions for additional FAQs.
This is one of the top ten questions asked by the public to funeral directors and it can be one of the hardest questions to answer fully only because there are so many variables. The simplest answer is that it should only cost what you can afford. However, depending on choices that you make, including which funeral business you choose, if there is cemetery property involved, type of casket used, where the service is held, where an obituary notice is placed and so on, the price will vary. Feel free to call KORU Ngaio at our Vancouver location 604-324-8285 or Wendy at our North Vancouver location at 604-770-1471 and we can provide you with some comparison prices from a variety of funeral businesses. Details about KORU’s straightforward pricing are available in OUR PRICING.
The simple answer is no. A private individual is permitted by the provincial government of B.C. to handle many of the details and arrangements required so that the cremation or burial can occur. However, there are numerous details to organize and unless advance preparations have been made to do this, it is advisable to seek some consultation on how to proceed. For more information, go to the Family-led / DIY / Home Funerals page.
The answer to this question often depends on where the death happened. Below are different scenarios:
If a death is expected to take place at home and you have a signed Expected Home Death form, you can call us when you’re ready for the next step. We’ll need your permission to arrange for the deceased to be moved from their place of death to our place of shelter. We would then make plans to meet with you to discuss what happens next in terms of burial or cremation and any kind of ceremony you might imagine as a fitting event to remember, mourn and celebrate the person who died. We will create a contract for funeral service to be provided and arrange for a payment of 50%.
In this situation, by law, you must call 911. You do not, however, need to immediately call 911. CPR and resuscitation attempts will be attempted on the deceased unless there is a Do Not Resuscitate Order immediately available to the emergency responders. Unexpected, unexplained deaths always involve the Coroner’s Office to a degree. This is a public safety measure.
If a death occurs in a hospital, the deceased is usually taken to the hospital morgue, a safe and secure place used to shelter the deceased until you give your permission for them to be moved to a place of shelter operated by a funeral provider. Sometimes a family may request that the deceased not be taken to the morgue for sheltering. In these situations, a funeral provider must be chosen immediately so the deceased can be transferred from the room directly to the funeral provider’s care as soon as the hospital has completed its paperwork.
If a death occurs in a care facility or nursing home and was unexpected, you’ll likely be asked to quickly arrange for a funeral provider to transfer the deceased to place of shelter. If you expect a death will happen soon and you want to be with your person before they are transferred, we advise you to inquire ahead of time with the staff about their protocols and practices for how long someone can stay in their room after death. If you’ve chosen your funeral provider beforehand, you can then ask the care home staff to inform you of the death (if you aren’t there) and assure them that you will call the funeral home after you’ve had the time you need with the deceased.
Every hospice will have its own protocols about how long a person can stay in their room once death occurs.
Coordinating these details is part of the service we offer. At KORU we use a team of transfer specialists to move or ‘transfer’ the deceased from their place of death to our place of shelter. Permission for us to carry out this transfer must be provided by the deceased’s executor or next of kin.
Assurant Life of Canada, a licensed Canadian insurance company, manages your money when you plan ahead and pay in advance for funeral needs with KORU.
KORU partners with Assurant Life of Canada to enable you to pre-pay your funeral costs. Your money and your policy are underwritten by Assurant (not KORU) which has been funding funeral expenses in Canada for over 50 years. If KORU were to shut down, you would follow up with Assurant and use another funeral provider.
The pre-paid funeral plan you purchase can be used at any funeral home in Canada. You can transfer your arrangements to another funeral home at any time, for any reason.
Assurant Life of Canada invests the money that you pay now for your future funeral services. At the time of your death, the interest accrued over time is added to your original purchase amount. This interest is paid to your funeral provider of choice to cover the expected increase in the cost of goods and services over time. If there is a balance left over after your funeral expenses are paid for, the extra funds are returned to the beneficiary of your estate.
Yes. MAiD stands for Medical Assistance in Dying. Medical assistance in dying provides eligible patients, who may be experiencing intolerable suffering due to a grievous and irremediable (incurable) medical condition, the option to end their life with the assistance of a doctor or nurse practitioner. To date, we’ve helped take care of many people who receive MAiD.
Yes. We use Canada Post for our deliveries so you can arrange delivery to any address served by Canada Post.
No. All sales are final. If you’re feeling unsure of your purchase and you live in the Lower Mainland, please make an appointment to visit our office where we keep samples of most of our inventory. You will be asked to approve any personalization (i.e. engraving text) before final orders are placed.
We don’t have retail shop but we do keep samples of most of our inventory on site at our office. Please call us to make an appointment so you can see our products for yourself before you order. If you show up without an appointment we may not be here or we may be unable to help you because we’re with someone… who made an appointment.
Most items are delivered in 3-5 business days. Select items can take up to 10 business days.
The answer to this questions depends on what you plan to do with the cremated remains. Cremated remains are always returned to you in a plastic bag placed in a plastic or cardboard container. If they will be going to a cemetery you will likely (but not necessarily) need to purchase an urn. Each cemetery has its own urn requirements that include material (ie. metal and wood allowed but no plastic) and size. Some cemeteries will you allow to bury ashes in a favourite teapot or vase. Ask! Visit our KORU shop to see a diverse selection of urns and to be inspired – maybe you can repurpose something special and use it as an urn.
Every person that dies must have a “final disposition.” Practically speaking, this refers to what will ultimately happen to the deceased’s body. In British Columbia, the current choices are cremation or burial. Cremation has become the “disposition of choice” in the Metro Vancouver area, and indeed in many other locations.
Cremation is defined as the reduction of a body to a fine ash-like substance through direct exposure to intense heat and flame. Alternative methods of cremation, such as resomation (also known as alkaline hydrolysis) are starting to be offered in other areas but are not yet available in B.C.
The process of cremation happens in a building called a crematory or crematorium. There are more than 1,000 crematories in Canada and the United States today. Within a crematory is a special vault called a cremation chamber, or retort. Once a body has been prepared for cremation it is placed in a cremation casket or container, and the container is slid into the cremation chamber which is designed to accommodate one casket at a time. Once the chamber door is closed and tightly sealed, a trained crematory operator begins the cremation process which takes about 2-3 hours.
Yes, you can and in the funeral world it is called a Witness Cremation. Typically what happens is that family and friends are present in the room with the deceased (who would be inside her or his casket or cremation container) as the casket is placed in to the cremation chamber. After the chamber door is closed it is usually possible for one person to press the start button or turn the equivalent knob to ignite the chamber and start the process of cremation. Just like being present when a casket is lowered into the ground, witnessing the beginning of the cremation process can be helpful in helping you integrate a death into your new reality.
Absolutely. Cremation is a form of final disposition as is burial, which means, like burial, a funeral service (when the casket is present at the service) can be held, followed by the cremation.
Reasons cremation is so common in our community include:
- Cultural or religious requirements
- It can be a simpler and less expensive option over burial
- There is more flexibility for families whose roots are elsewhere or for people whose families are very mobile.
- It can be incorporated into any type of ceremony or service or be a simple act separate from a service.
- As with burial, family and friends can be present for a cremation, giving you the opportunity to say goodbye in a profound and meaningful way.
- It is perceived by some people as a greener option than conventional burial.
There are limitless options to what you can do with cremated remains. Here are just a few: bury in a cemetery plot, place or inter in a niche or columbarium in a cemetery, incorporate into a cement reef as a permanent memorial at sea (Living Reef Memorials), keep in your home, scatter in one or multiple locations on land or in water, small amounts can be placed in keepsake jewellry, divide the cremated remains and use in a combination of different options, bury in a bio-urn and plant, with permission, on private or public land. Visit our KORU Shop to see a diverse selection of urns and keepsake items, including jewellry, that incorporate cremated remains.
B.C. law recognizes cremation as a final form of disposition which means that the cremated remains (ashes) are not governed under the laws and regulations for burials or cremations. Therefore, permission to scatter cremated remains (ashes) is only necessary if it isn’t your own property. However with permission from the appropriate landowner, scattering may still be possible elsewhere. Please note that if you are scattering in a waterway, you must ensure that it is not a marine park.
Cremation is considered a permanent form of disposition and in B.C the only legal form of cremation is flame-based cremation. Alternative forms of cremation, such as Alkaline Hydrolysis, also known as Resomation and Promession are not yet available in B.C. Other words used to describe these cremation options are green cremation, bio-cremation or water cremation.
Most cemeteries require that a casket be used for full-body burial. Casket can be made of metal, wood, cloth, bamboo, willow, seagrass, and cardboard. Every cemetery has its own rules about what is an acceptable casket material. Ask! A fabric shroud is allowed for Muslim burials in most cemeteries and shrouds are commonly used in cemeteries that are certified or self-described as green or natural burial cemeteries.
From a cemetery perspective, there are 5 generally agreed upon principles that make up a green burial: no embalming, direct earth burial (no burial vaults or grave liners), ecological restoration and conservation, communal memorialization (no individual headstones or markers) and optimize land use. Some cemeteries may not have green certification but still try to lighten their environmental footprint by focussing on water reduction strategies, banning the use of pesticides, planting native trees and shrubs, using low emission vehicles and allowing shroud burials. Visit Green Burial Society of Canada to learn more and to see common myths about green burial.
Burial is defined in B.C. law as a form of final disposition, as is cremation, and is therefore subject to the laws regulating final disposition. As such, unless an area has been deemed to be suitable for burial by the B.C. government, burial cannot occur. For complete information of B.C. laws on burial, please see: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/04035_01
A Memorial Reef is created when cremated remains are mixed with a marine friendly compound and placed in a reef mould. Once cured, the reef structure is permanently placed in the water to create habitat for ocean life. The reefs can be placed in specific locations off Vancouver Island and around the Lower Mainland. Please visit this link for more information or contact KORU directly at our Vancouver location 604-324-8285 or our North Vancouver location at 604-770-1471.
British Columbia law does not require embalming to be performed when someone dies. It is a choice for the legal representative to the deceased or the next of kin to make. There are situations, however, when embalming is necessary. For an in-depth conversation on this topic, feel free to call us and speak to Ngaio at our Vancouver location at 604-324-8285, or Wendy at our North Vancouver location at 604-770-1471.
A Memorial Service most often describes a service that is held without the casket. Instead, personal memorabilia and/or the urn may be present. These types of ceremonies can take place in an art gallery, on a beach, in a church, in your home or backyard or just about anywhere you would like.
A Celebration of Life describes a service that is very much the same as a Memorial. A minor difference between the two may be that the Celebration might be held in a less formal setting, such as at a restaurant or at someone’s home.
A Funeral Service often refers to a more formal or traditional service in a chapel, church and some public areas with the casketed body present. The casket may be open or closed.
A Graveside Service always takes place at a cemetery for casketed remains and may take place at a cemetery for cremated remains. At KORU we’re also accepting of the idea that for cremated remains these services could be a Scattering Ceremony at sea, by a river, in a forested area,or near your favourite ski run.
A Living Tribute occurs while the person to be honoured is alive and still able to participate in a setting of their choosing.