After the Funeral

LIFE INSURANCE

  • Individual Policies

Upon the death of anyone who holds a life insurance policy, their beneficiary/ beneficiaries are entitled to the death benefits provide by the policy. Determine the name of the insurance company and/or agent that holds or services the policy. Contact the insurance company directly or through your agent. The Death Claims Department will inform you as to the information required when applying and will supply the necessary forms. Depending on the size or age of the policy, the insurance company may require a certified copy of the DEATH CERTIFICATE; most often a FUNERAL DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT OF DEATH is all that's required.

  • Group Policies

Group insurance can be offered through a number of sources, e.g., the place of employment, as a member of an organization, club or association, financial institutions, or as a part of a travel package for those on vacation.

  • Place of Employment

If the deceased was employed at the time of their death, there may be death benefits provided under a group insurance plan. If in doubt, contact the deceaseds' employer. Some group insurance policies provide benefits even if the policy holder has been retired at the time of death. Contact the former employer(s) for information. Look for a group insurance certificate. This is often in the form of a wallet size card. It will usually contain a certificate and group number indicating the insurance type and amounts for which the deceased was insured.

  • Organizations and Associations

Some organizations, clubs and associations are offered a special rate for members who wish to participate in a group policy. Look for a copy of the group policy with the name of the group and the individual insured.

  • Financial Institutions

Group policies are sometimes offered to credit card holders and other special accounts. A person may elect to subscribe to this service and is billed through deductions at set time periods on their accounts. Other institutions may also offer similar services to their customers. A group policy with the name of the institution and the name of the insured is usually given to each participant.

  • Travel Packages

Travel agencies may offer a Package Tour Insurance, which includes death benefits. This may provide for payment of funeral services at the place of death, transportation of the deceased to a designated destination, and other related expenses. Check with your travel agent. There are a number of services offered to the traveler. An individual may choose to take such a policy through a specified insurer on his own. Apply for insurance benefits as soon as possible.

GOVERNMENT PLANS

  • Canada Pension Plan

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provides a survivor pension which is payable to the estate, the surviving spouse and dependent children of a deceased CPP contributor. There are three types of SURVIVORS PENSIONS.

Death Benefit: A lump sum payment is paid to the estate of a deceased contributor
Surviving Spouse's Pension: A monthly pension is paid to the surviving spouse of a deceased contributor
Orphans Benefits: Flat-rate monthly benefits are provided for the dependent child(ren) of a deceased contributor

NOTE: The above amounts will vary according to the number of years and earnings paid by the deceased into the CPP. Your funeral director can provide you with the current benefits payable for each type of surviving pension.

Making Application
You should apply for these benefits as soon as possible after the contributor's death. Failure to apply within a year of the date of death will result in lost benefits. The executor, or a representative of the estate, should apply for the death benefit. If there is no estate, the surviving spouse, next of kin, or the person responsible for the funeral expenses may apply. Original documents are required - photocopies are not acceptable.

For Death Benefit

Social Insurance Card of the deceased
Birth Certificate of the deceased
Statement of Death (as provided by the funeral home)
Copy of Funeral Contract if no will exists

For Survivor's Benefits

Social Insurance card of Widow or Widower
Birth Certificate of Widow or Widower
Marriage Certificate(s)

NOTE: Some or all of the forms listed in Death Benefit may also be required.

For Orphan's Benefits

Social Insurance Card of the Child
Birth Certificate of the Child
School Attendance Form (if over 18)

NOTE: Some or all of the forms listed in Death Benefit and Survivor's Benefits may also be required

YOUR POSTAL CODE MUST ALSO BE PROVIDED

When you have obtained all of the required documents please telephone 1-800-277-9914 to make an appointment for processing your application.

  • Old Age Pension

If the deceased was receiving Old Age Pension, next of kin is entitled to sign the back of the cheque for the month in which the deceased died/stating the person has died and the date of death; and they will be able to cash or deposit it. If not able to cash you can apply it to the funeral account. This should halt all further cheques, however, if you run into a problem with one or more cheques coming, contact 1-800-277-9914.

  • Workers' Compensation Board

The Workers' Compensation Act came into force in 1915. Its primary purpose is to provide compensation to workers who are injured on the job. The Board has the sole authority to decide whether an accident or disease is work related and to award and pay benefits. The Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) provides death benefits to those who worked for employers who contribute into the plan. Spouses, children and other dependants of workers who are killed on the job or die from an industrial disease are eligible for benefits. Common-Law spouses may claim Workers' Compensation benefits. A separated spouse of the deceased worker is not entitled to compensation benefits unless the worker was required to make support, maintenance or alimony payments under the legal agreement or court order. The dependent children of a deceased worker are entitled to compensation benefits until they reach the age of 19. These benefits may be paid beyond this time if a child is still in school. Dependents are defined by the Act as those members of a worker's family who were wholly or partially dependent on his or her earnings at the time of death.

DEPENDENT BENEFITS

  • Lump Sum

A lump sum payment for the necessary funeral expenses of a deceased worker is determined and set annually by the board. The board will also pay for "all necessary costs for transportation" of the deceased worker's body for burial and up to a set amount for special expenses. In addition, the spouse of a deceased worker is entitled to a lump sum payment increased for each year of age of the spouse under 40 years at the time of the worker's death, so that a spouse who is 20 years old will receive a maximum lump sum payment as set by the board. Spouses who are older than 40 will receive a lump sum payment reduced by a set amount for each year of age over 40, to a minimum amount for the spouse who is 60 years old.

  • Periodic Payments

Monthly payments are also provided to the surviving spouse, children and/or dependants of a deceased worker. Calculating these payments is more complex because the amount to be paid is directly based on the deceased worker's net average earnings and the presence or absence of dependent children. These periodic payments continue for the life although they will be readjusted when the spouse's youngest child reaches the age of 19.
Employment Assistance
The Board's Vocational Rehabilitation Services are available to assist the spouse of the deceased worker. These programs include counseling and employment assistance.

Making Application
The Board usually finds out about the death through the employer's report or through local newspaper reports or other public information outlets. They will usually contact you and inform you of the benefits to which you are entitled. If the Board has not contacted you, contact them as soon as possible. A telephone call or letter will get your claim started. The Board will gather the necessary medical documentation. You will be required to provide them with your Marriage and Birth Certificates.

For more information, telephone or write the Board Office nearest you:

HEAD OFFICE
Toronto
General Claims Enquiry
200 Front Street W.
Toronto, Ontario.
M5V 3J1

1-800-387-0750: Information is provided in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

Long Distance callers are able to contact the Board Office free of charge.

  • Veteran Affairs

Subject to limits set by legislation, the estate of the deceased veteran may be eligible for a funeral grant. For information and an application form, please call 1-800-265-6489. The regimental number and date of discharge are required.

UNION PENSIONS AND DEATH BENEFITS

If the deceased was a member of a labour union at the time of death or had ever been a member of a union, they may be eligible for death benefits under a union pension.

Pension plans will vary from union to union. Any information should be obtained directly from the union president or the local pension and welfare administrator. The deceased's employer will be able to assist you in contacting the union representative.

The union office will inform you as to what is required to make application for the benefits.

They may require:

  • A Funeral Director's Statement of Death or a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate.
  • A copy of the Funeral Contract.
  • Apply for these benefits as soon as possible after the contributors death.

LEGAL AND FINANCIAL MATTERS

  • Taxes

If the deceased person has earned taxable income in the year of his or her death a tax return must be filed. For help contact the District Tax Office at 1-800-263-8562. Funeral costs are not considered a tax deduction.

WILLS AND ESTATES

A will is a written document disposing of your property after death.

An EXECUTOR is a person or persons named in the WILL who will carry out the instructions of the WILL. There may be more than one executor named in the will. The Executor(s) may also be a beneficiary or beneficiaries.

A will can be changed or amended by the maker of the will by using a document called a "codicil", or by drawing a new valid will that will supercede all previous wills.

A divorced ex-spouse has no claim to the estate, unless set out in a valid will. Unless a contrary intention is expressed in the will, marriage revokes the provisions in the will.

A Common-Law relationship is legally recognized after 3 years. Who is entitled to a share in the estate when there is a spouse and a common-law spouse? Until divorced, the spouse is entitled to a share of the estate. The common-law spouse may sue the estate for maintenance payments.

If there is no will, the death is referred to as "dying intestate". If you should die without a will, the cost of administration may be greater.

If there are no children, the spouse is entitled to the entire estate. If there is one child, the spouse is entitled to the first $75,000.00 plus half of the balance of the estate and the child receives the other half. If there is more than one child, the spouse receives $75,00.00 plus 1/3 of the balance and the remainder is divided equally between the children.

In Ontario, there is no succession duty or gift tax. However, when a person dies, income and capital gains taxes may have to be paid.

PROBATE is a document, which proves the will is legal and confirms the named Executor. You will need the original copy of the will to use on application for Probate. Wills are often left in safekeeping in lawyers offices or kept by the testator.

Take an inventory of assets but do not include anything owned jointly, and that passes outside the estate. Identify what items are to be distributed and sold.

An executor may be entitled up to 5% of the estate depending on the work involved.

To obtain probate, the court requires an Affidavit or Execution which must be signed by one of the witnesses to the will. An application for probate must then be sworn before a lawyer, notary or a judge. This application then is filed at the Courthouse where the deceased person lived and goes to Probate Court and if an order is signed by a judge.

Once probate is obtained, notarized copies should be made and distributed to everyone involved.

If there is a surviving spouse, the Executor should wait six months before carrying out the instructions of the Will, if the spouse fails to elect in the meantime. The surviving spouse can elect within 6 Months of the spouse's death, to take benefits under the will or under The Family Law Act provisions.

It is the duty of the executor or administrator to carry out the administration of the estate according to the law. He or she can retain the services of lawyers and accountants as befits the circumstances. If there is property or if the estate is of any size the services of a lawyer are recommended. Unless experienced, it is very easy to over-look important areas of administration.

The fee for probate is $5.00 per $1,000.00 (up to $50,000.00) and $15.00 per $1,000.00 for anything over $50,000.00 of the value of the estate.

BANKS, LEGAL HOLDINGS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

In general, funeral accounts can be paid immediately with a copy of the ACCOUNT and a FUNERAL DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT OF DEATH.

If there is no will, a Letter of Administration must be obtained through a lawyer.

No Power of Attorney exists after death.

Funds are normally frozen at the time of death with noted exceptions.

  • Joint Bank Accounts
    Money and access of joint accounts goes directly to the other person named on the account.
  • Single Bank Accounts
    Funds are temporarily frozen until the will has been probated. PROOF OF DEATH is required, i.e., Certified Copy of the Statement of Death so that money can be released to the spouse for reasonable expenses, e.g. funeral and living expenses.
  • Safety Deposit Boxes
    Persons who are named in the will are allowed to open the box in the presence of a bank employee or lawyer. A PROOF OF DEATH CERTIFICATE may be required.
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan
    Depending on the terms, these funds can be redeemed or returned at the time of death. There is usually a beneficiary who has been named. This person has the option of keeping or redeeming the note.
  • Canada Savings Bonds and Investment Certificates
    A beneficiary is usually named and these funds can be released with a proof of death.
  • Loans and Mortgages
    If the Loan or mortgage is life insured, a Statement of Death and a will should settle this. Where otherwise indicated, payment continues as normal. For further information, feel free to talk with your bank manager.
  • Health Card
    The card should be returned to the nearest Ministry Office to prevent fraud. A letter should be written to notify the office of the death. The letter should include the full name, birth date and health card number of the deceased along with a photocopy of the funeral director's statement of death and the actual card cut in half. The local OHIP (Health Insurance) Office is located at 119 King Street West, 10th Floor, Hamilton, ON L8N 4C8 (Toll free 1-866-532-3161) or www.gov.on.ca/health.

OWNERSHIP NAME CHANGES

  • House/Property
    In most cases it is prudent to utilize the service of a lawyer in matters concerning property. He will contact the Land Titles Office and prepare the necessary documentation for the transfer.
  • Automobile
    An executor or beneficiary may sign off the ownership. Bring a copy of the will showing that you are the executor and/or beneficiary, proof of death, the vehicle ownership and proof of insurance to the Ministry of Transportation, 325A West Street, Suite 103, Brantford, ON N3R 3V9 (Tel 519 753-0352) and they will issue a new ownership record. A safety Certificate and clean air inspection will also be required in some circumstances. In the absence of a will, a letter from a lawyer may suffice. There is a charge from the Ministry for this service.