Individuals may choose to pre-plan their funeral. They may also arrange to pre-pay for the funeral service and cemetery plot before their death. Legislation in Saskatchewan sets out how such pre-paid plans must operate.
Anyone who sells pre-arranged funerals in Saskatchewan must be licensed under The Funeral and Cremation Services Act. Money paid before death for funeral services, less some administrative fees, must be held in a trust account.
Similarly, sales of cemetery plots are regulated under The Cemeteries Act, 1999. A portion of all sales must be kept in a maintenance fund, to ensure the long-term care of the cemetery. Money from the advance sale of plots must be kept in a trust fund.
Individuals selling pre-arranged funeral plans are not allowed to make telephone solicitations between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. They cannot solicit residents of a hospital, a residential service facility, a special-care home or a personal care home unless they first receive a specific request to do so. Sales people cannot engage in any conduct that harasses people or even appears to harass them.
In either pre-arranged funerals or the advance sale of cemetery plots, the buyer may cancel the agreement. Depending on the circumstances, the buyer is entitled to either a full or partial refund.
If the seller does not give the buyer a copy of the contract at the time of signing, or by registered mail or personal delivery within seven business days of the contract being signed, the buyer can cancel the contract and receive a full refund. However, if the seller later gives the buyer a copy of the contract, the buyer only has 30 days after that to cancel on the basis of having not received the contract.
A buyer can also cancel for any reason within 10 business days of the contract being made and receive a full refund. If the seller was not properly licensed or did not use an authorized form of contract, the buyer can cancel the deal within one year and be entitled to a full refund.
If the buyer cancels under other circumstances, the seller can keep a portion of the price to cover costs of administration or special services that were ordered by the buyer or provided by the seller.
When applying for financial assistance, social service regulations allow people to keep pre-paid funeral funds up to a maximum of $7,500. The applicant must have paid for the funeral services before applying for assistance.
Complaints about pre-paid plans or a salesperson’s conduct can be made to the Funeral and Cremation Services Council of Saskatchewan. The Council also provides information about consumer rights and a service directory.
A contract for funeral services may be a deposit contract only, meaning the deposit will be used to pay some or all of the services specified. Alternatively, the contract may be a guaranteed pre-paid funeral contract, meaning their will be no additional charges for services specified in the contract. It's important to fully understand the terms of your contract and what, if any, additional costs may be involved.
PLEA can provide you with information to help you understand many legal matters you, a family member or friend may be facing.