You can save a lot of stress for your loved ones by pre-arranging your funeral and burial. CNS photo/Lisa Johnston

It’s never too early to plan your final arrangements

By 
  • November 4, 2012

TORONTO - George Ribeiro knows where he’s going, and that’s a load off his mind. By pre-planning his cemetery arrangements, the 62- year-old businessman has secured a plot in Assumption Cemetery in Mississauga.

Ribeiro was nudged in the direction of making his own funeral and cemetery arrangements when his father-in-law died this year.

“When he passed away, me and my wife had to organize the funeral — and not just the funeral but also the cemetery part. In one day we had to do basically everything,” Ribeiro said.

That’s not a stress Ribeiro would wish on his own adult children. From memorial stone to casket to location, all those decisions have been made. When the time comes the Ribeiro family will concentrate on prayer, grief and hope rather than payments and trying to guess their parents’ wishes.

“We tend to be afraid of dealing with the funeral part of our lives,” Ribeiro said. “When we do it, if we don’t have big pressures it’s much better than a last-minute situation that we have to solve.”

Ribeiro believes that by pre-planning, his family will end up spending less.

“If you don’t organize it before, what happens is that normally you spend even more money,” he said.

Nobody wants to do less than the utmost for their own parents, and that can lead to poor decisions and costly extras, said Ribeiro.

Dealing with Catholic Cemeteries — Archdiocese of Toronto family counsellor Rosa Felgas, Ribeiro found the process surprisingly easy.

“I think it was a very nice experience,” he said.

Family counsellors can help work out a budget, arrange for interest-free monthly payments, secure a reserved burial plot and assure co-ordination between the funeral home, parish and cemetery. Family councillors will also make home visits for people unable to get to Catholic Cemeteries’ offices. Group presentations are also available.

As a Portuguese immigrant, Ribeiro saw the planning process as normal. His grandparents in Portugal secured a family plot many years ago.

“Back home, it’s the way it is. You know you have to prepare.”

At 62 Ribeiro could well live another 25 years or more, but he doesn’t think he moved too soon to secure his burial plot.

“If I go today or tomorrow or 20 years from now, it doesn’t matter. I know where I will go,” he said. “You never know when is going to be your time and how it’s going to be. There should be a way of talking to people. I think we should normally do it earlier.”

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