Frequently Asked Questions

The most important decision for people after a death isn’t burial vs cremation, it is rather to fully understand how their choices impact the emotional, relational and spiritual well-being of those who have cared for, loved and shared life with their loved one. Below are a few of the questions that often come up at this time in our experience.

What is a funeral?

A funeral is any ceremony or event, private or public, held to memorialize a deceased person. Whether you call it a funeral, memorial service, or celebration of life, it essentially serves the same purpose; To mark the transition of your relationship with a person you love from someone you can engage with in real time to a person you hold in your heart and memory with you into the future.

The burial or cremation may or may not be integrated into the actual funeral service itself. They can each take place before or after the formal service if you wish.

A funeral gives the opportunity for family and friends of the deceased to gather and mourn the passing of their loved one together, to share cherished memories and celebrate their life and impact upon those gathered.  A funeral (under whatever label) is a vital first step to help the bereaved heal after the loss of someone special.

What type of service should we have?

If no pre-arrangements have been made, the type of service is entirely up to you.  Services are often held at a funeral home or a place of worship but can take place anywhere indoors or out that you find suitable.  There is a wealth of different services, ranging from a traditional religious or military service to something non-traditional, to entirely unique events reflecting the individual being honoured.  Our funeral directors are more than happy to work with you to figure out what would be the most appropriate.

Can we personalize a funeral?

Yes! There is no right or wrong way to celebrate somebody’s life. There are many unique ways to celebrate life, let us know exactly what your desires are, and we will honor your wishes. Often, we find ourselves in the position of giving the families we serve permission to think outside the box. This event is your way of honouring a person you love and we will help you find a way, no matter how outside the box it may seem, to make it happen.

Do we need to have an obituary notice and what is included in one?

This is not a legal requirement. However, it is highly recommended to have an obituary notice that’s placed in a newspaper, and/or online on Clayton’s Website, Clayton’s Facebook Page or a family members page..  An obituary lets the public know that a death has occurred and gives them information about the service.  Obituaries generally include the deceased’s full name, age, city and date of birth and the city they were living in when they died.  It also includes the name of the deceased’s spouse, along with the names of anyone else significant in their lives, such as parents, children or grandchildren.  Space may be limited in a newspaper obituary, but you may include a little blurb on the life and legacy of the deceased.  Clayton’s Website obituary page offers you the chance to add a lot more about the deceased. You can even include pictures and slideshows on Clayton’s website in the obituary section.

Who are funeral directors and what do they do?

Funeral directors are in charge of all the logistics following a death.  They complete all the necessary paperwork, make arrangements for the transportation of the body, and put into action the choices made by the family regarding the funeral service and the final resting place of the body.  Beyond the logistics, funeral directors are there to provide moral support and guidance for someone coping with death.

What happens if the death occurs in the middle of the night or on the weekend?

We are here to help, funeral directors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

What if a death occurs away from my home town?

We are here to help, we can arrange to have the remains transported home from anywhere in the world.  We will assume responsibility and make the proper arrangements to have the remains return to the community.

What is embalming and what purpose does it serve?

Embalming is a mechanical and chemical procedure that sanitizes, preserves, and restores the body; it also slows down the decomposition process and enhances the appearance of the body damaged by traumatic death or illness.  Embalming gives time to the family of the deceased to arrange a service and allows the family the option of having a viewing or visitation.

Do I need to have an embalming?

No. However, some provinces and most countries require embalming by law for remains to leave or enter the jurisdiction. Embalming is recommended, especially if there is an extended gap between death and burial or cremation, or a viewing of any kind is desired. People can be viewed by immediate family without embalming, but only under ideal circumstances and for a short window of time after death.

How much does a funeral cost?

The cost of the funeral varies depending on the wishes you have, where you live, and the costs the funeral home must bear to provide such services.  The average cost of a funeral service in Canada is between $8,000-$12,000. At Clayton’s our prices are about average for a small-town facility in BC, so at the lower end of that scale for a full memorial service. The cost of a memorial service may include all professional services including transportation, embalming and other preparations, the use of a facility for the ceremony, the purchase of a casket or urn, and often catering and stationary.

Why are funerals so expensive?

Funerals, and all that makes them possible, are labor intensive and require a lot of work from a lot of people.  The cost of a funeral goes beyond merchandise such as caskets, it includes the services of a funeral director in making the necessary arrangements, filling out forms, and dealing with all the other people involved in the death (doctors, lawyers, insurance companies).  Funeral directors work an average of 40 hours per funeral.  The cost of operating a funeral home is factored into the cost as well.  Funeral homes are a 24-hour operation, with facilities and vehicles to be maintained and secured up to regulatory and industry standards. 

What do I do if I am not satisfied with the way a funeral was handled?

Funeral services in British Columbia are regulated by Consumer Protection BC.

Clayton's Funeral Directors is a member of the British Columbia Funeral Services Association.