Think end-of-life decisions should only be made by people later-in-life? Think again! Having a plan is an important part of preparing for your family’s future, regardless of your age. Here are five things to consider when making your end-of-life decisions.

End-of-life decisions

You may be wondering what types of end-of-life decisions we’re referring to. Here are just a few examples of the topics you may be thinking about when making your end-of-life decisions and plans:

  • Writing or updating a will (naming an executor, appointing a guardian for young children, power of attorney, providing direction on funeral and burial preparations, etc.)
  • Deciding whether to pre-arrange or pre-pay for your funeral services ahead of time
  • Putting aside money yourself to cover your end-of-life arrangements
  • Life insurance
  • Making plans for shared or individually owned property, joint assets, and designating beneficiaries of your RRSP/TFSA or other investments
  • Any business interests that may need additional legal documents outside of the will
  • Sharing important information about your end-of-life plans with your loved ones

5 things to consider when making end-of-life decisions

Making these kinds of decisions can be incredibly personal. Whichever route you decide to take, here are some tips to consider when making end-of-life decisions:

  1. Plan ahead and think carefully about what you want. Take some time to make a thoughtful and informed decision as opposed to a rushed and emotional one.
  2. Do your research. Do some research to find out what options are out there. Read reviews of any businesses you might be working with, compare your choices, and get advice from reputable professionals and people you trust.
  3. Make sure you understand what you’re signing. Whether it’s a preneed contract, financial/legal agreements, or life insurance, make sure you read the fine print and know exactly what you’re agreeing to. Take your time to thoroughly understand and if you are unsure about something, just ask.
  4. Understand what relevant laws exist. For example, if you prepaid for funeral services, you are entitled to specific cancellation rights under BC law. Learn your cancellation rights for preneed funeral contracts in BC. When it comes to writing a will, you may want to get help from a lawyer or notary public to make sure your will is legal – if it’s not, it can create a lot of problems for your heirs. Learn more about wills and estate planning.
  5. Tell your loved ones about your plans and where to find important paperwork. Make sure your loved ones or executor know where your will is and have instructions about important bank accounts, birth or marriage certificates, insurance, passwords, or any relevant documentation to support the work that needs to be done when you pass away.

The law in BC

Certain aspects of funeral services are regulated in BC to protect you during this challenging time. We oversee these laws and funeral homes, funeral directors, and cemeteries and crematoriums must hold a licence with us. You can check if a business is licensed with us using our online search feature. The laws we oversee capture a variety of things, including your cancellation rights for preneed funeral contracts in BC.

Where to go for more information

Visit our website to learn more about your rights when it comes to funeral services and cemeteries and crematoriums in BC:

The Government of BC has information and resources to help you understand what’s involved in writing a will and estate planning. Learn more about writing a will and estate planning.

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are not-for-profit regulator responsible for overseeing certain industries and specific consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will try to offer a referral to a relevant organization, if one exists. Other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at