Frequently Asked Questions:
** [Please note that we may change our policies and procedures from time to time, and therefore some of these answers may change. For the most current information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org ] **
How are the levy rates and funeral benefit amounts set?
At the annual general meeting (normally held 2nd Saturday each January - next meeting is on Jan 11, 2020 at 2pm at Tabor Manor in St. Catharines) the members of the society review, discuss, debate and vote on the levy and funeral benefit amounts. These revised levy rates and funeral benefit (members voted to approve Option C, which is shown on page 24 of the AGM package) are not set by the board, treasurer or any others. Various options can be discussed by the society's members during the AGM, and the members can decide to go with lower or higher increases, based on how they believe the # of funerals may increase in the future (see page 23 in AGM package), how much reserves the society should have on the balance sheet (see page 22 in AGM package), etc. It is difficult to convey all the debate / discussion of the members at the annual general meeting, and if you wish to come to one of the next meetings, please contact us near end of Dec / early January for the annual general meeting details.
How does a deceased member's family (next of kin or executor or power of attorney) apply for the funeral benefit?
To apply for the funeral benefit, it can be processed per guidelines below:
1) pay the funeral home directly - a copy of the funeral home invoice and death certificate can be mailed, faxed or scanned and emailed to us.
2) pay to the Estate of the deceased member - this would require an estate bank account which is not always available. Only paperwork required is per 1) above
3) pay the spouse of the deceased member – only
paperwork required is per 1) above
4) pay the executor / power of attorney / next of kin - in addition to paperwork in 1) above, we also require completion of the Indemnity form (see link above) and copy of the will. If you are not able to complete all the blanks in the form, please leave them blank and we will contact you if further details are needed.
Once the society receives the information noted above, we normally process payment within 2 weeks.
No hard copy documentation needs to be mailed to us. If information above is faxed or scanned and emailed to us, that is all that is needed.
See contact details on other tab on this web site.
If we are going away from home between December - March (down south, etc), how do I pay our levies before the due date?
Since our members only vote on the levy rates on the 2nd Saturday in January, we are not sure what the levy rates will be until then. So, you can send in a deposit, and then when you return from your vacation, you can pay the balance. For example, if you paid $296 in 2019 for 2 members @ $148 each, if you want to send in a deposit for 2020, you could send $296 again. When you see your invoice (normally sent late Jan / early Feb of each year) when you return from vacation, you'll see the $296 deducted from the invoice, and then you can pay the balance. The due date is normally March 15th of each year. If you'd like to see your deposit clear your bank account as soon as possible, just date your cheque with a current date, instead of sending a post-dated cheque for say March 15, 2020. If you make a deposit based on the above, and then remit the balance on your return from vacation, there will be no late fees applied to your account.
What information was included or excluded from the mailing?
To reduce costs and conserve trees (less paper), the annual mailing normally includes basic information. At the annual general meeting (normally held 2nd Saturday each January), the members of the society are provided with a significant amount of information, including List of Deceased Members, Membership Information, Financial Statements, etc, so this information is available to those in attendance. This same AGM handout information is available under the Members Only area of this web site.
When are the Annual General (Membership) Meetings?
Normally the 2nd Saturday in January, at a location in the Niagara Region. See information above for specific details for next AGM. Local church bulletins highlight the date, time and location, or you can email us at email@example.com or call us at 905-228-1850 near the end of Dec / Jan to find out the details.
What does the levy (annual) fee cover?
In the event of death, a funeral benefit (in 2019 it is $6,800, if member is covered at 100%) is payable from the society. The funeral benefit amount is discussed and confirmed by members vote at the annual general meeting. Some funerals may cost more (or less) than the benefit payout. For more details / clarification, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What does the % coverage mean on my levy invoice?
The % coverage indicates what % of the funeral benefit would be paid, in the event of death. This % is based on which age a member joins the society. For more details, see the Constitution on the Information tab of this web site, Article 5.2
Is there any "cash value" for members in the society, who wish to leave the society and receive some cash value payment?
Since all levies are paid on an annual basis, to allow for a funeral benefit payment in the event of death in that year, those levies contain no cash value. Since the society operates within an annual budget / levy revenue, there is no cash value available to members who leave the society.
Do members have a choice of cemetery plot, location of funeral home, casket purchase, etc?
Members can choose from any funeral home, and they can arrange for the cemetery plot, casket, etc, as they wish. The society has no restrictions on these choices, which can be made by the members and/or their families (next of kin).