It's recommended that you keep all important documents together. If they are kept in a safety deposit box, make sure that copies of the will, funeral arrangement information and insurance policies are stored elsewhere for easy access. If possible, set up the safety deposit box like a joint account with your spouse, family member or executor/executrix. Important documents to organize include:
- Instructions for funeral/memorial service
- Safety deposit box information
- Important keys (make sure they are labelled)
- Insurance policies (name, number, amount, beneficiary)
- Health, accident or burial policies
- Pensions, RRSPs, stock sharing plans
- Stocks, bonds, holdings
- List of creditors/debtors
- Title documents to your house, car, boat, etc.
- List naming your advisors, lawyer, insurance agent, clergy, accountant
- List of close relatives and friends to contact
- List of any personal effects or requests not included in your will
- Credit cards (names and numbers)
For helpful information about government benefits that you may be eligible to receive during your illness, visit the Canadian Virtual Hospice website. There might also be local programs offering financial assistance, such as the BC Cancer Agency's financial assistance program.
Consider government programs for your family members, like the Compassionate Benefits Program, to reduce financial stress for those caring for a person who is very ill.
Since February 2001, the BC Palliative Care Benefits Program allows BC residents receiving palliative care services at home to receive, at no cost, selected medications, supplies and equipment needed for care and treatment. Check with your physician, Victoria Hospice or your Home and Community Care Nurse for more information on this benefits program.
After a death occurs, an executor/executrix will settle the estate of the person who has died. Settling the estate refers to various business, financial and property arrangements that may now need attention. Here are some important things to consider when settling an estate.
Working Canadians contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) through payroll deductions. When a contributor dies, CPP survivor benefits are paid to the contributor’s estate, surviving spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children. There are three types of benefits:
- The death benefit is a one-time payment to the estate of a deceased CPP contributor.
- The survivor's pension is a monthly pension paid to the surviving spouse or common-law partner of a deceased contributor.
- The children's benefit is a monthly benefit for dependent children of a deceased contributor. Dependent children are those under 18, or between the ages of 18 and 25 who are still attending school or university full-time.
In order to receive CPP benefits, you must apply for them. Find out more about these benefits and who qualifies for them.