Young lady, facing the death process

No matter if a loved one’s passing has been expected for some time or happens out of the blue, death always sparks many intense emotions ‒and also along list of steps to follow. Are you unsure of what to do if a loved one dies? Yves Légaré guides you and explains the different steps to follow. Our counselors are here to help you plan with as much peace of mind as possible, for a last tribute to the one who is gone.

Where to begin?

A loved one’s passing stirs up very painful emotions. Feeling distraught or completely exhausted at the thought of having to tackle all of the different administrative procedures is perfectly normal.

Some steps have to be completed fairly quickly; they include obtaining the death certificate. You will then have to contact different services and individuals, like the SAAQ to cancel the driver’s license, or other services (phone, television, etc.). It is also recommended that you contact your loved one’s notary to book an appointment, within 15 days of their passing.

We know that you will have many things to do and to think about. Our Yves Légaré funeral complexes, located in Laval, Montreal and Pierrefonds, bring you the support you need. We offer much more than funeral services: we are also here to guide you when the time comes for the legal documents, in order to help make the transition more peaceful and help you figure out what to do if your loved one has passed.

Step 1: Funeral prearrangement contract 

One of the first things you should do before planning a funeral of any kind, is to verify if there were any funeral prearrangements made. Your loved one might have already mentioned if they had a funeral prearrangement contract. You might also have seen wallet-sized cards informing you of the existence of a contract and the funeral home’s contact details.

If your loved one had never mentioned prearrangements, we can now check if these exist. A registry for funeral prearrangement contracts was established in 2021, and includes all prearranged contracts, even those completed prior to that year. It also includes funeral services and pre-purchased burial plot contracts.

Companies are the only ones to have access to the registry. You can ask our team to verify this information for you; we will provide you with a document that proves that we have obtained the information from the registry.

If you do not find any preexisting contracts, you will then have to plan for the funeral arrangements yourself.

Did your loved have a prearrangement contract with one of our Yves Légaré Complexes?

When someone signs a funeral prearrangement contract with Yves Légaré Funeral Complexes, we issue wallet cards or pocket-sized cards to inform loved ones of the existence of the contract.

This way, the cards can be kept in your loved one’s wallet, alongside their other identity cards.

On top of the funeral home’s detailed contact information, this card also includes the contract holder’s name along with the contact information and name of the people to contact in the event of their passing; a copy of this card can be given to them by the contract holder as well.

Step 2: Management and Responsibilities

What were the deceased’s last wishes?

To honour your loved one’s memory, it is important to respect their last wishes. The deceased might prefer cremation or a burial, for example, or to donate their body to science, or want to be an organ donor.

Has your loved one ever mentioned any preferences regarding the items of clothing they should wear for the viewing? A special song to be played at the ceremony or the funeral home? Or perhaps they had special demands when it comes to the ceremony itself of what to do with their ashes?

No matter what the deceased’s last wishes were, we offer different funeral ceremonies that are adapted to your budget and preferences.

Who is responsible for the funeral arrangements?

That will depend on if this is mentioned in the will or not. The deceased might give this responsibility over to the liquidator (testamentary executor). If this is not the case, the heirs will then have to share the responsibility.

Who will cover the costs?

Costs are covered by the inheritance or heirs; you might be reimbursed if you had to pay out of pocket. Moreover, you may have access to a death benefit if the deceased had sufficiently contributed to the Quebec Pension Plan. You may receive a lump sum of up to $ 2,500.

Step 3: Contact a funeral complex

If the death occurs in Canada

If your loved one dies in Canada, even if it outside of the province of Quebec, contact our funeral complexes so that we can help you plan for the body to be transported here. If your loved one passed in their home, start by contacting 9-1-1 so that you can obtain an Attestation of Death from an emergency medicine doctor.

You should then book an appointment with us so that you can plan for customized funeral services.

If the death happens outside of Canada

Going through the loss of a loved one is a very difficult time, which can become even more stressful if the death occurs outside of the country, in which case there are different procedures to follow. For greater peace of mind during a difficult time, contact our international repatriation service, free of charge.

Young lady contacting a funeral complex

Step 4: Administrative and legal procedures

There are necessary formalities that must be followed in the event of a death. Here are the documents you will need:

  • An Attestation of Death, which will be given to you by the funeral service company.
  • The Death Certificate, given to you by the Directeur de l’état civil. You can obtain this certificate by filling an application online, by sending it via regular mail or by visiting their offices in person.
  • A marriage contract or civil union contract if applicable. You can ask your notary for a copy, if needed.
  • A divorce certificate or judgement of legal separation if applicable. You can contact the Clerk’s Office of the Superior Court or the local courthouse where the judgement was filed.
  • All pertinent documents for the inheritance: bank statements, insurance contracts, investment certificates, etc. You will have to contact the financial institutions where the deceased had bank accounts.

What documents do I need to have with me, during my first meeting with the counselor?

During this meeting, you will need to provide your counselor with the deceased’s following personal belongings and information:

  • Health insurance card
  • Social insurance number
  • Driver’s license number (if applicable)
  • The funeral prearrangement contract (if applicable)
  • The sepulchre contract (if applicable)
  • The life insurance policy (if applicable)
  • The deceased’s address
  • The date and place of their birth
  • First and last name of both their parents (including the mother’s maiden name)
  • A recent picture for the thanatopraxia, the newspaper obituary, and printing materials (bookmarks and thank you cards)

This information will help your counselor fill the Declaration of Death (DEC-100 form) that will then be sent to the Directeur de l’état civil.

Step 5: Dealing with grief

When people wonder about what to do if a loved one passes, they often think of formalities; but taking proper time to grieve and for self-care is another step that should not be overlooked.

Losing a loved one can cause a cascade of emotions, from acute emotional pain to intense anger, and mood swings, stress or a feeling of emptiness, or even the complete absence of emotions. Each person grieves differently.

Finding the right strategies to help you adapt, exchange with others and identify the right people for support, are all ways that can help you move through your grief more easily. Try to maintain healthy life habits as well.

If you feel the need, you should not hesitate to contact a psychologist or other free resources:

  • Tel-Écoute – Ligne D’écoute Le Deuil, for people who have lost a loved one: 1 888 533-3845
  • Deuil-Jeunesse (professional intervention for youth and families grieving a loved one): 1 855 889-3666
  • Info-Social 811, option 2

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prepare, in the event of imminent death?

Contact us as soon as possible; a counselor will be able to guide you through every step of the process.

What to do if your loved one passes in a hospital or CHSLD?

If you agree, the establishment can communicate with us directly to arrange for transportation of the deceased directly to our funeral home.

You can then book an appointment with one of our counselors to choose funeral arrangements (you should plan for around 3 hours).

What to do if your loved one dies at home?

You should dial 9-1-1 immediately. An Attestation of Death will then be provided to you by an emergency medicine doctor.

Once papers have been completed, contact us so that we can quickly proceed to having the deceased moved directly to our funeral home.

You can then book an appointment with one of our counselors to choose funeral arrangements (you should expect a meeting of around 3 hours).

What to do if your loved one passes on while abroad?

Contact our toll-free number: 1 800 454-8767.  Our international repatriation service will begin the necessary administrative steps and process with the legal authorities in the country where the death has occurred, as soon as possible, in order to have the body or ashes repatriated.

What to prepare for a viewing?

You will have to bring the deceased’s following personal belongings:

  • Clothing (long sleeves and close to the neck)
  • Underwear
  • Shoes (optional)
  • Glasses and case
  • Jewelry or any other significant objects like a rosary, etc.
  • Hair dye
  • Makeup
  • Dental prosthesis and container
Checklist for friends and family