What will membership do for me?
Membership in a memorial society ensures that your wishes for your final arrangements are respected, and provides you with access to negotiated prices for funeral services and burial plots.You will receive a Designation Form as soon as you join. This simple document allows you to indicate your preferences as to the disposition of your body at the time of death. For instance, you can designate, in detail, the type of service you wish to have, and whether you prefer burial or cremation. Completion of this form allows you to consider these matters thoroughly and make sensible choices. This form is available from the office in hard or soft copy.
Most societies have agreements with one or more funeral directors in the community who will provide dignified, inexpensive services as contracted by your local society. A copy of the Designation Form is filed with the participating funeral home of your choice. At the time of death, your wishes are on record, and next-of-kin are provided with guaranteed service costs are not pressured to choose a more elaborate funeral. Learn more about MSED’s contracted funeral services and cemetery referral agreements.
What if I should want to change my Designation Form?
Request and complete a new form and submit it as you did originally. Remember, your Designation Form is not a legal contract. It is simply an expression of your wishes.
Is it expensive to join? Are there monthly or annual dues?
The only cost is a nominal lifetime membership fee, generally not more than $40.00 per individual. There are no monthly or annual fees. Some societies collect a small “records fee” from the service provider when final records are processed at the time of death.
What if I join a society and then relocate?
Membership is transferable among all societies in Canada, and indeed among almost all of the more than 180 memorial societies in North America, for a modest charge paid to the new location. If you are planning a move, contact the Memorial Society of Edmonton & District office or do an internet search to find out if there is a Memorial Society in the area you are relocating to.
Are there other benefits from membership?
Yes, probably the most important is the peace of mind you gain from knowing that, by putting your affairs in order now, you will be saving your next-of-kin some hasty and painful decisions involving a large amount of money at a time when they are emotionally unprepared to make rational choices. When you join the memorial society, you sit down in the peace and quiet of your own home, without pressure, and you make the decisions.
Your membership also helps support a variety of other roles that Memorial Societies play:
- Societies, through education, act to increase public awareness about funeral practices. Most societies have speakers available to address interested groups.
- Memorial societies monitor the whole field of funeral legislation, and advocate for consumer protection. This activity stands to benefit both members and non-members.
- Societies encourage “living memorials” as tributes to the deceased, such as donation to charitable organizations or to research, or establishment of scholarships and bursaries.
- Memorial societies encourage anatomical gift-giving. If you are considering body donation or donation of tissues and organs for research, transplant, or teaching purposes, information can be provided.