MANAGING LIFE & DEATH during a PANDEMIC
Managing Life & Death during a Pandemic, coming to you with Laurie Hurtubise at Anora Life.com. Very dedicated and personable to really go over those finer details of what you would like for your Life. I am very honored to have this type of expertise at my fingertips! Thank you Laurie! You are making a difference for families everywhere! Finding out about the small things that can really make a difference in your planning.
“The song is ended, but the melody lingers on…”, Irving Berlin
I’m very excited to have Laurie Hurtubise that is coming from the Vancouver area today on our show. Your Backup Plan APP puts your life all in one place everything that’s like up in your head that no one else knows about your passwords, where your documents are, where your stuff is where you’re where the maybe the cat food for the cat, where what kind of food do they eat? What kind of dog food do they have? Who the vet is perhaps? Do you have a kit ready for emergencies? Do you have that emergency kit? Do you know where your shutoff valves are for your home? Those are important things to know. And with Your Backup Plan APP, it puts all of the stuff that only you know about or you need to find out about and it puts it all in one place so that you’re prepared for the unexpected. And you take that painful Aftermath out about all that stress and worry and peace of mind that you’re covered. You don’t have to worry anymore. So let’s get this party started.
Here she is.
I’ll give her a wonderful, wonderful introduction.
Welcome, Laurie. Thank you, good to be here.
Laurie is a funeral director and owner of a normal cremation burial and events. And she’s located here in the Vancouver BC area. But that doesn’t mean you guys that things aren’t similar, or the same in wherever you are located. And if it isn’t the same, it will be something very similar. And it will give you some research to do for yourself too.
Oh, Laurie said this on the show. I’m gonna go check that out. So let’s get this party started here with Laurie.
Laurie comes to us from I think what should I say?
I think she has so much expertise and so many stories to tell us because I talk about funerals. Laurie all the time on the show, I talk about pre arrangements. I’ve been through a funeral home, I’ve taken a tour on one of our earlier podcasts, as well. And I’ve also had a gentleman on from Scotland talking about death and how celebration has changed. But we haven’t really dug deep into all the different choices that there are, and what worries people have, and maybe complications that can occur.
So I’m really excited to have this chat with with you today about stories that you can, you know, kind of enlighten us with things that have occurred with other people, perhaps situations that you wouldn’t want to see and things that maybe you’d like to see. So thank you so much for coming on our show today. Laurie, I’m so excited to get all of these kinds of things dug into, let’s dig right in. So let’s see Do you have First off, maybe tell us a little bit about yourself. And we can talk about pre arranged funerals?
Sure. So to tell you a little bit about myself, my name is Laurie Hurtubise.
And as you mentioned, I owner of a normal cremation burial and events, I have been in funeral service for about 14 years, I consider it to be my vocation, very passionate about it. Talking about sort of new options, some new options in BC are totally new, and others are kind of something old, that’s got a bit of a rebirth.
WHAT ARE GREEN BURIALS
So for example, green burials. Green burials are, are up and coming. So for example, we now have in the Lower Mainland area in Vancouver BC, options for green burial that we didn’t have 10 and 20 years ago, we in the past had to go off to the Mainland and there was just one where we could have a green burial.
So just to clarify what a green burial is. So that means that you are buried bearing directly into the earth. No embalming, no cement vaults, no grave marker on just on that particular marker, often it’s a a monument, a group monument for sort of that Meadow or that section. So people are still memorialized, but it’s done in a different way so that the Earth can go back to a natural setting. So green burial is, is something that’s up and coming here to become more popular, a lot more people are interested it in it and have the option. We’re really blessed in Coquitlam, the city of Coquitlam, for example. Robinson memorial is now developing a section that’s going to be a green burial section. So that’s awesome that they’re being proactive. out in Chilliwack. The city owned cemetery has also developed a section heritage gardens in South Surrey. is a I think, I think it’s the only sustainable cemetery. Having that that label in Canada, and they have sort of a modern traditional sections, as well as a green burial section.
They’ve even put in things like honeybees, you know, during practice things. So the thing with green burial is people who it’s reflective on the life lived. So if you’ve lived your life where you have made all these choices, to be good to Mother Earth do our best. No one’s perfect. But you know, people who have made that effort to do that,
then it only makes sense to reflect at their time of death to also make choices that are reflective of the life lived. So green barrels is a big one.
Can you can you do green burials also with cremation remains?
Well, I wouldn’t call it a green burial. cremation isn’t the best for the environment. However, cremation rate is very high in the swelling around the world. I mean, cremation is getting more and more popular.
I mean, I wouldn’t call it a green burial, but you can make a choice. If you are burying cremated remains in a container that’s biodegradable, than they’re at least going to go back to the earth as opposed to a metal or in a cemetery, you know, so there are choices that can be made that can be sort of a shade of green, you know, per se, but not, you know, the ultimate, but we can still do the best with, with what we’re working with, like if someone wanted cremation or what have you. So, yeah, I would say that
I also found with cremation, the scattering is getting more common as well, with families,
scattering is really common. A lot more common than it used to be. Me personally, for some people at resonates knowing that, oh, we went and scattered in this place, and they have and maybe it’s somewhere where they go hiking, I don’t know. And it works for the family. And that’s awesome. For me, I want to personally I like to personally have a place to go, that’s, you know, the place but you know, with scattering, it kind of varies. I’m going with water. And we have you don’t know where they’re going. However, there is something new called Living reef Memorial. And it’s pretty awesome. What it does is it creates they create a photo reef. So it is a reef made with sand, seashells and cremated remains. And concrete. Apparently, it’s sustainable or environmentally friendly concrete apparently. And it is cured for a longer period of time. And it’s this full reef and it goes into the ocean and it creates habitat. So it’s actually creating and an environment for for the fish and so forth. So, and part of the proceeds do go to turtle turtle rescue dot turtle rescue.org, I believe is what it is, which is pretty awesome. And so from that, you know the GPS, so if you are a boat, person and ocean person, then you can actually go out and know like, yeah, it’s down there. It’s not going anywhere. And it’s actually quite affordable compared to you know, cemeteries and so forth. It’s an affordable option, depending there’s varying prices, depending a fewer with a multiple cremated remains in one or on your own or as a couple. There’s varying prices, but I mean, it starts out at $800, which I think is quite reasonable if you Yeah. Yeah, all the positives of it to have the environmental impact. The going to back to the turtles, and also having the memorialization factor I think it’s a pretty awesome option.
That sounds really green. To me. That sounds like an awesome idea. Because then you still have like that place that’s still there. might be in the ocean, but it’s still there.
It’s not just scattered wherever I have a quick story to tell you about someone that I knew that scattered where I like your idea better because it’s it’s a permanent place that’s similar to scattering, because you can place them wherever you want. But it’s, it’s still a place, like you said, I think that’s really important for people to know that they could go to it. Whereas when you scatter, it’s, it’s disappeared. And this quick story I have is actually from the Coquitlam area. And this couple got where that was their second marriage. And she got very sick with cancer. And they used to take walks when she was really sick, and sit down by the lake. And it was a very small man made lake. And they would go for these walks, he would push her in the wheelchair, and they would sit on the bench and, you know, all that stuff. And she really wanted to be scattered there. Because that was their place that they would go to, at just like a lot of people fishing perhaps or wherever the you know, the person wants to watch it up so. So the lake disappeared.
Oh, they filled it in and built a whole bunch of concrete, high rises. His bench was calling, the lake was gone. That whole concept is now gone. And that really, really hurt him. And he didn’t even actually know. Because after she passed away, he went away for a year back to Europe, just to talk, spend time with family. And then when he came back, it was gone. Yeah, so people need to be really, really careful about what they choose. Because once you scatter it, you can’t get it back. Yeah, my advice quite frequently that I give to people is if you’re going to scatter, you know, you need to think about and that’s exactly it the case in point with your story. And that is if it’s a family cabin, you know, for example, Oh, you want to scatter at the cabin? Oh, sounds lovely. But what if you have to sell the family cabin, you’re going to feel lousy about it, or your next generations already going to feel lousy enough about if they have to sell it? throw that on top of it that you know it, you know, cremated remains are there. It just it’s heartbreaking.
So, these are the reasons why people need to really think through when they’re scattering, will I be able to access their again? Because otherwise it’s just going to cause more grief. Really? Yes. It brings it back up again. Oh, yeah. And different and more complicated. Right. No, absolutely. No, that’s why and also, there’s a lot of people out there who hang on to their loved ones cremated remains. So you know, so I respect that. I mean, I respect all people’s choices, of course, but I want to get people thinking about the long term. So okay, so you’re gonna scatter? You know, I’ve served people before where it’s okay, so are sorry, you’re gonna hang on to your loved ones cremated remains at your house.
Forever, what happens when you die? What’s your what’s the next generation going to do? Are they going to keep just collecting these cremated remains? When does it end?
You know, so I, my recommendation is if if you feel comfort and having your loved ones cremated remains with you, awesome, but you need to make it clear in your will. What’s going to happen not only with your wishes, but the wishes of these cremated remains of your loved one that you have. So when the time comes when you die, what’s going to happen with these cremated remains? Because the I’m just gonna hang on to them. That’s, that’s not a permanent solution. Right? So it might be good for, you know, a period of time and comforting and all those things, but you need to be thinking about the long term. And it’s all really and a lot of it comes down to thoughtfulness of the next generation and care of the people who you love. What is what it comes down to really There’s a practical and there’s a heartfelt side to it. Right.
Right. And that’s why I kind of like the I also the idea of planting a tree, you know, in a big pot or something and putting the cremation in that, because then you can pass on the tree to the next generations, you know that. That could be that could mean something. Yeah, but yeah, you have to do lots of thought, and thinking, has there been any experiences that you’ve had, that they made the wrong choices? And now they’re trying to fix it?
Um, I mean, I know that there’s a lot of people out there that have cremated remains in their closet. All across North America, I talked to people constantly. They’re not on the mantel. No, there’s Tina, he would not believe the amount of people it’s that. If you don’t make a choice, within that first year, the choice isn’t going to get easier in the second year, the third year. Right. Like, I respect that. It’s, it’s hard to make that choice.
But yeah, if you don’t make it, then literally there, you know, I actually have a blog called, I know what’s in your closet, and you are not alone. Right, it’s so I, to me, that’s one of the biggest, most common challenges that I see is that people have cremated remains in their closet, and they don’t know what to do with them, because they’re afraid of doing the wrong thing. Because their loved one didn’t tell them what they wanted done with them. And so they are, you know, it’s fear that stopping them from moving forward, because they don’t want to do the wrong thing. They want to do the right thing. But they don’t know what that is. That’s what I see over and over again.
And so I, I do help people, even if I haven’t served them, you know, with the cremation itself, even if years have gone by, and you know, if people want to call me up, I do put it out there as an offering. I call it the finale, where let me sit down and talk to you and get to know you and help figure out what’s the best thing for your family so we can move forward. So that there’s, there’s a final resting place, there’s some resolution, I mean, obviously, your grief is never going to end, you’re going to get to a different place with it of acceptance and your life will, you know, get to a better place. But the you know, I’m happy to help people to figure out what to do with those commutator means when they’re just lost.
You talk about the closets. What I saw when I worked in the funeral home, in this area as well, was a lot of remains are left at the funeral home, and no one comes to pick them up. That’s another huge problem across North America.
So for me, and that comes what I discovered is this. I have talked to people, and I could see I bring it up right, right in the beginning, when we’re sitting down when we meet for the first time. I asked because they might not know the answer at that point what they want done with their loved ones cremated remains, but I want to at least plant the seed that you need to start thinking about it. I have discovered that or I discovered early on in my career, I should say is that not everyone has a sentimental attachment to cremated remains like I might.
Or you might, you know, other people might look at them as you know, the person’s gone. That was just their shell, which I totally respect where they’re coming from. So by having that conversation right, in the beginning, it gives an opportunity for to have a conversation. It’s okay not to want to have your loved ones cremated remains. It. It’s okay not to have sentimental attachment if that’s how you feel. That’s how you feel. It’s not wrong. Neither is it wrong to feel sentimental attachment. All these feelings are totally appropriate. It’s personal. But the bottom line is we need to talk about it. When we talk about it in that first meeting. Then I can give people options. You have no sentimental attachment. Okay. Do you want me you know, do you want to professional to just take responsibility And, you know, perhaps scatter on your behalf, what have you, rather than just never come?
Or I know, there’s been miscommunications where, you know, where I’ve worked in the past where, Okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna just be calling people like, maybe they don’t know. And sure enough, there’s some families where, oh, I
thought, you know, so and so my brother picked them up, what do you mean, they’re still there, you know,
things like that.
But the bottom line is, is if you talk about it right from the beginning, then it’s, it stops all those problems from happening, to tell people like it’s okay to feel the way you feel. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t feel you know, and because it’s rare for people to talk about that a lot of people talk about how they’re still connected to cremated remains, and it’s their loved one. But again, taboo, you know, talk with Tina here, you know, it’s okay not to be emotionally connected to those cremated remains, you can love the person and not feel attachment to those cremated remains. And we just need to say it, and we just need to make a plan based on that. And that’s okay. That’s what I found.
Yeah. Because otherwise, it’s like, Meet the Fockers, where the remains are left on the fireplace mantel, and somebody touches it, and then they fall all over the floor. So, yeah, I, I could not believe the amount of remains that are left in the closet. So how long are they supposed to be left there?
Well, okay, so funeral law varies from province to state, you know, each country is different, right?
So in BC, as a licensed funeral provider in BC, we have to just continue to contact the family, there’s a certain thing like, I’ve worked for funeral homes, where they’ve gone through the process, what they there’s, you have to put it in the newspaper The name for a certain amount of time and multiple times. So you have to do your due diligence, try to contact them, you know, the phone numbers change to dresses change, you put it out there. And then eventually, they would insure them, so then it actually, quite frankly, it cost the funeral provider money because they will, what what normally would be done is to take multiple cremated remains and enter them in a cemetery. And that way, if family does come back in the future, then they can access them there. Whereas if you go and scatter them, you know, like, you can’t just go and gather them or, you know, like they need to be.
So it’s, you know, the pressure is actually on the funeral provider, if people don’t come, you know, you’re kind of it sounds terrible, stuck with them, you don’t want to say stuck with them. But it’s a huge, you know, like, you can’t do anything, you can’t do anything, you’re pretty limited, except what I mentioned, which is going through, and so the funeral provider can spend the time and the money to put it out there and to ensure and you know, the cost of the cemetery, so on and so forth. Otherwise, we’re really limited. I mean, that’s why, for me, personally, I, you know, I have learned that’s why I don’t have cremated remains in my possession for a long period of time I deliver them to the family, and you know, in a fairly timely manner. For that reason.
Yeah, because I think sometimes I mean, animals, you can get your pet cremated, and have the remains. But, again, what are you going to do with those remains after, and sometimes I think people look more favorably upon their pet cremation than their aunt or the grandmother or somebody for some weird reason. But tell us about all the things they can do with the cremations because I know there’s so many choices out there, that they could really investigate and research and choose one.
Right, so things to do with cremated remains. Yeah, so there’s quite a few options now. So obviously, in terms of cemetery so there’s things we touched on which would be ensuring a cemetery scattering the living roof Memorial, of course. Some people choose to put cremated remains into a pendant or into blown glass as a memorial keepsake. And some people actually sorry not just in like independent or in a glass pendant depending sort of in or encased with glass. Some people are getting them portion of the of cremated remains embedded in their tattoos. Happiness Hmm.
Yeah, it’s, it’s become quite popular actually. I mean, tattoos are pretty big, you know. So a lot of people are opting to do that to have like a memorial tattoo for their loved one with the cremated remains. You can get cremated remains put into a vinyl record. You can have them put into like Memorial stones. So they’re Preston’s. So they’re like keepsake stones. You can have them put into fireworks. Yeah. There’s people that put them into ammunition. or crazy into into space. There’s that. Oh, gosh, there’s so many options. What am I forgetting? Um, there’s the ornaments. The glass blown ornaments I’ve seen? Yeah. So yeah, I mentioned the diamond rings.
Oh, yeah. Sorry. That’s the other big one that I missed. Yeah. So you can have cremated remains turned into a diamond. And they are all different depending it has to do with the carbon content. Some of them tend to have a little bit of a more of a bluish, kind of a blue huge width. It depends, though. Yeah, I did. I did serve someone in the past where they had it was they added it, it was a special ring that their partner had given them. And then after their partner died, then they got a stone added to it or Yeah, it was it was nice, pretty cool. Yeah. Yeah, she got really not everyone, you know, you can see that, that it’s that it’s a legend.
Like it’s a legacy that you’re leaving to that next generation and the next. So at least when the person gets it, it means something. That’s what I I always think about what I like is that just multiple options, because what one person thinks is amazing, another person doesn’t. So I love being able to have all these options. So see what resonates with people, right? Yeah, I mean, every every life is unique. So it needs to we need to have varied options.
Absolutely. And then there’s the tree planting. I know that some people like that and they can ask the tree down to
Yeah, so cremated remains in the the bottom under the tree and so that all this going back to the earth where the trees growing? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, um, another big thing as far as sort of new options and funeral service would be automation, also known as alkaline hydrolysis or cremation by water. So, the reason why people would be interested, you know, why bother changing right when we already have cremation is very efficient? Well, in fact, acclamation uses a 10th of the energy of a traditional cremation. And it’s much cleaner, much cleaner environmentally. And how did they do that? So it’s, they’re creating an alkaline environment.
So they take water, heat, the chemicals to make it more, change the pH to make them more alkaline. And essentially, what happens is, all the tissues, except for the bones are gone, just like with the traditional cremation, and you’re left with bone fragments, pathogen free bone fragments, the same as with a traditional flame cremation. And then they are then processed down to a finer powder, just like with traditional cremation, a lot of people mistake you know, often people will call cremated remains ashes, but really, they’re that fine powder because they’re being processed down. Alright, we’re not having when people scatter, there’s not chunks of bone, you know, to worry about. So they are processed down for practical reasons. Yeah, so with automation, you end up with the similar, you know, similar product. It’s gentler. It’s just more gentle.
Unfortunately, in BC, where where you and I are, it’s not legal yet. It’s legal in three provinces in one territory in Canada. I mean, it’s been used for years and years, quite frankly, for farmers for lifestyle. Oh, yeah. So it’s not a new concept. It’s more new for humans, quite frankly. But it’s a great option. So I’m, is it widely used in the United States as well? Some it’s legal in Washington State. And I think, actually don’t quote, quote me, it might be in Colorado. I’m not sure. I know. They’re working on some law changes there as well. So. So in some states, but not not all, were readily available.
Does it still get the same consistency of the remains like to be able to make jewelry out of it after? Is that still the same? Right, yeah. So it’s still, I mean, it’s still essentially bone fragments? So the color? Yeah,
absolutely. So it doesn’t change that. That the bone part? No. Okay. Um, what’s it gonna say? I have noticed a lot of wicker used for burial. Or I guess, cremation, I guess? I don’t know. I haven’t seen it in Canada. It might be here now. But I’ve seen it on on different sites.
Yeah, wicker is lovely. We have had wicker available to us in Canada for Gosh, I don’t know. 15 years plus, whatever, it is quite some time. For me, personally, I look at it because it looks really lovely. But when I’m assessing something, environmentally, I want to look at, you know, was it sustainably made? And was it made local? Like, are we shipping something from you know, for, you know, for what purpose? So for me personally, I’m, it’s not that I’m anti wicker, wicker is lovely. If someone local could make it, then I’d be, you know, I think that wood is awesome. But right now, like, for example, at an aura, we offer a locally made caskets and urns.
So I have made in Chilliwack, which is an hour outside of Vancouver. So there’s a local carpenter, and he’s been around for quite some time. And so his products, to me are more make more sense environmentally than getting, you know, the wicker from Thailand. Right. So, um, I mean, I do personally offer The Wicker, but I do, obviously, I’m pretty transparent. As you can see, it’s the, you know, what’s, you know, why do we, you know, what, what’s our goal here?
Yeah, that’s our goal. Our goal is to have something you know, better for the environment and to go back to the earth quickly, well, then that can certainly be done with a locally made casket. There’s also shrouds. It’s a tough one, some people even like, I have had a situation where even cemetery workers, so here they are, they deal with this every day, you know, this is their job. And, like, grounds crew, right? Yeah. Sorry, just to clarify that, you know, they’re used to people coming in with caskets, rigid caskets and, you know, one day going in with a shroud. Well, they, you know, some people have a tough time with it, because you can see the shape of the body, you know, it you know, it’s like, well, we all know what’s in a casket, but somehow, it’s our society.
It’s what we’re used to. And it’s hard for people to change. It’s hard for some people to get used to a new way of doing things. Right. So, you know, a shroud. A shroud is a you know, a great option for some families. I mean, environmentally, it’s great, going back to the earth quickly, but it’s different. What about, I do know that in off the coast of Florida, and I don’t know about our side, that there is like a ship, and you can have your commission put in the ship so that family members can go and dive after and look at the ship and and know that the person’s cremation remains are there? So that’s kind of cool, too. And I know you have to pay an extra fee for that.
But is there any issues of people deciding when something does happen, like COVID, where it’s an unexpected death, especially during 2020 and 2021, where they didn’t have their arrangements made prior. And they don’t know what that person wants it?
Okay, so for me, I know this is, I mean, obviously, COVID has really changed things for everyone. I think it’s gotten people really reflecting on their mortality. For me, personally, you know, as a funeral director, I was already living with this reality every day, not living in denial, as a lot of people in our society are, you know, to say, I hate I almost don’t want to say a positive the pandemic, like, that’s a terrible thing to say, obviously, but you know, trying to look at a silver lining, I suppose, is that people are thinking about their mortality, and they are starting to, people are calling me to talk about pre arranging, and they’re younger than what I, you know, they’re younger than I would normally be hearing from, which is wise, which is great for them.
But as far as have I experienced, well, you know, people being unprepared. Sadly, people have been unprepared for quite some time, whether a pandemic or not, right. A pandemic is just a more of a gentle reminder for people. You know, it’s like, it’s like when, you know, if your neighbor gets broken into you start thinking like, oh, gosh, I’ve had been locking my door, have I’ve been doing all those things. It’s just like, we all knew that we should have been doing these things, but it’s suddenly close to home. Right. So sadly, I have to say that people have been unprepared for quite some time. And I see it a lot. Which is why, you know, I don’t want to come off as a salesy person or pushing someone into something they don’t need when it comes to pre arranging. But I just see it all the time when people don’t pre arrange. And not only not pre arranged, but don’t even talk about it. So at the very least, to have that conversation with their loved one about what their wishes are. I see it all the time.
So people come in, and you ask cremation or burial and they don’t, they don’t even know about, you know, the most basic of the practical, you know, cremation or burial. Right. And there’s so much gray in our society today. So it might be Oh, gosh, okay, so is this a simple? You know, my simple question of did so and so have any religious affiliations? Even that isn’t a yes or no answer? No, that could be complicated. Well, they were raised this way. For a while. My dad used to take us to this church, and then this and then Oh, look, you know, like, whatever, you you know, what I’m talking about. And so there’s a lot of gray there. So trying to guess what the right thing is, is a tough game to play when you’re grieving and in shock.
And especially even more difficult when there’s more than just one. Because then they might not agree with each other?
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, at the end of the day, the executive makes the final decision. Right, and then fat can cause you know, more grief and conflict because they, you know, if there’s whatever multiple, let’s say, you know, multiple adult children, for example, they all just want the right thing that what they truly believe is the right thing. But it’s a guessing game. So then it causes more complex. So it just it just layers on. It just layers on. Yeah.
seen that part as well.
And with Your Backup Plan APP, it does help you prepare because it asks you the question.
Do you have any funeral arrangements prepared? Or do you wish to and to have the conversation because we have worksheets to be able to sit down and ask all those questions.
So at least you know the answers. Because brothers and sisters, I’ll tell you people, when there’s a death, it’s not usually very pretty. Ah, they fight about everything they can argue about this, they, you know, there’s always, or maybe even just one of the siblings can be that deterrent. And there seems to be always one in every family. It’s not like, it’s not just, you know, every family, it’s, it’s across the board, that the oldest one might have a different philosophy than the rest of the family. Or they might have thought things differently than the rest of the family. And so it just creates all this anxiety, stress. Now, family issues that you don’t even need, if you had it just sat down down the worksheet, and at least knew the answers at least do that.
No, I the amount of frustration, anger complications, that the backup backup plan, your backup plan can save by putting that stuff on paper, all those arguments, arguments and all that, Oh, my gosh, it can be avoided, it can absolutely be avoided. Because the person’s wishes are made clear. Right? I, you know, I find myself because of course for me. I don’t just ask people have you pre arranged? I mean, before you pre arrange. Do you have a will? Do you have your power of attorney? Do you have your advance care plan? Do you have your backup plan? Where’s your stuff? To compete? Do people know where your stuff is? Do they know where to find your will to the
lorry? They know, it’s it’s in the filing cabinet?
Yeah. Nope. Yeah. Right. When they when you hear the word just, it’s just in the filing cabinet. It’s just No, yeah, I have clients that have looked for 60 years to get their stuff together. After. And that was a just, I got everything done. Tina, I got it all planned out. I have my will and all my documents in the filing cabinet. I have the you know, if you’re looking for this or that it’s all done. It’s all. And I have to say that when someone does do funeral pre arranged funeral arrangements to be able to share that information with a family member. If you don’t have it put together all in one place. Because it’s like buying an insurance policy if the family member doesn’t know. Oh, yeah. It’s like having different bank accounts. And the family doesn’t know. It’s like having your pre arranged funeral arrangements all paid for and the family doesn’t know. What good is it to do all those things?
I don’t know the statistic offhand. You probably have a better idea than I do. In the amount of unclaimed life insurance money out there. It’s crazy. Yeah. And you know, so it’s, it’s that okay, you did a good thing. But you, you know, you need to do that follow through and let them know, or else it was all for not. And yeah, it’s the same with pre pre arranged funerals. If If you don’t inform your executor and your loved one, and put it in a place that’s easy to find that everyone knows, then it was all forgot.
Exactly. And that’s really the key. Because I’ll say to people to have a backup plan.
CELEBRITIES WITH THEIR MESSY ESTATE
Oh, yeah, I’ve got my will. I got my power of attorney. I got my living well, I’ve got I’ve done my funeral arrangements. I have life insurance.
Really? Okay, you have maybe a third of the things that you need to do. But does anyone know where all that stuff is? Because you could have a big estate, you could have hardly any estate. It doesn’t matter. And I put this book here because I knew there’d be a time and a moment where I was going to use it. But we are going to be on our show one time and talking about the big famous fortune fights because there’s a tremendous amount celebrities that had a tremendous amount of money. And I can talk about, you know, different ones. It doesn’t mean that if you have nothing that you shouldn’t plan, and that doesn’t mean that if you have a lot that you don’t plan, because you should. Here’s a few of the people, Robin Williams, really. Michael Jackson, Prince George Washington, Frank Sinatra, Benjamin Franklin, Harry Houdini, Wellington, Bert Johnson and Johnson fortune. J. Oh, that’s huge. Yeah, J Howard Marshall. I have to put my glasses on to see this. So, Texan oil billionaire J. Howard Marshall was 89 years old when he married 26 year old Anna Nicole Smith in 1994, who remembers that time. He died just over a year later without leaving Anna a dime of his $1.6 billion estate. She spent the rest of her life fighting unsuccessfully for a stake in his estate, but died in 2007 from a drug overdose. I remember she also had a daughter and she had just died after her state for her state fought on a portion of marshals money, but the only financial winners were the lawyers. So oh my goodness, there’s so many. James Brown, the godfather of soul music. I Turner, another blue singer, Nina Wang, one of China’s richest women died in 2007. left behind a $4 billion estate. Her lover Feng Shui master Peter Chan, claimed her inheritance, but was left with nothing when the court ruled it would all go to charity. I like this, there’s so many Look at this, there’s so many that aren’t prepared.
To to your point also, that you’re mentioning, whether it’s a larger state or a smaller state, what I see a lot is that people don’t want to spend their they don’t want to spend the money. Now they want to you know, enjoy their life. So they don’t want to spend money on the notary or lawyer should get their power of attorney and Will’s done. But really, they are saving money. But you know, by doing it getting it done now. I also see people who Oh, well, what about the online I you know, it doesn’t cost me anything.
People I’ve I served a family once where it didn’t hold up. Because I can’t remember that all the details surrounding it, quite frankly, it’s been a while, but it didn’t hold up. And so again, what you know, at that time, what it cost them maybe $200 to go to a notary maybe 250, let’s say. And instead it costs, you know, a bunch of money went to the government, you know, do we want our money going to the you know, or do we want it going to our chosen heats and charities and all that good stuff.
So, um, and yeah, so that.
Yeah, and tell us what happens if the person hasn’t made any arrangements. And they don’t have any particular family members? You know, because when somebody hasn’t made arrangements that government steps have you had to work with government.
Okay, so there’s a few different scenarios. So if someone dies without a will, in BC, we have a law that we follow. This is just for funeral arrangements. This is not to speak of the estate. This is just so that someone is served in a timely manner, when they’re, you know, we can’t leave someone in the fridge forever.
Oh, yeah. Right. So, if someone dies without a will, we are able to take care of things. And so there is a list like a hierarchy that we have to follow. So first would be a spouse, okay, so spouse, if there’s no spouse, then it goes to the next so it’s, you know, adult children, adult grandchildren, and it just keeps going from there. I actually don’t have it. I actually have it right here. It’s the cremation instrument and funeral services act. So yeah. Obviously executive. First off Her adult child, then it just it just carries on from there. If the deceased person was a minor or person who was legal guardian with the person with the deceased at the date of death, however, you have divorced parents that can fight that might not agree on what they’re, you know, what their wishes are for their child. Right, my burial, the other might want cremation who gets the cremated remains like that turns into so I mean, there’s that band law created to help but it doesn’t totally solve the problem.
Otherwise paired to the deceased and adult sibling of the deceased, an adult Matthew are nice. And if all else fails. The very last one, which is K. An adult person having a personal or kinship relationship with deceased other than those referred to impair, like above. So, but I mean, there are times where I’ve had to be a detective, like I got to make sure okay, so you’re telling me this, okay, well, I need to talk to all your siblings and make sure you know, or what have you? Or, you know, or Oh, your parents haven’t been together, but they’re actually still married? Okay, well, I need to take direction from your mother then or whatever. You know, like, it’s, it can be super complicated. I mean, it’s great that we have this law to help us so people aren’t stuck forever in limbo, but it doesn’t solve every problem. Let’s just put it that way.
Right? Yeah. Because if you haven’t made choices for your kids, I know, or, or even adults, other adults in the family, the government can step in and make choices for you where the kids are going to go. And, and that sort of thing. So I don’t know, I wouldn’t want a stranger looking after my stuff. Somebody who doesn’t know me. Well, no,
no, no. So how has COVID changed things for you guys?
Well, it’s been challenging to say the least. Only a small portion of the clients, client families that we serve, are having events or having funerals or memorials. Because in BC, we’ve been for a number of months only allowed 10 people at a funeral or Memorial. You know, people are just choosing not to do it. Because they feel like well, if it’s, you know, they want to honor their loved one, and they want to do it right, or what have you. And for them, that means everyone being present and able to hug and all those wonderful things, which, you know, I mean, I even I mean, I’ve gone through a death in my own personal family, and I can tell you how challenging it is. So people are a lot of people are choosing to have a private family visitation.
So they at least have that opportunity to see their loved one before the burial or cremation takes place. So that’s a positive thing. So yeah, we’ll have still been doing that. So I’m sort of taking guide, you know, accepting the guidance to figure out what’s best for them. And they have found that that has been a positive for them. So then, only a portion of people are doing hybrid or virtual events. A lot of people are just putting it off. And so there’s people that I served last year, because of course, we didn’t know how long this was going to go on. Now. I thought, oh, last March. Oh, let’s wait and see. Maybe we’ll have something in the summer. That was last summer. Right. And so I mean, I’ve reached out to people, you know, saying okay, well times gone by, do you want to have a virtual now and now they feel like they don’t want to go there? Because so much time has passed.
So what do you think is gonna happen to all those people that are waiting? Are they ever going to have it like the majority of people are not going to go back down that road?
Some people will, and some people won’t. And I think it’s gonna just help or it’s, it’s gonna, the grief is gonna be perpetuated, because, I mean, the big thing, whether it’s religious or secular, you know, whatever. However, the tone of the event is or what have you. The thing with a funeral is or Memorial. It’s about everyone coming together. And what’s our relationship now that, you know, this person isn’t with us anymore. Right now they used to they used to be the one that hosts parties, we just always see each other there. And now they’re not here. So what are we going to?
Are we going to see each other anymore? Are we going to make an effort like whatever it is just as an example, you know, so people need to come together. And and then everyone, everyone knows and they launched their grief together. Whereas people haven’t had that opportunity to launch the grief. They’ve been, you know, stuck at home and not been around people. And it’s just, yeah, it’s just, it’s just dragging it, just dragging it down making it worse.
Yeah, I think it’s gonna be a really big. We’re gonna find it for years later, the repercussions. What is that called a replication, the repercussions of it?
Because first off a lot of the times, especially when the lockdown was bad in most of the countries. The people weren’t even able to be in the hospital. They weren’t allowed to be at the hospital. Yeah. They weren’t allowed, like, even at that point, and then the morgues got full. So then what? So then everybody’s rushing around, trying to eliminate that issue. So that was a big dilemma. That’s when the semi trucks started driving in the back parking lot. And then so now what do we do now? We have mom or dad or whoever. And now we’re trying to figure out what we’re gonna do with them. And we’re trying to just do the bare minimum and wait, but will waiting ever happen? Will that ever occur?
See the thing. The way I look at things that is a little different than a lot of people out there that maybe aren’t in funeral service, is we are society we get this idea like it’s that one day that one day of memorialization. Well, memorialization should could happen on multiple days. You know, I mean, there’s people that I’m that I know, acquaintances where you can see, it’s like, this would have been mom’s birthday. And so instead of having it this terrible, horrible day, you know, I’ve seen friends where, okay, the, you know, the brothers and sisters got together socially distance in the backyard and acknowledged it. And we’re there for one another.
Well, that is so much more healthy than everyone at home isolated. You know, having such a tough time, they just continued to celebrate that person and acknowledge. I mean, that’s our society. A lot of people choose to as time goes by, and it’s partly because, fear, afraid, do I still talk about that person. People are afraid to bring that person’s name up where it should be. They weren’t a great day. They were important, important part of someone’s life. We shouldn’t live in fear. And if once in a while, we bring up that person’s name and they are upset. That’s okay. We need to live. We need to talk. It’s healthy. You know.
So memorializing and that’s the thing. So even if, so, for example, in a virtual event, right, it’s not perfect. We can’t have, wow, we’re still coming together. We’re still memorializing. We’re still sharing stories, you know, all those important things are still happening. And it can happen again, we can still get together again, in person, for example, if we’re allowed to have, you know, however many people together Yeah, outlay guide. You know, we can have another event. Better to have more than one than none at all, is the way I see it. And it doesn’t have to be formal. You know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t have to be traditional. It can be whatever is appropriate. Especially during this time. Exactly. I mean, I’m so I mean, I, whether it’s COVID or not, I think, you know, multiple days to memorialize someone is healthy. I mean, right now, we’ve got these challenges where, okay, that wasn’t totally perfect. And then we’re going to kind of, you know, however, there’s the whole COVID issue, but then COVID aside, memorializing someone over multiple, multiple days is still a wonderful thing to do. You know, let’s all you know. You know, for example, Mother’s Day, that can be such a beautiful day for some families. It’s such a hard day for other families. He’s right. And there are some people who, you know, I know, someone who I have huge respect for. And what they do is they find the balance. So they get up early, they get up early, they go to the cemetery, they do what they, you know, for their mom who is no longer with. And they take that time. And then after that, then the rest of the day, she’s a mom herself the rest of the day. Once she’s done that, and she feels like, I did that for my mom. And now I’m gonna let my kids spoil me and have a fun day and have laughs right, because it’s a complicated day.
I mean, as I call, I mean, birthdays Father’s Day, and there’s so many anniversaries and right, there’s lots of complicated days, but a joyous occasion, like Mother’s Day, or a joyous, joyous occasion like Christmas, to carve out that time to honor your grief to take that time. And then also to find to be present for people around you and find the joy in your life as well. And that’s what we talk about on our podcast all the time, is to have family to be present. Um, you know, even if it means to be virtual, some, some attending some virtual, at least you’re together, at least you’re communicating at least your your struggles, or their struggles, everybody’s in the same position. And you can share this bond, it’s the bonding time that that group of people need. And if you don’t have that, to some degree, you aren’t going to finish your grieving process, as well as keeping that legacy going of that family.
That’s super, super important. Because their next generation and their next generation isn’t gonna know who those other people are. So yeah, it’s it’s super important to start really, you know, getting this worksheet, filling it out having those family conversations with your partner, with your spouse, with your brother, sister, aunt, uncle, Mom, dad. Yeah, super, super important. Even if you don’t do the pre arrangements to figure out what it is that you want, what wishes you want, what is it? Do you want it to look like? What kind of party Do you want after? What kind of celebration Do you want after and thinking of yourself, but also those that are left behind? Super, super important? As you can see, we have a huge list of all the things that we could talk about today. And I’m gonna have to have you come on again, Laurie, because there’s so much more to talk about. It’s so awesome that we could delve into these topics and really dig deep and help people out to understand the importance, especially during this strange times that we’re dealing with, what kind of final note do you have for our listeners, that they can take away?
My message for everyone out there would be to live your best life. Absolutely. live it to the fullest. But also reflect on the fact that your days are numbered. And to talk to your family members about that. And so to backup plan, your backup plan, your pre arrangements, your will, because once you have that done, you’ll be like, yeah, it’s done. And then you can just carry on and live your best life. So that would be my advice for people out there. Absolutely.
Yeah, that’s beautiful. It sure hard to do. But once you start the process, it’s super, super easy. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Well, thank you, Laurie, thank you for coming on. I know I’ll have you come back because we have so much more topics to talk about. We only touched everything, everybody. We could probably do two or three hours of this. So thank you so much, Laurie, for taking the time. Thank you for for coming on and helping our listeners understand. Absolutely. Thanks, Tina. You’re welcome. And remember everybody, Laurie. Her two B’s is with the Aurora life.com website. Her information is down below in the description box. For all those people that have a question. It doesn’t matter if you’re not from the area or not.
Feel free to ask Lori anything that comes up or investigate what we’ve talked about today for yourselves and look at your area and start the process of what is it? Do I want I will share with you Tina as well.
So the company name is actually ANORALIFE.COM and it means honor.
oh WOW we came up with that. So honor so it works for everyone that we serve. And we honor the journey of life and death.
That’s a beautiful, beautiful name. Thank you. Yeah, awesome. So thank you everybody.
You know, guys, I talk about this all the time. We weren’t prepared for the pandemic. We’re not prepared for wildfires and five minute evacuation notices. We’re not prepared for that tragic car accident. We’re not prepared. I could, you know, of course the list could go on. We’re not prepared for an earthquake. And it’s time that we start having these taboo conversations with each other, those that we love, and talk about what options there are, what kinds of things you can choose. There’s so many cool things now that you can pick from, and you don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Thank you, Laurie, for coming to our show today. Thank you so very much.
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