ARCH-funeral-mourning

The loss of a loved one marks a difficult time for your client. Your first instinct might be to send a bouquet of flowers. Teleflora offers live plant arrangements, available through any florist in Canada. It’s $50 for a simple arrangement, and as much as $175 for three orchids. Bouquets range from $40 to about $150. But, you need to be wary of a client’s faith. Sending flowers to Jewish clients while the family is sitting shiva is considered disrespectful. Muslims may prefer you donate to a charity instead. There are better options.

Low cost, high impact
$5/client

A simple expression of sympathy in a handwritten card is memorable, especially if you recall an anecdote or detail about the deceased. While it’s important to meet with your client about financial matters, you don’t want your expression of sympathy to be misconstrued as jumping at the chance to build business. Wait until after the funeral to contact him about those matters.

Read: What happens when an RRSP annuitant dies

Medium cost, medium impact
$80/client

Death can mean extra visitors, so food baskets are often welcome. Pacific Basket Company in Vancouver has gift baskets that range from $23, for a small bowl of fruit, to $155 for a fruit and gourmet food basket. Delivery is extra. A basket with chocolate-dipped and fresh fruit from PEI Blossoms in Charlottetown costs between $45 and $145, plus delivery.

Medium cost, medium impact
$100/client

Many obituaries include information for charitable donations. Most funeral homes have arrangements to accept donations and, often, charities will also send a notification to the family when a gift is made in honour of a loved one. Or, instead of traditional donations, name a star in honour of the deceased. You can do this for $100 plus taxes and delivery, and you’ll receive a framed certificate, sky chart and a book on astronomy. For more information, visit starregistry.ca.

Read: The importance of post-mortem planning

High cost, high impact
$375/client

The St. Margaret’s Bay Trail in Halifax, N.S. has memorial benches that you can sponsor for $375, plus a $50 maintenance fee. The annual renewal fee is $150. A recognition plaque is attached to the bench, inscribed with the name of the sponsor or “In memory of.”

For $200, you can plant a tree in memory of someone and help the guide dog program. The tree is planted in the Memorial Forest at the National Guide Dog Training Centre in Breslau, Ont., and is marked with an “in memoriam” tag. The family will receive a notification card.

Read: Why you should tackle digital estate planning

by Lisa MacColl, an Ontario-based financial writer

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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