Archive for the ‘Estate Planning’ Category

Creative and DIY Memorials to Make from the Deceased Belongings

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Creative and DIY Memorials to Make from the Deceased BelongingsThrowing away personal effects can be a difficult process for those in mourning over a loved one. Whether you’re clearing a room or an entire house, discarding cherished memories or donating items to charity can feel like saying goodbye all over again.

If you aren’t quite ready to get rid of the entire closet full of clothes, or if you’d rather not sell off furniture that’s been in your family for years, here are a few creative ways to memorialize your loved one.

  • Make a Blanket or Quilt: Old clothes can make an excellent source of fabric for a commemorative quilt. Choose your favorite (and most memorable) items of clothing, and cut squares of fabric to be made into a blanket. If you sew, you can do it yourself, or there are specialty providers who can make it for you. This item can be cherished forever without taking up too much space. (more…)

Notifying Social Security about a Death

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Notifying Social Security about a DeathManaging the death of a loved one might seem like a highly private and personal affair, but there is actually a complex maze of paperwork, bureaucracy, and government involvement that has to take place before the deceased can be laid to rest. Although most of the initial paperwork will be filled out by city officials and your funeral director, it’s a good idea to know what is being filed where—and why.

Social Security Administration

Just as the Social Security Administration must be notified of a child’s birth, so must they be notified of an individual’s death. This is necessary to stop the deceased’s Social Security Number from being used (either legally or illegally), and to ensure that there is an official record of death with the U.S. Government. (more…)

Disposing of a Loved One’s Personal Effects

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Disposing of a Loved One’s Personal EffectsAfter the funeral plans have been completed and life has settled into what will be your new normal, it’s time to deal with the personal effects a death leaves behind. Although some of the deceased’s belongings might have been divided among descendants according to the will, most people leave closets (and even homes) full of stuff behind. Clothes, furniture, books, pictures, mementos of vacations long gone…all of these things eventually have to be sorted through and taken care of.

For most people, this is a bittersweet time. Painful memories are sure to arise as you sift through the remnants of a loved one’s lifetime, but you may also find that there are positive associations, as well. Although there is no right or wrong way to go about things, here are a few tips for sorting through a loved one’s personal effects after they are gone. (more…)

Funeral Planning for Your New Year’s Resolution

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Funeral Planning for Your New Year’s ResolutionFor most of us, New Year’s resolutions are an opportunity improve our lives. We make promises to eat better, exercise more, remember to visit the dentist twice a year, and otherwise look after our health. After all, a new year is a fresh start, and what could be better than to find ways to enjoy a more positive, fruitful life?

One answer might be to find a way to enjoy a more positive, fruitful death. (more…)

How to Choose a Funeral Director

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

How to chose a funeral directorWhen you’re choosing a funeral home to help you with funeral planning, you’re not just considering which facility is best—you’re also interviewing funeral directors. Because you’ll be relying on one individual for so much of your support and decision-making, it’s important that you feel a connection with your funeral director built on trust and understanding. Although you probably won’t have time to call and get to know every funeral director in the event of a sudden death, you can take a few minutes to chat with them to get a feeling for who you’d like to work with.

 What Does a Funeral Director Do?

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Financial Spring Cleaning

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Estate Planning PaperworkSpring is a time of renewal and rebirth, when the melting snow gives way to new life and people start reorganizing their closets for the warm season to come. Financial experts also suggest you use this time to consider pulling out your estate and funeral planning to ensure that everything is in order and up-to-date.

Where to Start?

When we talk about making advance estate and funeral plans, we mean much more than putting money in a 401(k) or taking out a life insurance policy. While both these things are great first steps, they don’t encompass the breadth of options available to you as you organize your end-of-life plans. (more…)

Common Funeral Planning Mistakes

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Common Funeral Planning MistakesFuneral planning is never an easy task, especially since it’s something few people are trained for (and because it’s something you hopefully don’t have to practice very often). Being caught unaware of the correct protocol is one of the easiest ways to overpay or get taken advantage of, which is why it’s a good idea to become familiar with the biggest funeral planning pitfalls ahead of time.

  • Waiting until the Last Minute: Don’t wait until a terminal illness or catastrophe brings funeral planning to the forefront. The best funeral plans are made when you and your loved ones are in good health and are able to make calm, rational decisions with plenty of time to think them over.
  • Going with the First Funeral Home You Come Across: You may get a recommendation from a hospital or hospice. You might call the first funeral home you see in the phone book. You could even stick to the same funeral home you used the last time a death occurred. While these are great ways to find a funeral home, be sure and call around for additional (more…)

Five Funeral Trends for 2014

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

White roses on a sympathy wreathLike most traditions and ceremonial events, funeral planning changes over the years. Whether it’s the annual increase in the number of cremations or the prevalence of “green funerals” that seek to reduce an impact on the environment, popular funeral trends have a way of sticking around. As we enter 2014, here are a few of the funeral planning trends and practices to expect in the coming year.

  1. Customized Funeral Arrangements: While most of the traditions of funeral planning will stay in place, don’t be surprised to find personal touches in the details. Colorful caskets, rock music that was enjoyed by the deceased during his/her life, family members speaking in place of clergy during the ceremony—all these things add a lighthearted touch without going overboard. And because these details rarely add to the funeral costs, they provide an economically viable way to make a funeral unique. (more…)

How to Write Your Own Obituary

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Composing an obituary When it comes to funeral planning, some people prefer to have everything taken care of ahead of time. In addition to setting aside money for a funeral, this includes choosing things like caskets and headstones ahead of time. And if you really don’t want to leave anything to chance, you can also write your own obituary.

After all, no one can sum up your life quite as well as you can. Awards and achievements—those things that look good on paper—might make for a nice newspaper article, but they rarely capture who you are as a person and what kind of message you want to leave behind. If writing your own obituary and placing it with your estate plans is something that appeals to you, here’s how you can best go about it. (more…)

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