Archive for the ‘Estate Planning’ Category

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…)

Cremation FAQs

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Fire smoke What is Cremation?

Cremation is a way of disposing of bodily remains that is both economical and ecologically friendly. Although many people choose cremation for personal, cultural, or religious reasons, the reality is that most people opt for cremation because of its relatively low cost (when compared to burial).

How Does Cremation Work?

In the process of cremation, a body is exposed to high levels of heat and flame for 1 to 3 hours. During this time, the body is broken down into ashes and large bone fragments (which are later ground down to give the appearance of ash). Family members are then able to collect these ash remains, also known as cremains, to be disposed of however they wish.

Who Performs a Cremation?

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5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Funeral Planning

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Cemetery is the dawn's lightOnce you’ve made the decision to begin funeral planning, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the information and options out there. Choosing cremation vs burial, picking between dozens of local funeral homes, considering funeral insurance vs a pre-plan funeral package…these are just a few of the options that pop up in the beginning of your search.

Because few purchases will ever be more personal than the ones you make regarding your own death, it’s important to take a deep breath and relax as you move forward. Although time is one of the few things none of us has an unlimited amount of, you should never plan a funeral in haste. It’s too easy to overpay or buy services you don’t need if you feel pressured to make immediate decisions.

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How Much Does Burial Insurance Cost?

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

People at funeral consoling each otherOne of the easiest ways to pre-pay for a funeral is to buy burial insurance (also known as funeral insurance). Instead of picking out details like caskets or cemeteries now, you simply set aside a lump sum that is payable out to your beneficiary upon your death. They can then use the money to fund your funeral in a way that fits with your wishes and their grieving needs.

Because burial insurance is a “guaranteed” payout (unlike car insurance, which will only pay out in the event of an accident, everyone will eventually die and collect on their burial policy), most of the costs are fixed. Your policy provider will take into account your age, your desired method of payment, and how large your payout is. From there, you will choose a policy that fits with your needs. This means that while one person (say, a 50-year-old in good health) might pay a fairly small monthly charge, another person (someone in their 70s who is a smoker) can expect larger monthly fees and even big upfront costs.

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How to Plan a Belated Funeral

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

How to Plan a Belated FuneralThere are many reasons to delay a funeral. Maybe it’s a difficult time of year for family members to get time off work or to make travel arrangements. Perhaps the deceased wished for a springtime service. Maybe you don’t currently have the money to cover funeral costs.

Whatever the reasons, it’s becoming more common to opt for direct cremation or direct burial immediately following death—and to hold a formal “funeral” or memorial service sometime in the future. You can wait weeks, months, or even years to do this, which gives you greater flexibility and more options when it comes to saying goodbye.

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