Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category

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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Pre-Plan a Funeral Online

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Pre-Plan a Funeral OnlineIf the idea of calling funeral homes and meeting with estate planners to make advance funeral arrangements isn’t one you cherish, you may be able to find online options to save you time and money. Although unheard of just a few years ago, online funeral planning is now a viable option that allows you to plan and even pay for your funeral from the comfort of your own home.

How Online Funeral Planning Works

There are two ways you can pre-plan a funeral online. The first option requires nothing more from you than to make decisions regarding your wishes. For example, you can:

Print out a funeral planning worksheet, which you can then fill out regarding your specific wishes.
Find a funeral planning app or other online option that allows you to make decisions and email your answers to family members.
Coordinate funeral pre-plan options with a specific funeral home, which will use the information provided to contact you at a later date.

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How to Manage a Loved One’s Affairs After They are Gone

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

From time to time, those of us at iMortuary find great resources from within the industry we are delighted to share. Une Belle Vie Memorial Urns, is a company we admire for their commitment to customer service and quality to the consumers they serve online and over the phone.   They empathize with their customers’ challenges in managing estate finances and administration; to help families facing these tasks, they have developed a free downloadable guide to managing a loved one’s finances after they’re gone.

When a loved one passes, the family’s first and most pertinent task is to organize the funeral and/or memorial, which can be daunting during this time of mourning.  After the funeral, families often struggle with what to do next regarding their loved one’s possessions, property and, most importantly, their finances.

Managing Finances After They Are GoneUne Belle Vie Memorial Urns, a company that offers unique and custom cremation urns, offers a free downloadable step-by-step guide to managing a loved one’s finances after they are gone. The guide includes how to contact the appropriate government and financial agencies, how to close or transfer accounts, and how to claim death benefits.

Especially during a time of mourning, everyone can use some guidance and direction.

The free guide is available for download at http://decorative-urns.com/cremation-blog/estate-planning/free-download-une-belle-vie-guide-to-managing-a-loved-ones-finances/.

 

 

Safety and Good Businesses Practices When Purchasing Caskets Online

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Casket with beautiful funeral flower arrangement One of the most common pieces of advice on how to save money on a funeral is to buy a casket online. Funeral homes mark up items like caskets, urns, and other burial effects by hundreds or even thousands of dollars—an amount of money that can seem insurmountable when you’re already facing such a devastating loss. Because the FTC’s Funeral Rule requires that funeral homes accept these items from a third-party vendor, you can shop around for caskets online.

However, buying anything online comes with a risk. Because you’re talking about an item that comes with a hefty price tag (and requires immediate shipping), it’s important to get things right. If you’re hesitant to buy a casket online because of the dangers of internet shopping, here are a few tips to ensure a safe transaction.

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I Want to Plan My Own Funeral, Where do I Start?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Traditional Memorial Candle of RemembranceAlthough it might sound preemptive and a bit macabre to plan your own funeral, this kind of advance arrangement is becoming more and more common. Not only does pre-planning a funeral allow you to have more control over what happens to your remains after you pass, but it can also save your family quite a bit of grief and money.

Planning your own funeral can be as simple as making a list of your wishes and ensuring your family knows where it is, or as complex as paying for everything in advance (even going so far as to purchase the casket or arrange every detail with the funeral home). There is no wrong way to go about it, but here are a few suggestions for getting started.

 Choose Your Final Interment Plan

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Are Funeral Expenses Deductible on My Taxes?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Are Funeral Expenses Deductible on My Taxes?The unexpected funeral costs that arise after a death often put a strain on family finances. With a total price tag anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over ten thousand dollars, paying for a funeral out of pocket is like asking a family to buy a new car. This is a cost few families can cover outright, which is why it’s no wonder that the question of whether or not you can make funeral expenses deductible on your taxes is one that regularly pops up.

The easy answer is no. For the majority of families, the costs they must lay out for a funeral are like any other major purchase (along the lines of a car or new furniture). Funeral expenses are your responsibility, and the government won’t give you any tax breaks come April 15.

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Is Funeral Insurance Right for You?

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Is Funeral Insurance Right for You?In the funeral pre-planning industry, there are several different options you can choose from for your future memorial service. You can plan down to the last detail by advance planning an entire funeral with the home of your choosing. You can set up a payment plan to lower funeral costs down the road. Or, if you’re like one of a growing number of consumers, you can purchase funeral insurance to ensure that your loved ones are taken care of.

What is Funeral Insurance?

At first glance, funeral insurance can be slightly misleading. Also known as burial insurance, final expense insurance, or pre-need insurance, these are insurance policies that an individual takes out to guarantee funeral funding. Like life insurance, it is payable out upon death and monies are granted to the beneficiary listed on the policy. Unlike life insurance, the payout tends to be smaller (enough just to cover the funeral) and are paid out faster (so that you can have the money for funeral planning). And in many cases, the only way the policy is different from a traditional life insurance option is in the beneficiary—in funeral insurance, you may choose to name the funeral home as the beneficiary, so that the money goes directly to them.

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Funeral Scams to Avoid

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

iStock_000001404217XSmallAlthough it seems unthinkable to take advantage of a grieving family to make money, scams and fraud related to the death care industry can happen. As is the case in any field where emotions are high and decision-making is a strained business, unscrupulous vendors and outright scam artists may take advantage of the situation to earn a buck.

The majority of funeral homes operate in conjunction with national laws and regulations related to the funeral planning industry—and do it with compassion. However, if you find yourself feeling uncomfortable with any part of the process, be sure and step away from the funeral plans and check with this list of common funeral scams.

  • Not Allowing You to See The Prices: Under the Federal Trade Commission’s Funeral Rule, funeral homes must provide you with an itemized list of all their goods and services—including both packages and a la carte options. This list must be offered up front and without any other obligation on your part. In many cases, you can even request a copy over the phone or via mail, allowing you the chance to look it over at your leisure.
  • Pressuring You to Decide Now: Like car dealerships, funeral homes have a better chance of getting results if they keep you on site until you’ve made all your decisions and put down a deposit on the funeral of your choosing. This exhausting process often leads to impulsive decisions and overspending. You have every right to take your time and ask to return at a later date.
  • Forcing You to Buy from Them: There is no law that says you have to buy all your funeral items from the funeral home (in fact, the law says the exact opposite). You are allowed to shop around and order things like caskets, headstones, and funeral flowers from an outside provider—and the funeral home must accept them. (more…)

Funeral Protest Laws

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Funeral Protest LawsIn a country where free speech reigns and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, the rights of mourning families regularly come into question. This is never more true than when military funerals or other funerals of high public interest occur. On the one hand, it is important that those who are grieving are able to plan a funeral and say goodbye in a way that is respectful and private. On the other hand, the United States works hard to allow organizations to voice a protest in keeping with their rights as citizens.

New Military Funeral Regulations

In August 2012, President Obama signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 into law. Foremost among the law’s details, there are now restrictions in place to keep protestors at military funerals a discreet distance from the mourning family.

Under this new legislation, any protests (usually held in response to the individual’s private life or as a larger protest against military service) must be held at least 300 feet from military funerals. Likewise, these groups are prohibited from forming two hours before or after a service in order to give the family a wide berth. The law directly counteracts a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that allowed public displays as protected under the First Amendment.

What This Means for Funeral Planning

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Paying for a Parent’s Funeral

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Paying for a Parent's Funeral In cases where an individual did not make advance funeral plans, chances are fairly good that a spouse or adult child will be responsible for planning and financing the funeral. Long held as the custom across countries and cultures, the idea that a child must bear the burden of burial is one that many of us recognize. After all, these are the individuals who brought us into the world…it seems only fitting that we send them out of it.

Unfortunately, circumstances and financial hardship often get in the way of these types of plans. In addition to the emotional toll that losing a parent can have on an individual, it can be difficult to know where to find the resources to cover funeral costs as well as what types of decisions to make to best honor your parent.

If a parent’s death has recently occurred, we suggest you sit down with other siblings and your remaining parent to go over your options and to discuss funeral planning details. Depending on what kind of pre-plan funeral arrangements were made and your financial situation, you could rely on any of the following payment types.

  • Life Insurance: Although not everyone purchases a funeral pre-plan, life insurance is fairly common. The named beneficiary (or beneficiaries) will receive a lump sum payable upon death and may use those monies for the funeral. Because these funds may take a few weeks to be processed, most funeral homes are willing to work with you to arrange the payments at a later date. (more…)

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