Funeral Etiquette: Funerals and Divorce

September 5th, 2014

Ex-spousesFuneral etiquette is complicated even under the most traditional of family circumstances, so when you throw in blended families and issues related to divorce and remarriage, things can quickly become tangled up. Is it acceptable to go to the funeral of an ex-spouse? What about extended family of your ex to whom you remained close? And what happens if you are footing part of the bill for the burial?  Read the rest of this entry »

Kids and Death: Alternatives to a Funeral

September 2nd, 2014

Child's beloved toy set aside in a cornerNot every child is emotionally equipped to attend a funeral, and not every funeral is welcoming to attendees under a certain age. The decision of whether or not to bring kids to a funeral has long been a source of contention within families, and there is no easy answer regarding whether or not it’s acceptable. In almost all cases, it comes down to the child’s age, the child’s relationship to the deceased, and the wishes of the family.

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Using Technology to Connect with the Dead

August 29th, 2014

Social network of relatives and friendsBefore we had YouTube and home video recorders, prior to social media and voice recordings that could be stored online, there were few ways to connect on a personal level with the deceased. You might be able to look through old photos or visit the cemetery to help you in your grief. Personal belongings might also contain memories and—if it hasn’t been too long—may even retain sensory impressions, like the lingering scent of a favorite cologne.

These sorts of tenuous connections to the past are important in the Read the rest of this entry »

What Will the Funeral of the Future Look Like?

August 26th, 2014

Growing city skylineAlthough the funeral industry is typically slower to change than many other fields, there have been great advances lately regarding burial options, memorial services, and funeral technology. More and more people are turning to online platforms to share their grief and make their advance funeral plans, and the traditions of the past—heavy on the more ornate process of burial in a cemetery—are being set aside for more streamlined funeral options. Read the rest of this entry »

Common Funeral Planning Mistakes

August 20th, 2014

Grief - man with white roses at urn funeralFuneral 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.  Read the rest of this entry »

Financial Spring Cleaning

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Funeral Planning Glossary

August 3rd, 2014

Dove release at a funeral ceremonyFuneral pre-plans, preplanning a funeral, pre-need cremation…there are so many different terms out there related to the funeral planning industry it can be hard to keep track. Although many of the phrases are used interchangeably, there may be subtle differences that provide different financial and personal options.

Here’s our breakdown of what they mean.

  • Preneed Insurance/Burial Insurance/Funeral Insurance: All of these phrases refer to the same product—an insurance policy that provides enough money to cover the cost of the funeral, with little to spare. Although every policy is a little different, the expenses covered usually include the funeral home services, a casket and/or urn, the memorial service, and even burial and headstones at the cemetery. Depending on who you purchase your policy from, you may be able to lock in today’s rates or arrange the entire funeral in advance. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Plan a Simple Funeral

July 30th, 2014

How to Plan a Simple FuneralIn all the hassle of planning funerals and choosing caskets and selecting the perfect spray of sympathy flowers to demonstrate your loss, it’s not uncommon for families to lose sight of the bigger picture of death. A funeral, no matter how or when or why it occurs, is your final chance to say goodbye, and the most important thing is that your focus remains on the deceased. If your goal is to get rid of the elaborate trappings of death and put your attention where it matters most, a simple funeral might be right for you.

Basic Funeral Options

Direct Cremation/Direct Burial: The fastest and easiest way to plan a simple funeral is to opt for direct burial or direct cremation. These options, which take care of the body without a ceremony or any elaborate details, are low in cost and provide much the same results as a more elaborate ceremony—you either end up with a box of ashes or a place to visit the deceased in a cemetery. It’s merely the process of getting there that is pared down.

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Expensive Funerals in History

July 13th, 2014


Expensive Funerals in HistoryMost people tend to look at high funeral costs as a modern thing. We know that burial space is at a premium, and that families will pay extra to ensure that their loved ones are treated with respect and ceremony, and assume that this is the result of present-day attitudes toward death and dying.

In reality, today’s funerals are often less ostentatious than those of our forebears. The Victorians were notorious for making burial into a lengthy and expensive process, often going into mourning for an entire year after the headstone was erected. Not only would they pay to have the full procession, wake, and burial, but they’d continue to purchase black mourning clothes and avoid parties for months afterward.

The Victorians weren’t the only ones to make a show out of death. Some of the most expensive funerals in history took place during a time when money was tight and the everyday man paid the biggest price.

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What Type of Metal Should I Choose for the Casket?

July 10th, 2014

What Type of Metal Should I Choose for the Casket?When making funeral plans for a loved one, around 60 percent of families who opt for burial choose metal caskets. These sleek-looking designs are hailed as the best choice if you are hoping to preserve the integrity of the casket for as long as possible. Although your loved one’s remains will decay no matter what, the metal caskets will stay intact for hundreds of years.

Of course, “metal” is an all-encompassing term, and you have several types of caskets to choose from. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect.

  • Gauged Steel Caskets: The most common types of metal caskets are made of a lightweight steel alloy, which is offered in various gauges. You’ll most likely see options like 16-gauge steel, 18-gauge steel, and 20-gauge steel. These numbers are used to identify how thick the metal is, with lower numbers being thicker than the higher numbers. (For comparison purposes, most household sinks are 18-gauge steel.) Because of their relative thickness, lower gauges are more expensive than higher ones, and most families can choose the low-cost 20-gauge steel without noticing any difference in appearance. Read the rest of this entry »

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