What to Do When Your Family Doesn’t Like Your Funeral Plans

May 25th, 2014

Funeral at a cemeteryLike part of a growing trend of Americans, you’ve pre-arranged your funeral to save your family from heartache after your death. You made the decision between cremation and burial, and set aside the appropriate funds to cover the entire ceremony. Now all that rests between you and completing your advance funeral arrangements is sitting down to inform your family of the details.

While most families appreciate the time, effort, and money that goes into advance funeral planning, this isn’t always the case. If you deviate from tradition or plan for something out of the ordinary, you may find yourself facing a family who not only disagrees with your funeral plans, but who are honestly hurt by the decisions you have made.

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How Many Cemetery Plots Should I Buy?

May 21st, 2014

Cemetery at SunsetOne of the most common ways to begin your funeral pre-planning is to purchase a cemetery plot well in advance of death. Because these parcels of land are fairly expensive (expect them to range between $2,000 and $4,000), getting the payments done and out of the way is a great way to reduce future funeral costs.

Of course, doing anything this far in advance means you to need to think long and hard about what you want out of your funeral package. Cemetery plots are very stationary things, and while some contracts allow you to buy and sell them after your original purchase is complete, this option isn’t always guaranteed.

How Many Cemetery Plots?

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Benefits of an Outdoor Funeral

May 18th, 2014

Outside funeral service in natureMost funeral plans revolve around a fairly traditional ceremony. Whether at the funeral home or at a local place of worship, family and friends gather to say prayers, sing hymns, share stories about the deceased, and pay their parting respects. While the details surrounding this ceremony vary (in addition to location, you can make decisions regarding funeral music, funeral attire, food and beverage options, audio-visual components, and the officiant), most of us have a fairly good idea of how the process works.

So too do we envision the graveside service. When the deceased chooses to be buried, it’s common to hold a second service at the cemetery, to say prayers and watch as the deceased is lowered into the ground.

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Everything You Need to Know about Rental Caskets

May 13th, 2014

Hardwood Casket There’s no denying that funeral planning is an expensive endeavor, and any way you can cut funeral costs is worth looking into. And one of the most costly parts of the funeral—the casket—is high on that list.

A casket for burial or cremation can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the material, finish, and quality of the casket. While a simple container or box is usually sufficient, most families opt for more ornate hardwoods or stainless steel to better display the body (especially if there’s an open casket or viewing). In an effort to reduce prices and still provide families with what they want, some funeral homes are turning to rental caskets.

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What to Send instead of Funeral Flowers

May 8th, 2014

Old Family ArtefactsThere’s no denying that it has become commonplace to send sympathy flowers and funeral bouquets to show your regard for the dearly departed. Adding a touch of color to the memorial service and bringing hope to the family, funeral flowers are a great way to demonstrate support and love.

However, funeral flowers aren’t for everyone. Whether the family asks you to skip the blooms in lieu of a charitable contribution, or if the deceased was concerned for the environment and is asking for a green funeral, you may be asked to send an alternative sympathy gift. Here are few ideas.

  • “In Lieu of” Donations: The most common non-floral gift is one of money. Many families will select a charity that meant something special to the deceased and ask for contributions to be made in his or her name. You can also find a charity of your own to support. Whether you formally make the donation in the deceased’s name, or if you give the money and leave things there, these kinds of gifts are lasting and meaningful. Read the rest of this entry »

Types of Musicians to Hire for a Funeral

May 4th, 2014

Music for a memorial serviceOne of the most time-honored parts of planning a funeral is choosing what kind of music you’d like to have played for the service. Evoking the right mood and playing favorites of the deceased is a great way to make a funeral memorable without huge costs, and it adds a personal touch that is both respectful and appropriate.

Music at funerals is often played in the background as people arrive and depart. It can also be used as a part of the service or to accompany the casket being lowered into the ground. Some families also have music playing during the funeral luncheon or reception. However you choose to set the stage is up to you.

While selecting songs and playing them on an iPod or sound system is perfectly acceptable, you can also take things one step further by hiring live Read the rest of this entry »


Best Places to Scatter Ashes

May 1st, 2014

Scattering ashes by hot air balloon If you’ve recently cremated a loved one and are looking for creative yet respectful ways to dispose of the ashes, an ash scattering ceremony is a good choice. Although not every public or private area allows for this kind of option, these locations are some of the favorites for scattering ashes and saying goodbye.

  • Garden or Flowerbed: There’s no reason why you have to travel to the ocean or far away to send the proper respects to the deceased. One of the most popular places to scatter ashes is in the deceased’s garden, orchard, or flowerbed. Because it’s your own land, you don’t have to worry about getting permission, and you can erect any kind of monument you want afterwards. Read the rest of this entry »

Five Funeral Trends for 2014

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. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Write Your Own Obituary

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. Read the rest of this entry »


Cremation FAQs

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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