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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5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Funeral Planning

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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10 Ways to Dispose of a Loved One’s Ashes

April 10th, 2014

Loved one's ashes in a delicate urnCremation is gaining traction as the funeral planning method of choice, with over a third of Americans opting to be cremated over being buried. These numbers are only expected to continue rising, and estimates suggest that over half of all deaths will end in cremation by the year 2020.

Of course, just because cremation is becoming more popular doesn’t mean everyone will have to dispose of the ashes in the same way. One of the best things about cremation is how creative you can get with the remains. Here are ten unique and not-so-unique ways to say goodbye to your loved one.

  1. Display the Urn: Although some people find it macabre to keep a loved one’s ashes displayed on the mantle, this is a traditional option for anyone who wants to stay near their dear and departed. A decorative urn can be placed in the home or in a columbarium for regular visitations.
  1. Ash Scattering Ceremony: Most people opt to scatter the cremated remains of a loved one. Whether you go out back in the garden or stand on the bow of a boat and send the ashes off to sea, scattering the ashes is a great way to say goodbye (just make sure you have the right permits first) Read the rest of this entry »

Best Places to Scatter Ashes

April 7th, 2014

Peaceful nature sceneIf 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.

How Much Does Burial Insurance Cost?

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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Funeral Etiquette for Thank You Notes

March 26th, 2014

Funeral Etiquette for Thank You NotesThe loss of a loved one and the planning of an entire funeral from start to finish is an exhausting affair. It’s not uncommon for those undergoing bereavement to feel both physically and mentally exhausted, and emotions can run through a course of highs and lows in a matter of minutes. Among all the chaos of guests arriving from out of town and navigating the financial side effects of death, it can seem impossible to find time to write funeral thank you notes.

Funeral etiquette dictates that the family of the deceased send out thank you cards in the days and weeks following the funeral. Fortunately, this isn’t the time-consuming, tedious task it sounds like. Not only can you purchase pre-prepared thank you cards and send them out, but you can recruit the help of others and make it a chance to bond and share your grief.

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How to Plan a Belated Funeral

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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