Funeral Attire Dos and Don’ts

January 21st, 2016
Funeral Attire Ds and Don'tsKnowing what to wear to a funeral can be an added stress when you’re already grieving the loss of a loved one—especially if you don’t have the time or money to shop for a new outfit. For a quick and easy look at funeral attire tips, we’ve outlined some of the biggest dos and don’ts. (more…)

How to Create a Memorial Space in Your Home

January 11th, 2016
How to Create a Memorial Space in Your HomeA funeral or memorial service is just the start of your bereavement process. Losing a loved one isn’t something you just “get over” or “recover from.” It’s a lifelong journey of finding ways to cope and enjoying the positive things that remain. Funerals are a great way to kick start this grieving process, but they often leave a sense of emptiness behind. Once the funeral planning is done and the guests have departed, it’s time to begin finding your new path through life—often with only yourself to rely on. For many, creating a memorial space at home is an ideal way to begin this journey of healing. In addition to allowing you a physical space to mourn (that’s not as far away as a cemetery), you may find comfort from having memories of the deceased so close by.
  1. Dedicate a space for the memorial. A mantelpiece is the most common location, but any niche or corner (or even a shelf on the bookcase) will do. A coffee table, a desk, or even an entire room you don’t use may also apply.
  2. Place an urn or photo in the space. If you had the deceased cremated, you can keep an urn of the ashes in the memorial space. If not, you can place a photograph or beloved item (shoes, a stuffed animal, a favorite hat, a trophy, an award medal, a wedding ring) in the center location. Anything that reminds you of the deceased and brings you joy will work.
  3. Consider flowers, decorations, and other commemorative items. There’s no rule about how many things you need to put in a memorial space, so feel free to include anything you feel is relevant to your relationship with your loved one. Some people also like to put up seasonal items (in much the same way you might place seasonal decorations at a grave site).
  4. Burn candles or make offerings. Depending on your spiritual beliefs, you may want to light special candles or burn incense. Aromatherapy candles can provide a double benefit if you choose soothing, healing scents that bring you personal comfort or remind you of the deceased. (Make sure you never leave anything on fire unattended.)
  5. Keep it up as long as you need. The great thing about a memorial space in your home is that you can keep it up year-round, and with the exception of an occasional dusting, you don’t need to do anything to maintain it.
The need for having a safe, physical space to mourn is why we have cemeteries and memorials in the first place. So much about death is intangible, and making a physical connection with those we have lost is difficult. A personal shrine or memorial space not only gives you more flexibility in your grief, but it allows you to personalize the process so that you can always feel connected.

Should I Invest in a Family Cemetery Plot?

January 8th, 2016
The History of Family PlotsWhen people purchase cemetery plots, they usually do so in pairs. Because so many spouses wish to be buried together, it makes sense to buy adjoining plots. It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying burial plots in advance, or if one spouse recently passed on and it makes sense to buy both burial spaces now—this is the way the vast majority of Americans approach the burial process. There is another option, however. Family cemetery plots provide a way for multiple members of a family to be buried in the same place—and usually for a discounted price overall. Because you’re investing in a larger piece of cemetery real estate, you may get a percentage reduction or be able to bury multiple relatives on top of one another. You can also get away with purchasing one large headstone with the family name engraved on it and rely on smaller plaques to identify each individual buried there. (more…)

Establishing a Family Cemetery

January 7th, 2016
Establishing a Family CemeteryOne of the oldest and longest-standing funeral traditions is that of buryingfamily members in a private cemetery on your own land—but it’s a tradition few people uphold today. What was once a common practice started to disappear as national regulations intervened and required that burials were overseen by local health and sanitation codes. The prevalence of convenient funeral homes also provided an affordable alternative. The result is that these days, burying a loved one anywhere but an official cemetery is a tricky business. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a family cemetery on private land. Although you will be restricted by the laws in your particular state and county, there are steps you can take to begin establishing a private cemetery. (more…)

How to Tell Your Loved Ones You’d Like to Be Cremated

January 5th, 2016
How to Tell Your Loved Ones You Want to be CrematedEven though over 40 percent of Americans opt for cremation over burial, there are still many different kinds of religious, cultural, and personal taboos that make cremation a difficult decision. This is especially true if your family has traditional views regarding funeral planning or has a long history of burial in a particular cemetery. If you’ve decided on cremation but aren’t quite sure how to tell your family, we suggest you set aside a time to have this important conversation. It’s never a good idea to leave this sort of thing as a surprise, so the sooner you can open up to those you love, the more time you’ll have to enjoy what’s left of your time together. (more…)

Burial Insurance, Part Three: Buying Burial Insurance through a Funeral Home

December 4th, 2015
Burial Insurance 3 of 3

Burial Insurance 3 of 3

There are two primary ways to buy burial insurance. The first operates like any other kind of life insurance policy, in which you name a loved one as the beneficiary who receives the payout when you die. The second option allows you to name a funeral home as the beneficiary, in which case they receive the insurance money directly. This second option may seem a bit strange—after all, a funeral home isn’t your family, and you haven’t worked hard your whole life so they can receive a payout. However, it’s actually a quite common occurrence, and it can work out in your favor. Here’s how. (more…)

Burial Insurance, Part Two: How and Where to Purchase Burial Insurance

December 2nd, 2015
Burial Insurance 2 of 3

Burial Insurance 2 of 3

Once you’ve decided that you’d like to purchase a burial or funeral insurance policy as part of your final plans, the real challenge comes into play. There are countless burial insurance providers out there (which range from funeral homes to traditional insurance companies), and you have options when it comes to choosing the right one. (more…)

Burial Insurance, Part One: Introduction to Burial Insurance

November 30th, 2015
Burial Planning Series Part 1 of 3

Burial Planning Series Part 1 of 3

Funeral insurance, burial insurance, final expense insurance, preneed funeral insurance—these terms are often used interchangeably to talk about the same thing. With any of these types of insurance, money is paid out to a beneficiary to cover part or all of your funeral costs, including everything from traditional burial to cremation. Unlike other types of insurance, which are designed around a “what-if” scenario (what if I crash my car, what if I need to go to the doctor, what if my home catches on fire), burial insurance is a guaranteed pay out. As long as you keep current on your premiums or pay the amount required up front, this money will be available upon your eventual death. (more…)

What to Put on the Headstone

November 9th, 2015
What to Put on the Headstone

What to Put on the Headstone

Of all the funeral plans you make on behalf of the deceased, perhaps none is more lasting than the inscription on the headstone. The words you choose to mark the grave will be the first thing people see when they walk by the grave, and the final thing they take with them when they leave the cemetery. These words will also last much longer than your own memories, showcasing your love and affection for centuries to come. (more…)

Five Reasons to Donate Your Body to Science

November 9th, 2015
Five Reasons to Donate Your Body to Science

Five Reasons to Donate Your Body to Science

Although the option to donate your body to science instead of having it buried or cremated has been around for decades, it’s an option many people have a hard time considering. After all, when your body becomes a learning tool for the next generation of doctors and scientists, you are unable to hold a traditional burial. (more…)