Wednesday, April 29, 2015

5 Reasons to Consider Pre-Planned Funeral Arrangements

Whether you are 28 or 82, the truth is that the time will come when someone will have the responsibility of dealing with your burial.
Our children have had a hard time understanding why we want to talk to them about our wishes as we age. Perhaps yours is the same. We do not like to face death and the obvious issues of what needs done when that time comes.
Let me quickly say here, as Christians and believers in Jesus Christ, we know our final home will be in Heaven. However, there will someday be a funeral here as our earthly bodies are laid to rest. And there will be friends and family that need time to adjust to the parting of their loved one.
Families who have made early arrangements have an easier time handling all the unexpected details that come up when a loved one dies.
An entire funeral can be planned through a local mortuary and paid for ahead of time. Here are a few basics of utmost importance in considering a pre-arranged service agreement.
1. Choose a reputable funeral director. He will sit down with you and discuss the types of funerals available. There are a wide range of choices from cremation, simple gravesite, elaborate viewing and visitation, and other options. Here is where your personal request can be noted so family with differing views will not have to choose for you.
2. Consider the kind of service you would want. Do you want to be sure to leave a witness for Christ at your burial? Do you want Scripture and certain music to comfort those who are grieving? Do you have a favorite poem or reading you want used?
3. How important is a fancy casket to you? By choosing yourself (or helping an elderly person choose), you can avoid the temptation some have of getting the best (usually most expensive) to honor dear Aunt Sally. This may sound strange; however, I have seen many ill-equipped families invest more than they could afford to please others or to soothe their own feelings.
4. The funeral director will probably have a booklet for you to take with you, fill out and return to him. Here you can accurately record information about yourself, your work, your education, and your faith. You will also be able to leave a valid obituary with accurate family history.
5. After visiting with the funeral home, if you are comfortable with his/her plans, you may choose to begin paying on your funeral now. There will be many options available to you. Be sure you get everything in writing that you discussed and are sure this is what you want before signing a contract.
It's a stressful time when a loved one dies. A pre-planned funeral will ease confusion as your family will have a clear picture of your desires. This is especially helpful when more than one person bears the responsibility of making these plans.

Article Source:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sending Funeral Flowers and Sympathy Flowers

Sending Funeral and Sympathy Flowers is a widely practiced tradition across many cultures to express condolences and respect following a death. When someone has lost a loved one, it can bring great comfort to receive a flower arrangement with an expression of sympathy. It provides a simple, uplifting and touching way to show the bereaved that you are thinking about them in their time of loss.
What is the difference between Sympathy Flowers and Funeral Flowers?
Sympathy Flowers are typically a personal expression to offer condolences sent direct to the home, or place of work, of the bereaved family. Sympathy arrangements are usually of the design that they will fit onto a table-top, and give a heart-warming distraction to the grief-stricken during the time of recent loss. Conventionally Sympathy Flowers are white, although other colours are quite acceptable. If you chose to send Sympathy Flowers, a number of options are available, selecting designs from simple floral bouquets to a houseplant or an exotic orchid. The important consideration in sending sympathy flowers is that the natural beauty and scent of flowers can have a special effect on the human senses in evoking compassion. Prices for sending Sympathy Flowers do vary, but you can expect to be able to send a simple arrangement from $30.00. Using an online flower retailer is becoming common practice these days, and indeed significant savings can be made this way. Cheap Sympathy Flowers can be ordered online, or by telephone, from US Funerals Online.
Funeral Flowers are traditionally considered the flower arrangement that is sent to the funeral service. A Funeral Flower arrangement is typically a standing arrangement, most are one-sided and fan-shaped, and they are carefully designed for the purpose of creating a very visible floral tribute at a funeral service. This is why most funeral flower arrangements are designed for display purposes on an easel, or to be laid on or around a casket. As with Sympathy Flowers, Funeral Flowers are sent as an explicit expression of condolences, and are often sent to a funeral service when one is unable to personally attend. Funeral Floral displays are an important aspect of adding colour and grace to a funeral service, helping to create a compassionate ambiance to a somber event. Florists will offer a selection of standing funeral flower arrangements, and prices generally start from around $65.00 with large standing sprays or casket sprays ranging to $300.00.
If you are intending on sending funeral flowers to a church or funeral home for a funeral service, then you may need to consider a few things. Firstly, you may need to establish what the wishes of the family they want floral displays, and would they prefer them to be sent to the funeral home, the cemetery or the church? What time is the service being conducted? The funeral director can normally advise on the families' wishes if you cannot speak directly to the family. However, do be wary of the funeral home offering to arrange flowers for you, as they can often cost more than ordering direct yourself. Florists are extremely understanding of ensuring funeral flowers are delivered in a timely fashion for a funeral service, and many will even offer to call you to confirm their delivery. To view a selection of cheap funeral flowers offered with a 50% discount on full retail price, visit US Funerals Online and view our Funeral Flowers.
What else to consider?
Whether you are selecting sympathy funeral or funeral flowers, you can choose either traditional arrangements, or select flowers and colors that represent special meaning to the bereaved. For example: you may choose colors that help to signify a story about the life of the deceased. It is often considered common for a veteran to be honoured with a red, white and blue floral tribute
What message to send with Funeral Flowers?
Not sure how to convey your condolences? A simple card and message lets the bereaved family know that your thoughts are with them. The common messages used to express condolences are "With deepest sympathy", "Thinking of you in these difficult times", and "My thoughts and prayers are with you".

Article Source:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Funeral Planning - Creating a Smart End of Life Plan

Like so many families, when we suffered the loss of my mother last year we faced the difficult decision of what to do next.  Because we were never willing to accept this as a possible outcome, nor did we think about planning in advance for this incomprehensible loss, we had no idea where to begin or who we could turn to. 
Most people tend to overlook one of the greatest gifts you will give your family, which is properly preparing them for the inevitable. At best, you might have started your estate planning process by creating a Will or Trust. However, the harsh reality is that approximately over 70% of Americans have no form of estate plan. So by having a will or Trust, you have clearly taken a step in the right direction toward preplanning your future financial wishes. The problem is, this form of planning fails to accomplish the most important task, which is addressing your family's immediate concerns.
The person, or in most cases people, responsible for taking care of your final arrangements are usually forced to make extremely important decisions, as well as major financial purchases, within a small time frame...usually within approximately 48 hours after your death. Of course, you cannot expect to fully alleviate the emotional and financial stresses of your loved ones during such a difficult time, but you can help themtremendously by having a plan that outlines your funeral wishes.
Most financial professionals are realizing that an integral part of a sound financial and estate plan is taking care of your funeral services ahead of time. Funeral Preplanning gives you the ability to choose your method of disposition, the exact type of services you want, and allows your family to focus more on things such as grieving and recovery. In addition, funeral preplanning is also a good thing for you because it allows you to make extremely important decisions through a calm and clear thought process. Emotionally, it is much more likely that you will create a more rational and logical end-of-life plan.
When preplanning your funeral, here are several general guidelines to begin your preplanning process:
  •         Visit various funeral homes and interview multiple funeral directors
  •         Choose a funeral home and director where you think your family would be most comfortable
  •         Consider bringing family members with you during this selection process  
  •         Be aware and informed of bereavement entitlements such as veterans, unions, fraternities, etc.
  •         Consider religious and moral convictions, and discuss them with your family
  •         Determine your method of disposition (burial, cemetery, entombment, cremation, etc.)
  •         Plan your ceremony considering things like casket viewing, religious aspects, who should be included, etc.
  •         Itemize your costs
  •         The Federal Trade Commission offers a free funeral planning guide titled "Caskets and Burial Vaults" (202-326-2222) which has made it easier for consumers to comparison shop.
The FTC Funeral Rule requires funeral directors to give pricing information over the phone, as well as provide you with a readily available General Price List if you visit them in person. This FTC Funeral Rule also allows you to purchase caskets, which are the single largest funeral expense, from outside vendors without the threat of a carrying charge. For more information about The FTC Funeral Rule, you can visit 
What About Paying For Funeral Expenses In Advance?
Although planning your funeral arrangements in advance may help alleviate many of the details, prepaying (also known as prearranging) for your funeral services is a way of taking care of the actual expenses.
Prepaying your funeral or cremation is one of the fastest growing, and most appreciated and accepted aspects of funeral planning. Similar to preplanning your funeral, paying your funeral expenses in advance is also becoming widely accepted by many financial professionals as a solid piece of a sound financial and estate plan.
When prepaying your funeral plan, the most common and widely used strategies are savings and life insurance, mainly because they tend to be deemed the most reliable and readily available. However, there are several other strategies to consider when prepaying your funeral costs or expenses:
Savings Although many people choose to set aside savings to pay for funeral expenses, there are several reasons this does not always end up working out as originally planned. First, the savings can be depleted based on unexpected financial circumstances, such as health or financial issues. Second, these funds are not always readily available and liquid upon death due to the challenges and restrictions often found in estate planning. Third, the funds set aside can often be insufficient due to inflation and the rising cost of funeral expenses. Finally, it should be noted that savings are included in a part of one's estate, and, thus, the taxable consequences can often come into play.
Life Insurance Term Life Insurance is widely considered to be a flexible, simple, and affordable way to pay for your final funeral expenses. Although Term Life Insurance has a set term, or set number of years, it also has multiple uses in prepaying for your funeral. Because upon your death it becomes a liquid asset that is usually not part of your estate, it can be used for many things such as funeral, burial, cremation, liquidity, and many other things, including debts or obligations.
In addition, there are some types of life insurance that allow the funds contributed to these policies (either in lump sum, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually) to grow and accumulate as a cash value that can be accessed if necessary. Therefore, these policies can not only be used for funeral expenses, but also for other financial planning options that may arise such as financial emergencies, college, etc.
Funeral Insurance Funeral insurance is an insurance policy which is specifically designed to cover any costs or expenses which are directly related to your funeral. If you purchase one of these policies, one of the options you have is to determine exactly which funeral costs or expenses are to be covered, such as flowers, burial plot, grave marker, and much more. Another option you have is for the policy to be paid out in a single lump-sum, which can be used to cover your pre-determined costs or expenses, or simply help your loved ones financially as they plan for you. There are many insurance companies that offer funeral insurance packages, and certain funeral homes or funeral companies also offer policies. 
Pre-Need Trust Agreements Another alternative to prepaying your funeral is to consider a Pre-Need Trust Agreement to pay for your costs or expenses. Generally speaking, these Trust accounts are typically funded with monthly payments that are invested in a fund which is designed to grow over time. Although a Trust account is designed to provide the potential for protection against inflation, it is not guaranteed to do so.
In summary, although nobody likes to think or talk about dying, it is one of the facts of life we all must eventually face. If you are trying to build a successful financial plan, the only way you can be sure your plan works smoothly and efficiently is to be proactive about your planning process. This is particularly true and necessary when creating a proper plan of succession, which I firmly believe should include an end-of-life plan.

Article Source:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cremation and Permanent Remembrance

Years ago, cremation was seen as "just cremation." Families would hear a family member say, "just cremate me." What many families didn't realize then was that such an approach could limit the ability of the family and friends to fully say goodbye to a loved one, and to successfully move through the grieving process. At the loss of a loved one, there is no such thing as "just." The emotional needs of the family and friends at the loss is exactly the same for families whether they choose cremation or burial. Learning about your choices with cremation ensures that you and your family can benefit from the time-tested approaches that help families move from grieving to remembrance.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How to Choose a Burial Place For Your Deceased Family Member

It is always painful when a loved one dies and this is when at times having something to do, such as planning the funeral, takes a bit away from that pain. Feeling useful is always helpful in these kinds of sad and stressful situations.
One of the important tasks of organizing the funeral is selecting the cemetery where the burial will take place. First thing you need to do is find a proper plot and you can do that by checking out local cemetery listings. Depending on the cemetery's religious affiliations, you might come across restrictions on the place or the person that will be buried. Once you found the cemetery that you consider appropriate, make a tour of it and inspect the place. Check out the way the place is maintained and meet the staff. Ask them questions and see what types of replies you get and and the way the replies are given. Are they polite and do they know enough about the whole process?
Also you should ask about the price for the different burial sites. If you are looking at a plot that has nice surroundings and a scenic view, you might have to pay more than choosing a place that is isolated and has less visual appeal. However if you are on a tight budget, this kind of place might be best and save you money. Also inquire about purchasing multiple plots next to each other. This helps when you several family members want to be buried close to each other, and sometimes when buying multiple plots you might get a discount.
Ask for detailed expenses to avoid any hidden fees. Are there any ongoing maintenance fees and if yes, how much will that cost? Such maintenance fees would involve putting regularly flowers on the grave, keeping the grave site clean, etc.
Also don't forget to ask about the different payment options. What happens if you've already paid a down payment and now you've changed your mind. Will you get back a refund or at least a portion of it?
Don't be shy to ask friends and coworkers about this as they might have some prior experience with their family members, so they might have already gone through the same situation and could give you ideas of places you can visit.
When you are about to sign the agreement read the whole contract including the small print so you don't miss any stipulations that might have not been mentioned during the meeting. Also ask any questions regarding anything you don't understand, the employees should be quick to answer them for you.
Feeling useful in such a situation goes to great length in alleviating your pain after a loved one departed, however if you feel rather stressed out by all this, don't be shy to ask another relative or friend to help. It is never good to carry the whole weight on one person's shoulders only. This is why friends and family are there for.

Article Source:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Alan Jackson - "He Stopped Loving Her Today" at George Jones' Funeral

Alan Jackson performs "He Stopped Loving Her Today" at the funeral service of George Jones on May 2, 2013. With special thanks to the Jones family and artists involved, the Opry is authorized to post this moving performance from the service. © 2013 Possum Tracks Touring Co.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

New Trends In Funeral Homes

For centuries families have joined together for ceremonies and rituals to help them make meaning of their loss. Funeral professionals are all too familiar with leading these types of remembrance services, as well as the rising trend of personalization. By offering a variety of choices to families you'll find that in addition to helping them commemorate a loved one, you are inviting a variety of opportunities to connect and build a rapport. Asking open-ended questions during arrangements for instance allows a funeral director to not only get to know more about the deceased, but also to observe the ways in which families interact. More importantly this becomes the ideal setting to transform family conversations into ceremonial creations.
How is Memorializing Different than Personalization?
Although very similar concepts, personalization in the funeral home tends to focus more on how the deceased is represented. I'm sure you've found that involving family members or friends in this process creates a sense of unity and ensures that the personality of the deceased is kept alive. Memorializing goes above and beyond personalization. The act of memorializing pays tribute to a person's life and gives loved ones and friends the opportunity to recall memories. Funeral professionals who offer suggestions and facilitate such conversations can actually help family and friends capture even more memories. Recalling memories helps to build stories about the deceased, therefore the likelihood of preserving memories increases as more stories are generated.
Helping someone say goodbye to a loved one is an important service provided by funeral professionals and the cornerstone to any funeral home business. The care, compassion and empathy you exude at such a delicate time in a person's life, is not likely to be forgotten. Now-a-days, most people are familiar with photo boards, familiar music and small mementos that honor the life of someone when they enter the funeral home. Taking the leap from personalization to memorialization is not complicated, it simply involves providing tools, suggestions and handouts to show family, friends and the community-at-large that you are thinking of them and that you recognize that everyone's life is special.
Helping Families Memorialize
During a wake, why not have small pieces of cardstock just the right size for people to write down their favorite memories of the person who died? Having discussed this idea with family or friends during arrangements, you may want to walk around during calling hours with some cards and pens in a small basket encouraging others to share memories. These memories, funny stories or special recollections can be gathered at the end of the services and either given to family or friends in a special box or displayed in an album. If you don't feel comfortable walking around encouraging participation, you may want to check to see if the family would like a child or someone else to do the honors.
Of course there are many variations to this type of activity. You could have a box or basket of cards with directions displayed near the guest book on a separate table or you could have the directions with a poem or special phrase or prayer printed on the back of the cards and hand them out with a pen (imprinted with your name/logo) to people as they walk in. Encourage visitors to hand in their memories before they leave and to take the pen home with them as a gift.
This memorialization technique can be modified even further for children visiting your funeral home, however, try and buy larger cardstock pieces (found in the scrapbooking section of most arts/crafts supply stores) since children tend to need more room to write and draw pictures. Another suggestion for children: pre-cut shapes out of construction paper, such as butterflies, hearts or flowers. Children can then write, dictate or draw their favorite memories on these cut-outs to have as keepsakes, place in the casket or share with others.
Giving families the tools to help their children memorialize a loved one is truly priceless. Whether you are providing children with an all-inclusive grief-related coping kit or just a pencil and a paper, you are providing them with an opportunity to create lasting keepsakes in the memory of their loved one. This is so important especially for families with young children, since sadly, the average young child will forget precious memories as early as a few months following their loss.
Families with children of all ages may be interested in a special children's service to help memorialize a loved one. Together they can choose songs or readings that pay tribute to their loved one. Children may also want to write a story, poem or song that can be read or sung aloud. They may also want to perform a little skit or play that highlights the personality of the deceased or favorite memories. Creating a goodbye poster is also a nice way to involve children in the memorialization process. Encourage families to use poster-board or long butcher paper, words/pictures from magazines, copies of photographs and a variety of arts/crafts materials such as ribbon, paint and stickers. It is always interesting to see a tribute to the deceased through the eyes of a child. Encourage a family to bring in their poster so that you may display it for visitors entering your funeral home.
The possibilities are endless, but you don't necessarily have to stretch your imagination to help adults and children memorialize a loved one. Many funeral directors ask certain questions to illicit conversations about memories during arrangements. You may already ask these types of questions to get to know a family better or as a first step for personalization. Try encouraging family and friends to share stories with you about the person who died. By connecting some of this information, you are well on your well to helping a family memorialize a loved one.
Suppose during arrangements someone mentions to you that their loved one enjoyed cooking. Why not offer to print a favorite recipe in the memory of the deceased? If food is allowed at your funeral home, why not offer a copy of the recipe and a sample of the dish itself? There are so many variations to this memorialization technique. Explore ideas with families and friends and you may be surprised at what they come up with!
Candles are another way to help connect stories and help people memorialize. Since there are now virtually hundreds of scents to choose from, a family can most definitely find a scent that reminds them of their loved one. Whether it is the scent that reminds them of grandma's banana bread, the scent of autumn leaves that is reminiscent of dad hunting in the woods or the smell of pumpkin that reminds a family of a child's favorite holiday, Halloween, ideas are plentiful. You may even want give visitors a special votive candle with a sticker placed on the back with your name and logo and a special inscription in memory of the deceased. It goes without saying that these special give-a-ways not only provide lasting memories, but they also provide a subtle marketing opportunity as well.
Many funeral homes offer journals, albums or family tree memorabilia which become lasting memories and family heirlooms. Other funeral homes offer coping kits, pre-printed coloring pages or coloring books to children. Memorialization doesn't have to be expensive. If you can not afford to give away small gifts like the ones mentioned above you may want to consider offering photographs to the family or friends, handprints, footprints, locks of hair or video taping the ceremony. These items are especially precious for children. Remember, as they grow older, children have a limited ability to recall their involvement in wakes, funerals or memorial services. By providing special opportunities to honor their loved one, you are actually helping to decrease the likelihood of secondary losses associated with loss of memory.
Most likely you will find that a brief conversation about memorialization will spark many creative ideas from family and friends. Over time keep a list of these ideas to add to your repertoire of suggestions and to pass along to others. You may even want to add memorialization as one of the many services offered. Children and adults undoubtedly benefit from a variety of memorialization ideas and activities. It is a gentle way to begin the grief process, especially if someone was not able to say goodbye to their loved one before he/she died. I'm sure you will agree, as the needs of families become more diverse, so should our range of products and services. By supporting those left behind and encouraging conversations about memorializing you not only enhance communication amongst family and friends you also provide an avenue to help them share memories and create lasting keepsakes.
Below are some additional suggestions for memorializing you may want to pass along;
o Create a storybook, memory book or memory box about your loved one who has died. Write down important things that you would like to remember about the person who died. Interview family members and friends to find out about their favorite memories and more information.
o Write a message to the deceased. Each night light a candle and remember your loved one while placing your message in a special box.
o Create a special memorial area in your home or display items in a shadow-box frame. Include some favorite things or special mementos from the time you spent together.
o Carry a lock of hair or portion of a loved ones cremated remains in tiny container or locket.
o Provide a dedication at your loved one's favorite place with a specially engraved bench or stone or some other type of marker. Celebrate your loved one's life by visiting or having a picnic at this special place.
o Encourage children to draw pictures or write stories inspired by their memories of the deceased.
o Make a donation to a charity or create a scholarship in the name of the person who died.
o Plant a tree, shrub or flowers as a living symbol to honor the life of the deceased.
o Make a collage about the deceased using magazines, photos, stickers, etc. Frame portions of goodbye posters or photo boards used during funeral services.

Article Source:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Funeral Directors And The Grieving Process

Grief can be experienced after numerous events - the end of a relationship, the loss of a job or even a geographical relocation when friends and family must be left behind. Of course, the most significant cause of grief is the death of a loved one. Like many emotional reactions to major life events, grieving is an individual process that each person works through in their own way. Funeral directors can provide helpful funeral products and services during a client family's time of grief which aid in the process.
There are five stages of grief that most people tend to go through, although, as stated above, grief is a very personal experience and some people may not go through every stage. Timing spent on each stage, intensity of emotions and the depth of the relationship will all impact the grieving process.
The first stage is denial. Rejecting the truth and instead insisting to oneself of even others that the death has not occurred is a typical reaction during denial.
Anger typically follows denial in the grieving process. Survivors can feel angry at God, at physicians, at other survivors, at themselves, or even at the deceased. As anger is diffused, it yields to the next stage, bargaining. This describes the irrational action of trying to "make a deal" with God, doctors, etc. and most often entails promises to change behavior to get the deceased back, or to substitute the survivor's life for their loved one who has died.
Funeral professionals are able to help the bereaved during these first two stages simply by holding a funeral service for their client family. If a loved one has died and it is impossible for a family or friend to attend in person, a funeral director can offer funeral webcasting. A webcast enables others to attend the funeral online to see and hear family members, the service and the deceased which can provide a unique way for closure to those in mourning.
The final two stages of grief are depression and finally acceptance. The death has become a reality and that realization can be a harsh truth. During this stage it is particularly important that the bereaved surround themself with a supportive network of people who have been through something similar or who are grieving the same person.
Funeral keepsakes can also provide support to client families during these stages of the grieving process. Keepsakes can be created in forms of personalized funeral candles and holiday remembrance ornaments, DVD tribute videos, prayer cards - the list of unique keepsakes is endless. Creating a personalized keepsake for family and friends to cherish and to memorialize their loved one can be helpful in the final stages of grief. While the sadness over the loss of a person will never completely disappear, a keepsake helps them reflect, remember and celebrate their loved ones life as the death is at long last accepted.

Article Source:

Friday, April 3, 2015

LifeGem Diamonds

A LifeGem is a certified high quality diamond created from the carbon of a loved one as a memorial to their unique life.