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Useful Funeral Tips and Facts

Author: Glenda Erceg

1. Don't use your will or safety deposit box to hold a description of arrangements you have made for your funeral! Funerals usually take place (including disposal of the body) less then a week after the person dies. The Will does not even get officially read until after the funeral has taken place! By then it is too late. So a Will, in itself, is no guarantee that you will have the funeral that you want.

2. Final expense insurance for burial arrangements does not protect against inflation. It is just an insurance policy designed to deliver a predetermined lump sum.

3. You're possibly thinking, "I wouldn't know what to do". Strangely enough, the first instinct most people have is to call the family doctor, and as it happens, this is the first thing to do if the death occurs at home. The family doctor (or a locum if necessary) will attend and confirm the fact of death, and will later complete a death certificate (and a cremation certificate if required).

4. Many funeral homes require embalming if you're planning a viewing or visitation. But embalming generally is not necessary or legally required if the body is buried or cremated shortly after death. Eliminating this service can save you hundreds of dollars.

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5. There are a couple of reasons why funerals are important. The first is technical - a funeral makes sure that a body is legally buried or cremated. The second reason is that a funeral helps the family come to terms with the death. It is important to remember that a funeral is not for the dead, it is for the living.

6. Scattering the cremated remains after cremation can leave family and friends without a place or manner in which to pay tribute. You can satisfy both your wishes and those of family and friends through permanent memorialization. This gives your family and friends a place to visit, which often helps in the recovery process. Keep in mind that federal, state and local regulations may limit the areas where cremation remains may be scattered.

7. Children should be given the opportunity to attend a funeral, especially that of a close relative. However, they should never be forced to go. It is always helpful to explain what to expect at the funeral before the child is asked to decide if he or she wants to share in the experience. As parents are the best judge of the character of their children, they are usually aware if a child is likely to be 'too sensitive' to attend or is likely to become hysterical.

8. Helping a grieving friend often means that you too will share some of the pain. This takes courage and a special kind of friendship. Your friend may want to talk, cry, share, reminisce or even just sit in silence with you. A good time to visit a bereaved friend is "after the flowers have died", that is after about a week or two. It's also important to maintain regular contact with your friend six to eight weeks after the death.

9. Floral tributes can either be sent to the funeral home or the residence. If sent to the residence, usually a planter or a small vase of flowers indicating a person's continued sympathy for the family is suggested. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute. At the funeral home the cards are removed from the floral tributes and given to the family so they may acknowledge the tributes sent.

10. Extra funeral services may include embalming, other preparation of the body, and transfer of the remains from the place of death to the funeral home in town or to or from a location out of town. Facilities and equipment may include use of the funeral home for a viewing or visitation, funeral ceremony, and use of the hearse and flower car, limousine and other automobiles. Merchandise may include the casket, the vault, or the urn.

Copyright Glenda Erceg.

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