3 Tips For Paying For A Funeral

Dealing with the loss of someone you love one can be a very emotional time. If there weren’t any arrangements for their funeral made prior to them passing away, such as a small life insurance policy or money set aside, someone will need to pay the bills related to the funeral. With the typical funeral costing as low as $7,000, you may not have the money on hand to pay for it. These tips can help you understand how to finance a funeral or lower the costs.  

Look Into Funeral Aid Programs

It’s possible that your state has financial aid programs that are designed to help people with low-incomes pay for a loved one’s funeral costs. A few examples include:

  • Colorado – Offers $1,500 for people on Medicaid
  • Washington DC – Offers $800 for a burial, $450 for cremation
  • Indiana – Offers $600 for funeral costs, $400 for cemetery costs
  • Vermont – Offers $1,100

Each state and county may have their own aid programs that have restrictions. For instance, to receive aid you may have limits on how expensive a funeral is or how much money a family contributes to the total costs.

Ask About a Payment Plan

A funeral home may allow you to have a payment plan to help cover all of the costs related to a funeral. Keep in mind that it still may require a deposit to cover a portion of the bill up front. A funeral home also may not allow a payment plan at all. Make sure you discuss this at the beginning of the inquiry process if you need to have a payment plan to help finance it.

Reduce Funeral Related Costs When Possible

You should never go into debt when paying for a funeral cost, so try to keep costs low whenever possible. Remember that you are honoring the life of somebody that passed away, and you do not need to make a funeral expensive or overly elaborate to do so.

One way to save money is to not have an open casket funeral. This will help you save on the costs involved with preparing the body. Having a closed casket funeral may be beneficial in some ways, because you will not have to worry about someone you love looking a different than expected at the viewing.

Consider having a short visitation time as well. While it is common to have a viewing be all day at a funeral home, you may find that a shorter viewing time is beneficial. It will help ensure that everyone shows up at the same time, so everyone will be sure to see each other.

For more tips on saving money on a funeral, speak with a funeral home director (such as Fletcher Funeral Home PA).

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Creative Alternatives To Flowers For Cremation Services

Cremation services are like funerals and memorial services in many ways. You also have a lot more freedom with them, though. They can be performed right after a loved one has passed away or months or even years after someone’s passing. Whatever you decide to do regarding the cremation services for your loved one, flowers may not be the best way to honor the deceased person. If you don’t want people to bring or send flowers to a loved one’s cremation services, consider requesting these creative alternatives.

Gift to Honor the Loved One’s Collection

If the deceased person had a collection that they loved building, you may request that mourners bring along something to go with that collection that your loved one would have enjoyed. For example, if someone enjoyed collecting trading cards, you may request others to put with the existing collection. If the person loved clocks, having everyone bring along a unique clock may be a fun way to add a bit of their passion and personality to the service.

Funding a Project

If your lost loved one was passionate about volunteering for a particular charity project, you may request that mourners make a donation to the completion of a specific project. This will likely feel more personal to those who attend the cremation services than merely asking for donations to charity. When you try to get a specific project funded, you are able to report on the results to those who gave, and you may even be able to name the project after the deceased. It can be healing for those who are grieving to know that good works continue to be done in memory of the one they’ve lost.

Glee Gift

If the deceased person did not leave behind great debts or a family who is in need, one of the best ways to remember their life may be to ask mourners to do something that makes them happy in honor of the lost loved one. Whether it’s dancing or giving hugs or volunteering, ask each person who attends the cremation service to do something that makes them happy, then write a one-paragraph note about what they did to read at the services. Then everyone can read their stories at the service, revealing a tapestry of joy that has been created in memory of the one who has passed away.

Finally, keep in mind that the people who are closest to a deceased person should ultimately make the call regarding whether flowers are appropriate for the cremation service. If you don’t want them at your loved one’s service, you are not obligated to have them. Simply spread the word about your preferred alternative to flowers in social media posts, obituaries, and notices on your loved one’s death.

For more ideas and information, it may be a good idea to talk with a funeral home, such as McComb & Wagner Crematory.

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How To Arrange An Inexpensive Memorial For An Environmentally Conscious Individual

An unexpected death can cause a lot of anxiety for those who don’t have the money for a funeral. The average cost of a funeral in 2016 is around $8,000 – $10,000 dollars. Having to cover the costs of a funeral can be devastating for a large portion of our population when you consider nearly a quarter of Americans do not have enough savings to cover an emergency expenditure of $100 or less. Fortunately, there are ways to lower the costs of a funeral significantly if you are willing to forego the traditional setup of a wake, church service, and burial. Here is how you can arrange an inexpensive memorial that honors the memory of an environmentally conscious loved one.

Choose Cremation

The average cost of a cremation in the United States starts at $600 and, if you know that the deceased wouldn’t object to their remains being cremated, it is a viable option you can use to save money on the cost of the funeral without appearing like you are scrimping to save a few dollars – even if you are. The remains can be given to you after cremation in many communities in a plastic bag lined cardboard box instead of an expensive urn.

Memorial Tree Urn

The use of memorial tree urns is growing in the United States as environmentally-conscious people look for alternative ways to dispose of their remains with having an adverse effect on the environment. A traditional burial usually includes a body that has been embalmed with a toxic combination of formaldehyde, methanol, and other types of solvents. The chemicals are used to preserve the body during the wake and funeral service, but the chemicals are also environmentally dangerous. The use of immediate cremation and a memorial tree urn avoids putting embalming chemicals in the body of your loved one.

The ashes can be planted in a memorial tree urn and planted in a public park. A memorial tree urn helps the nutrients from the ashes of your loved one to get absorbed into a tree as it grows. You should contact your local parks department to find out about costs. Some parks department let you do it for the cost of the tree and planting, and others may not charge anything at all. In places that charge for planting a memorial tree, you should expect to pay upward of a few hundred dollars.

Memorial Plaque

Instead of a grave marker, you can put a memorial plaque right by the tree to help people remember your loved one and pay their respects. A memorial plaque usually can cost a couple hundred dollars or more, but it is still less expensive than a large gravestone. 

Honoring a loved one in death who was environmentally conscious can be done is a meaningful way on a limited budget. Contact local funeral services for more help.

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Pay Your Respects: Clever Ways To Memorialize Loved Ones At Their Resting Place

If you want to do something special to pay tribute to someone who has passed, flowers may not be the most appropriate memorial. Think of something that has an underlying significance and meaning for the deceased person, and that will last longer than cut flowers. There are some intriguing alternatives that might be better ways to commemorate a loved one’s life.

Some ways to pay tribute at someone’s gravesite include:

Build a cairn.

In Scottish culture, people create towers from stones called cairns to point out something important, give directions, or memorialize something lost. These typically are made with smooth river stones or beach rocks and are wider at the base than at the top to help with stabilization. Create your own cairn on the gravesite of someone dear to you, and see how long it lasts without toppling over due to wind or weather.

Leave some coins.

If you ever walk through a cemetery, you may notice that some headstones have coins left on them. This has varying significance, including historical beliefs that the coins pay the fee for the spirit to move on and be freed from roaming the earth. Another reason relates to military graves; different coins symbolize different relationships between the person leaving the coin and the deceased:

A penny represents that the person leaving it behind on the headstone was familiar with the person buried there.

A nickel signifies that the person trained or was in military boot camp with the deceased soldier.

Members of the same company, squadron, or troupe may leave a dime on the grave.

Leaving a quarter behind indicates that the person placing the coin was with the deceased soldier when they passed.

Plant something significant.

Take time to plant something special at the grave of your loved one. There are many plants and flowers that have underlying meanings which bring some significance to your memorial for the deceased. Plant a pot of the following flora to fondly commemorate the person that has passed:

Jasmine represents heaven and the afterlife.

Daffodils symbolize beauty.

Red carnations signify eternal love and never-ending beauty.

Daisies symbolize youth.

Grapes represent Christianity and a belief in Christ.

Do something different to memorialize the life of a loved one. Try one of these ideas to not only commemorate the life lived, but also to show some respect and significance for the deceased. Be sure that you are aware of the guidelines and regulations of the cemetery before planting or leaving items behind on any site.

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Three Ways To Help Your Family With Costs After You Die

If you’re trying to create a funeral plan so that your family will know what to do after you die, don’t forget to take costs into account. Many people plan for their funerals and give their families instructions, but that still leave the family on the hook for the costs of the funeral, death certificates, and more — not to mention house payments and other costs that you are handling now. That can make your funeral plans moot if you asked for more than your family can afford to pay at the time you die. Here are three ways in which you can make sure your family doesn’t suffer financially while dealing with your death.

Pre-Pay Your Funeral Expenses

When you meet with mortuary and funeral home directors, you’ll not only be able to choose your service type and so on, but you’ll be able to pay for a lot of it right then. Believe it or not, not everyone takes advantage of this, and that can have two very depressing effects. One is that your family might have to wait to bury you if they can’t come up with the money at the time you die. Even if your family is quite well-off now, their situation could change over time for the worse, leaving them unable to pay when they need to.

The other effect is that costs can go up. If you pre-pay now, your family will not have to deal with the increased costs later on. Some costs are known to go up, like religious-officiator fees, and those you might not be able to pre-pay. But you will be able to pre-pay most of it, leaving your family with a very low bill.

Get Life Insurance

Life insurance policies aren’t going to pay out immediately once you die; your family will have to send in your death certificate and other company paperwork. But once they do that, the money is released, and that can help your family with costs related to your home, or even to your funeral if you neglected to pre-pay most expenses.

You don’t need a huge life insurance policy that requires a giant medical exam. If you belong to an auto association-type club, you may be able to get a special policy through them, or your bank or credit union may offer something.

Make Your Accounts Payable Upon Death

This is a subtle change that not everyone knows about. Specifically designate your bank accounts as payable upon death. This means that if the person named as the beneficiary on your account comes in with your death certificate, the bank can pay out the amount of money in the account right then. Normally, banks want a beneficiary listed anyway, but specifically making the account payable upon death eliminates possible delays. Each bank is different, but many times, creating a payable-upon-death account is as simple as signing a form.

If you want other advice on ensuring your family doesn’t end up dealing with financial pain after your death, talk to the funeral director who is helping you plan your funeral, along with an estate attorney. The more you do now, the easier things will be in the future. To learn more, speak with someone like Danks-Hinski Funeral Home.

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How To Find The Right Funeral Home For Your Pre-Planning Needs

You’ve decided that it’s time to create a funeral pre-plan so your family won’t have to deal with difficult decisions after you’ve passed away. One key element of your plan is which funeral home to use. You want a facility that you know will take good care of your family when you’re gone. Here are a few considerations when researching the funeral homes in your community.

Get to Know the Staff and Management

Talk with the funeral directors in each facility that you are interested in. Ask about their management style and approach to customer service. You want to get a sense that they will be there when your family needs help with your final arrangements.

Speak with some of the staff as well. Look for a funeral home where the staff enjoy their work and have a good attitude about working with grieving people. Staff that can come up with creative solutions to problems your family may have are more helpful than those who can only recommend other products or services for purchase.

Access to Grief Counseling

Every funeral home will offer some form of grief counseling. Ask about all of their services and how your family may access them if needed. Some of the approaches funeral homes may take regarding grief counseling include:

  • They may have trained grief counselors on their staff. These people will hold grief support groups and offer individual counseling sessions. Some facilities may have counselors trained to work in special areas, such as with children.
  • Some facilities contract out the grief counseling to local specialists. Find out where your family would have to go to see these contract counselors to determine if it would be an inconvenience for your family.
  • Other funeral homes may refer your family to local resources, such as community support groups, non-profit groups and religious organizations.

Cemetery Use

Some funeral homes maintain a cemetery to which you may have access. Ask about the regulations under which the facility is run to determine if they will be too restrictive for your needs and for your family to work with. These regulations cover such items as:

  • the allowable materials, size and shape for head stones
  • who must prepare the grave site and install the head stone
  • what type of maintenance of the grave site is done by the facility
  • what responsibilities your family has in maintaining the site

Administrative Assistance

Some funeral homes offer clerical support for putting together and submitting claims for insurance and military benefits. These can be complicated, so you want to make sure your family submits the right materials the first time. Getting help from the funeral home to do these tasks will take some stress off of your family.

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Things To Know About Cremation

There are many people in the world that do not want to have an open casket funeral. In fact cremation services are becoming more and more popular. There are many misconceptions about cremation services. This article will outline four things that everyone thinking about cremation should know.

Funeral Services 

There is a common misconception that being cremated takes the place of a funeral. This is not the case in the least bit. Most of the time cremation occurs after a traditional funeral is held. So if a person wants to be cremated, but has always wanted a funeral they can have both. There is of course the option to be cremated right away, and in that case there would be no funeral. 

Handling The Remains

There is a wide variety of different things that a person can choose to have done with the ashes. The most common choices are that of being buried or kept in a urn. Although these are the most traditional methods of handling the remains there are multiple other options for handling the remains. A person can also have the remains scattered over a particular location. This option may take additional preparation depending on where the remains are to be scattered. A person may also choose to have their remains incorporated in jewelry, fireworks, or shot into space. 

Planning a Cremation

Most of the time a funeral home can help coordinate a cremation. This is especially true if there is to be a traditional funeral service before the cremation. There are also laws that vary from state to state on who can coordinate a cremation. Some states mandate a funeral director coordinate the cremation service. The best way to learn about the laws in your state are to call the crematory directly. They will be able to tell you the state laws in your area, and help you get the cremation planned. 

Cremation Products

There are certain products that you will need to be sure to purchase when getting ready for a cremation. If a traditional funeral is still on the agenda, be sure to purchase a casket. If the remains are to be put in a urn than the urn needs to be purchased. One of the most overlooked products for a cremation is a spot to bury the remains, and a lining for the casket. There will be rules and regulations set up by the cemetery that must be met. Talk to the cemetery manager to ensure regulations will be followed. 

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The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cremation

When someone close to you passes away, you may be the one that has to make a decision about how their remains will be handled. If the deceased did not have an opinion about being buried or cremated, you may be wondering which will be the best option. The rate that cremation is used in the US is 45.3% according to data as recent as 2013, so the process may not be as uncommon as you think it is. Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of using cremation.


You Have Several Options For A Memorial

When you cremate the body, you will have multiple options for what you can do as a memorial for your loved one. Ashes can be buried or put into a mausoleum. You can spread ashes across a specific place that had meaning to them. Some people make jewelry with the ashes, or even use them for planting a tree. If they loved to travel, ashes can be spread in different places they liked to visit.

Cremation Is Considered Eco-friendly

Many people oppose a burial because they do not feel that it is environmentally friendly. This is because the casket is put underground, which can contain metal, plastic, and other materials that do not decompose well once they are buried. Some caskets are even wrapped in plastic before they are buried. Cremation makes the environmental footprint for the body much smaller, which makes a person feel good about their impact on the earth after they pass away.


You Won’t Have Alternative Options

When a body is buried, you can always have a body exhumed later to make different arrangements. For example, the body can be moved to a family burial plot, or even cremated later. Once a body is cremated though, you cannot go back on your decision. This may cause you to not decide on cremation if you aren’t 100% sure of what to do.

Cremation Can Cause Family Disputes

Burials can be a traditional process, with a viewing of the body and a burial. Cremations are quite different, with there often being options of what can be done with the ashes. This can be a point of disagreement between other family members, since the decision of what is done with the ashes is often out of their control. There may also be family members that don’t want cremation because they want to see the body one last time.

For more information about cremation, contract a local funeral home like Romero Family Funeral Home Corp. with your questions or concerns. 

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How To Make A Cement Grave-Marker

One way to save costs on the funeral and burial of a loved one when money is tight is to make a grave marker instead of buying one. A person with general carpentry skills can make a grave marker in a garage or basement. If you are strapped for cash, but still want your loved one to have a nice marker over their grave, here is how you can make one to mark their final resting place.

You Will Need:

  • 2″ x 4″ Pieces of Wood
  • Cement
  • Press-In Letters and Numbers
  • Carpenter’s Square
  • Hammer
  • Yard Stick
  • Nails
  • Trowel
  • Five-Gallon Plastic Pail
  • Water
  • Drop Cloth

Cemetery Regulations

You should check with the cemetery to find out what kind of regulations they have concerning the size and style of the grave markers. If you make a grave marker that doesn’t conform to the cemetery’s regulations, you may not be able to place the marker you make over the grave site.

Build Frame

Cut the pieces of 2″ x 4″ pieces of wood to the length you need to form the frame. Use a carpenter’s square to make sure the frame is perfectly squared at the corners. Nail the pieces wood together to form the frame.

Place the frame on top of a plastic drop cloth so the cement won’t adhere to the garage or basement floor once it dries. This will also help to make cleaning up afterwards easier.

Measure out on the frame where you are going to put each line for the name of the deceased, the dates of birth and death, and whatever other message you want to put on the grave marker. Place a mark on both sides of the frame to match your measurements – this will help to keep what you are writing level and even across the marker.

Lay Out Letters and Numbers

Lay out the press-in numbers on the floor above the frame in the order you want them. Take special care to make sure the name and dates are done correctly.

This will help in two ways: you’ll be able to make sure all the letters and numbers will fit properly in the frame, and you’ll be able to make any changes before you start pressing the letters and numbers into the cement.

Pour Cement

Mix the cement and water in a five-gallon plastic pail. Don’t use quick drying cement. You’ll need time to properly apply the press-in numbers and letters, and quick drying cement could set before you can do this correctly.

Pour the cement in the frame and smooth with a trowel.

Add Letters and Numbers

Place a yard stick across the frame at the spots you’ve marked on the side of the frame where the name will be placed. Take one press-in letter at a time and push it down into the cement to form the letter you want in the cement, and then remove the press-in letter.

Move the yard stick down to the next markings on the frame and press in the letters and/or numbers you want for that line on the grave marker. Keep on repeating this until you have everything written on the grave marker that you had planned.

Allow Cement to Set

Remove the frame after a couple of days. You can sand down the edges of the marker at this time if you want rounded edges. You can also sand the face of the marker to make sure you have a smooth finish.

After a week or so, the cement will be hard enough so you can pick it up without worry and take it to the grave site to install it over the final resting place of your loved one.

For more information, talk to a professional like An Thiel Monuments

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Answering Tough Questions Concerning Cremation As A Second Choice

When a loved one leaves life unexpectedly, you may want to give them a glorious funeral and lavish burial to show your respects. However, with the costs of a traditional funeral and burial coming in at more than $7,000 on average, the traditional methods you want may not be the most financially feasible. In these cases, cremation is always an attractive second choice because the bill can be thousands of dollars cheaper and much more affordable. However, not everyone wants to be cremated, and if you are in charge of making decisions for a passed loved one, it can bring about some rather tough questions.

What should you do if you are unsure if cremation would be something your loved one would have wanted?

When someone close to you passes away without a plan in place, it can leave you trying to guess what they would have wanted, which can be tough. The best way to find out about how they felt about cremation is to ask the closest living friends if the topic was ever mentioned. You should also take into consideration the religious beliefs of your loved one, as some do not agree with cremation. For example, people of the Jewish faith are usually not accepting of cremation as an end-of-life option.

What are your other options if cremation proves to be out of the question?

In some cases, your final conclusion will be that there is no way you can have your loved one cremated, due to whatever reasons, without feeling you are making a bad choice. If this is your situation, talk openly to the funeral home director about your dilemma. You may be able to find help paying for a traditional burial. For example, you may be able to set up a crowdfunding page to raise funds and put off the actual burial until a bit later. The funeral home director can also help you find ways to cut costs, such as opting out of embalming, which alone can save you as much as $1,290.

It is never easy to be left with big decisions about cremation and funeral arrangements after someone passes away, but this is all too often the case for many people. If you are struggling with decisions about whether your loved one should be cremated, be sure to talk openly with the funeral home director for advice and information to help you out. 

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For my mother's funeral, my sister and I spent a lot of time thinking about flowers for her funeral. We wanted beautiful, colorful flowers that reflected upon her energetic spirit and her love of bright, bold color. However, when we began to plan out her funeral with the funeral director, we were surprised to learn that different types of flowers had different meanings. Based on their meanings, some were appropriate for a funeral, and others were not. We had no idea about this, but I instantly became fascinated with the topic. I created this website to help educate others about the meanings of flowers and which are appropriate for funerals.


May 2016
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