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Making End of Life Decisions

It is not an easy thing to do, funeral arrangements. Who wants to start a day like that, talking about being put in the ground, or fire if cremation is chosen? There are many fine articles to read to give families insight, and how to plan ahead. http://www.burialitems.com/resources.html and also what people want for those last months, can be found at http://www.hopkinscancercenter.org/programs/palcare.cfm and http://www.widerhorizons.org/

However, planning for a funeral is much easier if you do it now, when death is an abstraction. Because, as in all money matters, failure to plan means more anxiety and a lot higher costs.   There are several issues - is death expected soon? Then to die with dignity and as much comfort as possible, with plans in place should be -- would be, the best way. First in mind should also be a thought as to heaven and hell, please make that decision if you have not already. http://www.branchministry.net/bibleteachings/savedpauls.htm  Find your true home in Heaven How to get saved http://www.godssimpleplan.org/gsps-english.html

               We have the right to set forth our end of life decisions in a living will. If we do not, someone else may make those decisions for us in ways we would never have chosen. Since our culture looks at death as something to be avoided at all costs, families of the sick are often under significant pressure from the medical community to approve medical procedures that treat part and ignore the whole.
               Preparing a living will sets forth our sentiments regarding treatments we desire or reject takes a lot of pressure off our loved ones. A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, which names a proxy to make decisions for unanticipated situations  is also needed. All kinds of emotions and unresolved family issues can support a family's denying the approach of death.  There is much we can not control in life, but we are starting to recognize individual rights to determine their preferences for medical treatments when they are unable to speak for themselves.   To not utilize that right is to give away one's power.  Without a living will, one's dying process could be prolonged for  years while one suffers in an extremely compromised state.
Here is a great site that details what needs to be done with the Advanced directives or Living Will. http://www.medicinenet.com/advance_medical_directives/article.htm

               there are many choices, learn your rights Death is a sacred experience and should be treated as such. After those considerations above have been taken care of, there are other
Order of Events" that need to be, and should be, reduced to paper for funeral arrangement plans.

  1. * The first thing asked of the survivor, whether when a loved one is deathly ill at a hospital or nursing home is,
    "Who do you want us to call for a funeral director -- when the death occurs?"
    there are many choices, learn your rights This forces people to accept the fact that some plans must be made. It is of course, so the body will not be laying out for some time after a death, and so calls can be made to pick up the body. A name and phone number of a mortician should be given, only after much research. Did you get a General Price List (GPL) from them prior to this choice? Did you "shop" services and prices with at least two or three funeral homes? There is a huge difference in prices for much the same/same service. (Please see our other page on prepaying FAQ funeral planning which is not the best thing to do, in many cases. PRE PLAN> YES PRE PAY< NO) This name given can always be changed at a later date, but research prior to giving the company name is a far better choice. Seeing a GPL for your shopping allows you to know ahead of time what the fees are at the firm you are considering. The basic service fee is something you can't cross off (in the neighborhood of $600.00 to $995.00 are best and common prices, if higher than that, look around!), But many other fees you can and order or bring your own product from outside sources!
  2. * After the pick up of the loved one, the mortician will call back to let you know that this has been done, but MOSTLY (if this has not been covered already)  there are many choices, learn your rights to ASK --
    "Did you want embalming done to your loved one?

    Most people have not given this any thought, and don't really want to think about choices when all they want to do is grieve. So, without asking too many questions about if it is needed or what it costs, the answer is often "Yes." HOLD ON! Read one of many sources that detail facts about embalming interview series on history of embalming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qrdhnGbK49w and if indeed it is much of any use. Charges for that service are often near $700.00 -900.00 and more, once you add other preparation, etc., etc. It is NOT needed for immediate funerals or services with a closed casket. ASK questions or have the full amount of information prior to making choices like these. Don't be caught off guard and with an open wallet. By learning what questions to expect, what is the answer you really want, your choices are in your control. You should be given this question NOT on the telephone, but in person, when you are given the GPL and a chance to go over all prices and service options. And NO MATTER WHAT, this authorization should be in writing - and if , as in the case of the undertaker telling one family that they would need to make up their minds, and have embalming or cremation done NOW -- tell him to back up what he (she) is saying in writing! The FTC has funeral rules to cover this subject in detail. The funeral parlor has in most cases, a cold storage unit, making time for decisions. If that funeral parlor does not have one, just find someone to do business with - who does. This decision does NOT need to be hurried, at any rate -- if you know what to ask for and how to demand what you are told, to be reduced to writing. The other poor family was told she needed to make a decision right now, over the phone, after the deceased had been in a refrigerated unit for 2 days, "If embalming is not done, the body will start stinking." THIS was not only downright LIE - unprofessional, crude but also cruel. A refrigeration unit is kept below 40 degrees, and in fact, embalming was not needed, nor was the choice to do so - urgent. The woman was waiting for a report from a hospital as to the cause of her husband's death, the undertaker was trying to force a choice for more money because he knew of this. Never was she given the choice to pay for the days needed at an extra fee. In fact though, the wife chose cremation then and there instead. Not knowing if she would be sorry if the hospital needed a re-test, but knowing that she didn't have the money the embalmer wanted her to spend. She did report the man to the FTC!
  3. * Then you have gone through the details of open or closed casket, cremation or above or below burial. A few other considerations you may not think of, or be told about TAPS at a vet funeral
    -- a memorial where the casket is not present.

    A service at a church or other building, where your good-bye party can be a fond memory of the person's life - held after the burial, weeks or months later. This is getting more common as morticians try to keep their profit for a service high, no matter what the family does to lower the costs. Often now, the fee to the undertaker is the same for the service at the funeral home, or for the service at a church -- if that is the case and you want the casket there, find another mortician! Get what you want, how you want it, just by knowing what to ask or who to hire. You do not need a local funeral director at all, shop around 50 miles outside your area.
  4. * Are you going to have an in-ground burial?
    cemetery burials, the most common and oldest way Not only is the casket a large expense (of product) but often so is a grave liner or more commonly known as a Vault. They come in many price ranges, styles and forms. Know when you are purchasing this item, does the extra high priced units protect the remains for longer or better than the others? Ask to see it in writing, for remember, if it is not in writing, it is not true or does not have back up to support those claims. Again, getting your product from outside sources is the most economical move -- as often it is the very same make, model or manufacture -- just at a huge savings! When comparing prices, remember to ask "How many pieces are there in this vault?" "Does the fee include delivery and installation?" Just recently there was an incident at a funeral director's office where the customer was told that the price on their grave liner was the same as a casket retailer - then when the customer looked further, and asked, "What is this delivery charge of $150.00?" He was told, well, that is extra - so indeed, the prices were not the same.

You will have many choices and gather much information in your quest to nail down your needs.
But unfortunately, only if you pre-plan and learn about this subject.
If you wait, the choices are sometimes made for you, and the costs soar.
AND you should always ask for details of anything suspect or money matters, reduced to paper.

There are many other considerations you should consider ahead of time -- such as:
  • What happens after a death occurs? What information do I need to gather for the death certificate? Where should I keep this information? Who should have it, and who should be in charge of making calls? Is the call list complete with all names and numbers needed for family and friends? Is the list of all my creditors and payables, bank accounts, savings, bonds, etc. complete with all names and phone numbers as well? Where and what life insurance polices were in force? Do you qualify for any Vet benefits? Do you have an obit already typed out, as to what you want it to say in part? What types of services are available? To what extent can I preplan a funeral? What does a funeral cost? How can I prefund a funeral? (What is a "death =payable upon demand" account at your local bank (?), where YOU pocket the interest) What should be done about the cemetery? Is anything paid in full concerning the opening fees?
  • Booklet form of the things needed for pre planning those funeral arrangements, to do upon a death. And it is in a format that allows the family to fill in the blanks, so a record of the "funeralwishes" are reduced on paper, free five page download
    This is a great source to take care of it all, YOUR Funeral Wishes (overseas tho, but basic the same) http://www.funeralinspirations.co.uk/information/resources/FUNERAL-PRE-ARRANGEMENT-DETAILS.pdf or call at 800-595-1313
  • Other sites worth noting below.

    http://www.after-death.com/ Hello from Heaven -- An After-Death Communication (ADC) is a spiritual experience which occurs when you are contacted directly and spontaneously by a deceased family member or friend, without the use of psychics, mediums, rituals, or devices. ADCs offer dramatic new evidence of life after death.

    Grief support after the death of a child

    The Compassionate Friends, started in 1969 by an Episcopal chaplain, Simon Stephens, now exists in 25 countries and has almost 600 chapters in the United States, where it is the fastest-growing self-help organization. In Pennsylvania, 42 chapters offer support to bereaved parents and siblings. The Compassionate Friends may be contacted through a national toll-free line (877-969-0010) or their Web site ( above). They bring light to darkness.

    I measure every grief I meet
    With narrow probing eyes-
    I wonder if it weighs like mine-
    Or has an easier size.
    Emily Dickinson
    This is a 20 question quiz offered by our sponsor,. 
    A Team Master's Casket store so you can learn more and test your death and funeral industry I.Q!
    Finding it at their site www.burialitems.com/


    Can't take it with you-- An eccentric millionaire had always been told that you can not take it with you, but he was determined to try. On his deathbed, he summoned his priest, his attorney, and his CPA. He told them he intended to take his fortune with him. He gave each of them an envelope containing a million dollars, instructing them to toss their envelopes into his coffin just before it was sealed, and charging them each to hold the others accountable for carrying out his instructions. The old millionaire died, and the priest, attorney and CPA each performed as they had been requested. Later, the three met for lunch. The priest was obviously troubled and finally unburdened himself to the other two. He confessed to removing $20,000 from his envelope for a new organ for his church. The attorney, with a look of relief then admitted that he had removed $50,000 to pay for a much needed operation for his loyal secretary. They both looked at the CPA expecting a similar revelation. Instead, with a look of shock, the CPA exclaimed, "I am surprised at the two of you betraying your professional trust in such a manner. I will have you know that enclosed in my envelope was my personal check for the entire $1,000,000."