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Founder of https://www.funeralresources.com and http://www.memorialtechnology.com, the funeral industry's leading online resource centers. These family-focused websites offer free access to the top funeral resources to help families find answers to the most common questions. Some of which include how to plan a funeral, memorial technology, funeral home services, end of life, grief and loss, funeral directory, funeral guides, funeral blog, funeral insurance, and more.

Grave Headstone Monuments Tombstone Memorial

Grave Headstone, Tombstones and Monuments Memorial

What to Put on a Grave Headstone, Monuments,

Grave Marker, or Personalized Memorial?

Losing a loved one is hard.  Honoring that loved one after they are gone can be just as hard.  The first step is choosing what to say on the memorial for a grave headstone, grave marker, or any other type of monuments.

What Do You Want to Say About Your Loved One?

You could mention their time served in the military or their relationships to the family.  You could incorporate some of their favorite hobbies or passions.  Over the years we’ve seen a lot of memorable quotes and sayings.

Grave Headstone

Here are just a few that you might use as inspiration:

“An officer and gentleman, he touched the lives of many with a hug, a smile, humor, and a generous spirit. Rest, my dear father, in God’s loving embrace.” ~ Donna Shackelford Jones

“Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you there.” ~ Isla Paschal Richardson

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” ~ Helen Keller

When choosing a saying, you might ask yourself, would your loved one like this and does it reflect their impact on the world?

What are Your Options When Designing a Memorial?

Once the text is chosen, you’ll need to consider the design.  There are numerous options for engraving and designing a custom headstone or marker.  Elements like font size and color greatly impact the design of the memorial.  If you’re working with a custom headstone designer, you’ll want to defer to them for the best font choice.  Your designer will also be able to determine the best layout so everything is easy to read and well balanced.

There are also other options when choosing a custom headstone or memorial.  For instance, do you want to have a vase, religious symbol, or even a picture on the monument?  These questions should be brought up with your funeral director and cemetery coordinator.  To keep track of these answers you might want to download the Cemetery Regulations Checklist, put together by Quiring Monuments.

Remember to keep in mind the purpose of the memorial, whether it’s a grave headstone, grave marker, cremation memorial, or any other type of personalized monuments, it should represent your lost loved one and be a place for the family to remember them fondly.

Funeral and Death Estate Tax Planning

Funeral Estate Tax Planning

Estate and Inheritance Tax Questions to Ask

After Grieving the Death of a Loved One

When suffering from the grief and loss of a loved one, it can be the most painful and stressful time in our life. It’s important to surround our selves with close family or friends as a support system.

The experience is one that can seem like time is standing still because of the grief, but at same the time, it can be quite overwhelming and as if time were flying right past us. When someone we love passes away, there are so many details that need to be considered while grieving. That process in-and-of-itself can be painful. Funeral arrangements, memorial services, obtaining death certificates, and legal matters are all part of the details involved in losing a loved one.

Things like inheritance and estate tax issues don’t need to be addressed immediately. Focusing on our friends and family are obviously more important. But eventually the details will need our attention.

Helpful Considerations When Facing a Loss:

Is Life Insurance Taxable?

While life insurance proceeds are included in the estate, they are not taxable (as income) to beneficiaries. However, you should contact the life insurance company to understand the procedure to cashing in their policy. Typically insurance companies will require a claim form and death certificate. But generally, life insurance is not taxable to inheritors. (Click to learn more about burial insurance and/or funeral insurance)

What is My Inheritance Tax Rate?

Inheritance tax will vary from state-to-state. Typically if the value of the estate that’s being inherited is high in value, your tax rate will be higher as well.

For example, tax preparers in Indianapolis, Indiana will tell you that Indiana’s inheritance tax system breaks the heirs or inheritors into three classes or groups. Systems in Pennsylvania are very different. For Indiana, each group has different rate schedules and exemptions. Here’s how this looks according to the Indiana Department of Revenue:

•  Class A – direct ancestor or descendant, stepchildren, direct descendant of a stepchild: $100,000 exemption.
•  Class B – siblings, descendants of sibling, spouse, widow or widower of your child: $500 exemption
•  Class C – anyone else excluding spouse: $100 exemption

Are Bank Accounts Taxable?

Revenue-producing assets like bank accounts and stacks are not taxable upon inheriting them. However, the income that these assets generate is taxable to the recipient.

What About Pensions and IRA’s

A person inheriting a pension or IRA is required to pay taxes on the amount received, as the decedent (person who is deceased) would have during their life. An IRA or similar fund can be rolled over tax-free into the beneficiary’s name and treat it as their own.

While things like estate and inheritance tax is, by no means, the most important item to address when we suffer the loss of a loved one, it is important to understand what is and is not taxable during these times. Estate and inheritance taxes can be burdensome and stressful, but in some cases, an inheritance is not taxable to you.

Estate lawyers are available to help guide us during times of funeral estate planning, but they can often be costly. Check with your tax preparer or attorney handling the estate as to what you need to know when sorting out inheritance and estate issues.

See Why a Video Tribute Helps Funeral Memorial Services

Tribute Video

Four Reasons to Offer DVD Tribute Videos to Families

 

DVD tribute videos are becoming a popular way to memorialize a loved one who has passed. Client families want to include a video tribute as part of the funeral or memorial services. They also wish to have these memorial tributes created so that they can watch them after the services are over as they work through their grief.

Client families are seeking out companies via the internet or are attempting to create these tribute videos themselves. Often their funeral professional has not made the service available to them. If your funeral home is not currently offering DVD tribute videos, here are four compelling reasons to rethink that choice:

1. Tribute Videos Fill a Need

Tribute videos help a client family tell the story of their loved ones life and relive cherished memories. They allow families to leave a legacy and connect generations by preserving memories and events. More and more client families are tech savvy and have seen tribute videos online or at a funeral service. While many would like to have a DVD tribute video created for their loved one, and may know how to make one themselves, during this stressful time they need someone to take the reins, relieve the burden and offer the service. Providing a world class professional tribute, one that far exceeds the quality of a homemade version, will ingrain you and your funeral home in their lives each and every time they watch the DVD tribute video.

2. Tribute Videos Are Easy to Create

Outsourcing a tribute video can be a nightmare to coordinate and to find a trustworthy company that won’t let you down. Thankfully, in-house funeral software has come a long way. Tribute video software has been developed that allows a funeral professional to create a professional, high quality tribute video in-house in just three simple steps. You simply import the photos, edit the copy, music, top funeral music, and motion effects, and burn the completed video to a DVD. The menu driven application guides you through the entire process. In minutes you’ll have created a stunning tribute video that will amaze the families you serve. Plus, the online tribute player allows you to upload your video to the web and link it to your website. Client families can direct friends and families to your website to view the tribute video.

3. Tribute Video Software Features Cutting Edge Memorial Technology

The quality of a DVD tribute video created in-house by a funeral professional utilizing today’s robust funeral software is unmatched. With the invention of high speed scanning technology, funeral professionals and funeral home services can now scan one photo every two seconds making the creation process a breeze. At the click of a button, innovative tribute video software can also bring life to each photo with motion effects, set transitions, sync funeral music, and create a stunning DVD menu. Every day, thousands of funeral home professionals rely on tribute video funeral software because of the state-of-the art memorial technology it provides and the results it delivers.

4. Tribute Videos Are a Value Added Service

Tribute video software has been designed specifically for the funeral industry.  Because of this, for funeral professionals, creating an in-house tribute video is simple and affordable. Tribute video software available today has no long term contracts, no upfront costs, no equipment to buy and no support fees required. With a simple pay as you go system, you can create an unlimited number of professional quality video tributes in house quickly and easily. The quality is competitive with professional video tribute services, yet costs you and the family a fraction of the price. And, the value added service you are providing is priceless.

Learn More About the Top 6 Memorial Technology Options

This article was contributed by Frazer Consultants.  This company has a solid reputation of developing high performing and reliable technology for the death care industry.

End of Life and Death Donation Options

Consider Funeral and Death Donations

Afterward…

Dividing and Donating Your Loved One’s Estate

A Guest Blogger Shares His Personal Story:

 

When my grandmother passed away, my mother was named as executor of her funeral estate planning and was left with a house full of memories and possessions to distribute. After she and her siblings divided those belongings that they wanted, there were still many items left. My mother didn’t feel right selling these things, so she donated everything, in order to help others in need.

Clothing and Shoes

Clothing items can be donated to second-hand stores, homeless shelters, or battered women’s shelters. There are often used clothing drives in the fall and winter, and coats, gloves/mittens, scarves and boots are especially important donations during this time.

Bedding

If these items are in good condition, homeless shelters will put them to use, especially in the winter months. Additionally, hospices can always use quality donations in order to make their patients as comfortable as possible in their final days.

Books, Videos and CDs

With budget cuts, many schools and libraries are unable to buy new materials as often as they would like, which negatively impacts their students and patrons. By donating to these establishments, you are helping your community and aiding in the education of others.

Dishes, Silverware, and Food-Related Utensils

Homeless shelters that cater to families are often divided into small apartments, complete with kitchens.  By donating to these organizations, you can help a family sit down to a home cooked meal, thus providing stability during a difficult time.

Knick-Knacks, Artwork, and the Like

These are often tricky to donate, as many are personal mementos or are considered clutter by others. Residents of nursing homes, and those suffering from a terminal illness, can often live in drab surroundings.  Therefore, items such as these can brighten their rooms and bring smiles to their faces.

Furniture

Craig’s List is a great place to find people in need of free furniture. When posting, be sure to include a photo, and request that prospective owners pick up the furniture. Be cautious when using sites such as these, though, and use common sense when allowing strangers into your home.

Used Medical Equipment

It is not uncommon to have used medical equipment left after a loved one’s death, especially in the case of a prolonged illness or severe injury. When left with a wheelchair, walker, shower chair, or other equipment, find an area hospice in need of your items. These are often nonprofit, and can always use quality donations.

The death of a loved one can be a devastating time. The last thing you want to worry about is what to do with their possessions once they are gone.

However, with a little thought and end of life planning, you can make this a relatively painless process, and one that can be handled quickly and efficiently, so you can begin to move past your tragedy and start the grief and loss and healing process.

Courtesy of Joseph Baker

4 FREE Guides to End of Life Planning

Four Key Guides to End of Life Planning

Our Personal Gift to You and Your Loved Ones…

4 FREE Guides to Creating a Smart End of Life Plan

(Note: You can download, print, or save each guide below at NO COST)

Please Watch This Brief Video About Creating Your End of Life Plan:

1.  Completing Your Family Record Guide:

• Benefits of keeping all of your financial affairs in one place

• A complete list of key matters to have readily available

• Who can access and how often to update this information

2. Guide to Knowing Your 3 Best Options to Pre-Pay Funeral Expenses:

Pre Need Plan – How this plan works, who it fits, pros and cons

Final Expense Plan – How this plan works, who it fits, pros and cons

• Cemetery Pre-Purchase Kit – Burial Versus Funeral Pre-Planning

3. Guide to Choosing a Will Versus a Trust:

• The importance of creating an estate plan and how to start

• Easy-to-understand difference between a Last Will versus Living Trust

• Helpful ways to determine which is one is best for you

4. Guide to Creating a Love Drawer:

• Benefits of keeping all of your financial affairs in one place

• A complete list of key end of life matters to have readily available

• Who can access and how often to update this information

See Exactly Why a “Love Drawer” is So Valuable For EVERY Family:

 

Best Ways to Prepay Funeral Expenses

How to Prepay Your Funeral Expenses…
And Why?

According to AARP (www.aarp.org), the average cost of a funeral today is approximately $10,000.  So by preplanning a funeral and creating an end of life plan, your are certainly doing a wonderful thing by helping to alleviate many of the funeral planning challenges.

Therefore, over 60% of people who are willing to selflessly take the time to create an End of Life Plan will also choose to prepay their funeral expenses.  By taking care of your funeral costs and expenses in advance, this is yet another added value.  Prepaying your funeral costs is another way of leaving behind a memory of how much you cared for your family and loved ones, rather than leaving them to deal with these financial challenges.

While you need to learn and understand the three most common ways to preplan a funeral, you should also be familiar with the various ways of prepaying your funeral expenses, since this is  one of the fastest growing and widely-accepted aspects of the funeral planning process.

Similar to preplanning your funeral, most financial professionals agree that prepaying your funeral expenses should be a standard topic of discussion when creating a financial plan and estate plan.

The most common and widely used strategies to prepay your funeral expenses are savings, life insurance, and funeral insurance (also referred to as burial insurance), mainly because they tend to be deemed the most reliable and readily available. However, there are several other finance advice strategies to consider when prepaying your funeral costs or expenses:

Savings

Although many people choose to set aside savings to pay for their end of life plan and 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 your funeral or memorial services, burial expenses, 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, and college.

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 funeral 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 planning packages, and certain funeral homes or funeral companies also offer funeral insurance 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.

Get Help

Although the large majority of the funeral industry will tell you that most funeral costs can range anywhere from $5,000 – $10,000, it is very common for funerals to cost much more or maybe even less.

Also, as with any important financial decision or investment, there are many advantages and disadvantages to each of the options mentioned above. Before choosing a policy, it is important to consider many things, including but not limited to your age, health, financial status, objectives, liquid assets, tax issues, estate tax issues, family needs, etc.

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, and everyone should consider including an end of life plan.

Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor before applying or purchasing any of these policies, pay close attention to your specific state requirements, and also the financial strength and claims paying abilities of each company, funeral home, etc.

 

Who Really Needs an End of Life Plan? And Why?

Who Really Needs an End of Life Plan?

See Exactly Why This Makes Sense…From the Heart

The sad truth is that the financial planning industry largely overlooks the fact that creating an End of Life Plan needs to be a part of a sound comprehensive financial plan.  To prove my point, as a Financial Advisor for nearly 25 years, I have never been trained or educated on how to help my clients prepare their end of life plans and preferences.  Furthermore, I have also never been trained or educated on how to help my clients deal with the funeral planning process after a loved one has passed.

See For Yourself Why This Makes Sense:

The Missing Piece of the Financial Planning Puzzle

The reality is that a client should logically turn to their Financial Advisor for anything that has to do with not only their money, but also  the best interests of their family.  This involves a detailed review and analysis of things like insurance, investments, estate planning details (How to Choose a Last Will or Living Trust), minimizing or eliminating taxes, college planning, mortgages, and so on.

The key point here is that as Financial Advisors, arguably the most important role we play is helping protect families against unexpected events that can cause major financial or emotional challenges…and possibly irreparable damages or losses.

Most Financial Advisors typically protect their clients by implementing traditional financial products and strategies such as life insurance or creating a Last Will or Living Trust with Estate Attorneys.  They also recommend and promote important insurance policies which are designed to protect against specific losses, such as disability insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities, car and home insurance, and many other options.  These recommendations can vary, since  of course, each family’s situation is usually unique and different.

To be honest, I considered myself to be extremely well-versed in how to protect my clients, as well as my own family, against unexpected events.  However, everything changed on Thanksgiving Day of 2008 when I lost a close loved one and had to go through this experience personally.

Very Few Families Know “What to Do Next”

Losing a close loved one is, by far, one the most difficult experiences anyone can face in their lifetime.  I remember feeling so disappointed as we went through this experience…thinking that since I was a Financial Advisor, I should know better.  However, the enormity of the situation really hit me when I realized that I was never trained or educated on how to plan and prepare my clients for this particular situation.  I am almost ashamed to admit, I was totally unprepared.

I can remember looking at my family, and without saying a single word, you could tell we were are searching for the same answers to “what happens next”?  Sadly, these are the questions that most families are forced to deal with every day when they lose a loved one, such as:

1.  What do we do now?

2.  Who can we turn to for credible help and advice?

3.  How do we get started?

What Could I Have Done Differently?

As I look back, I remember how comforting and gratifying it was to see our family come together and accomplish so many things in such a short period of time.  At the same time, I also remember feeling frustrated because we lacked the knowledge on how to deal with many of these challenges, and we also had not idea where to turn to for the help and answers we needed.

After experiencing all of the emotional ups and downs, the funeral planning challenges, planning all of the memorial service details, and even working out things like;  how to write a funeral eulogy, choosing funeral flowers versus donations, and choosing among the many cremation urns, I can honestly tell you that planning a funeral is overwhelming.

May I Offer Some Valuable Advice?

So after all of this, here is what I think so many people need to hear.  Consider these facts:

1.  There is nothing more difficult than the loss of a loved one
2.  Planning a funeral and memorial service is an overwhelming process
3.  The large majority of families are uneducated on the many details involved in this process
4.  Very few families are left with any end of life plans – telling them “what to do next”

The truth is it really doesn’t have to be this way. Yes, we are talking about death and dying.  No, it is not fun, and not something we like to even think about.  However, the harsh reality is that some day we will all die.  So when you break it down to these simple facts, you are left with two choices:

1.   Do nothing – and let your family add insult to injury
2.   Plan in advance – and minimize or eliminate some of the burden you will leave behind

What is the Key Message Here?

Again, I fully understand that nobody likes to talk about death, dying, or end of life planning.  However, we have to face and accept the fact that not are we going to die some day, but it could happen much sooner than anyone ever expected.

So my sincere hope is that I can encourage anyone who is reading this…every son, daughter, spouse, grandchild, or loved one…to have this discussion with your family. And since nobody knows what the future might bring, have this talk sooner versus later.

There is no such thing as preparing your End of Life Plan too soon.  On the contrary, the worst thing you can do is take the attitude of “I don’t need to do this now, that won’t happen to me, or, I can do this later“. As the old adage goes;

“By Failing to Plan…You are Planning to Fail.”

You Can’t Go Wrong:

By creating an end of life plan in advance, here are a few of the meaningful benefits you will experience from this selfless act of love:

1.  Peace of mind – You will sleep better at night knowing that you have completed this all-important plan, and that your family and loved ones will be forever grateful.  This is the true definition of a win-win situation.

2.  You control how you will be remembered – Knowing this will be a time of great loss for your loved ones, you will be remembered for showing how much you cared by sacrificing the time to do something very special, and easing the burden when it is needed the most.

After going through something like this helps you realize that every day is truly a gift.  I guess that is exactly why they call it “the present“.  So please, take advantage of “the present” you are given today and build a plan that allows your loved ones to celebrate your life, and focus on how grateful they are today…and will be after you are gone…for all of the great memories they were able to share with you.

Get Started Today – Your First Easy Step:

I would like to personally congratulate you, in advance, for taking the first step towards creating a smart End of Life plan for you, your family, and all of your loved ones!

The first step to getting started is clicking on this link below to access our:

Four Key End of Life Planning Guides

(Note: There’s NO COST to download, save, or print these four guides)

Christopher P. Hill, Founder
FuneralResources.com

Custom Crafted Funeral Music

Custom Funeral Music

The Powerful Combination of Custom Crafted Funeral Music, Pictures, and Professional Video

Creating a Healing Thanksgiving Family Keepsake

With the rapid growth in the Internet and new funeral technology, families today have access to many new and innovative tools that can help significantly increase their funeral and memorial planning experience. At the top of this list are DVD Video Tributes, which most families are choosing as a common addition to their loved ones memorial service.

In addition, I am happy tell everyone there is also the ability to work with a professional singer/songwriter/producer who can help families create “custom crafted” funeral music, which is a song that is personalized for either a special loved one and/or a special event.

Listen to this Beautiful Custom Crafted Song:

“Since my family never knew this powerful funeral technology existed,  I strongly encourage every family to learn more about this option as a great addition to a Memorial Service.  These professionally designed Video Tributes allow you to combine the personalized music, photos, and message of your choice.  Watching this together with loved ones, this provides a great opportunity for everyone to celebrate, remember, and heal…and ultimately becomes a treasured family heirloom to keep forever.”
Christopher P. Hill, Founder, FuneralResources.com

Consider Using Custom Crafted Songs to Help Heal and Remember

If you are interested in selecting funeral songs with meaningful lyrics it may be easy to use the internet to search and read lyrics of popular songs.  However, I believe a much better and more personal solution is to opt for a more customized music selection and have a song written and recorded to play at the funeral service or memorial service.

This DVD Video Tribute below contains a customized song that was created for me by Anna Huckabee of Custom Crafted Songs.  By taking advantage of creating a custom crafted song, this helped me to express how I truly felt about my mother, but in a very special and meaningful way.

By combining these personalized lyrics that Anna helped me create with a DVD Video Tribute, this helped me in so many ways.  First, it helped me to better see what a wonderful and amazing person she really was.  Second, since Anna needed to ask many questions  to know as much as possible about her, this helped me to express my thoughts and discuss some things that significantly helped in my healing process.  But most importantly, this custom crafted song allowed me to express some feelings and emotions that I was not able to say to her before she passed.  These words are things that I regret every day not telling her before she was taken above.

My mother passed on Thanksgiving Day of 2008, which clearly means that Thanksgiving will never be the same.  But since everyone who knew her would tell you she was one of the most giving people on the planet, I truly thank Anna for creating this personal song and tribute for my mother, and fittingly calling this beautiful song “Thanks For Giving“.

Thanks for your giving ways too Anna!

Top 5 Reasons Video Tributes are Common Memorial Options

1. A Quality Memorial Tribute

Each custom DVD Video Tribute is hand-crafted by professional technicians who artfully tell your loved one’s story. With expert direction, the funeral music and imagery join together in perfect harmony to create a healing experience as individual as your loved one’s life. This memorial tribute will be a treasured family heirloom for generations to come.

2. Restore Your Loved One’s Photos

Your precious photos are carefully restored, enhanced and artfully arranged by talented multimedia technicians. These experts can combine faded, tattered, torn, static snapshots into moving cinematic video, bringing your treasured photos to life forever.

3. Create a Fitting Video Memorial

From majestic mountains and oceans to the simplicity and beauty of a single rose, a Funeral Video DVD utilizes custom thematic scenery, filmed in stunning High Definition by world-renown videographers, designed to personalize and illustrate your loved ones life.

4. Healing and Uplifting Funeral Music

A professionally crafted DVD Video Tribute utilizes therapeutic, customized soundtracks. This personalized funeral music is specifically composed, arranged and/or produced to heal a broken heart as well as provide the perfect accompaniment to your family photos.

5. A Memorial as Individual As Your Loved One

These Video Tributes are professionally produced tributes which celebrate your loved ones life in magnificent cinematic quality, and are available in standard or wide-screen format.

Visit our site to learn more information about some of the other new and innovative funeral technology tools now available when planning a funeral. You can also learn about things like a Memorial Website, Gravestone Technology, Memorial Reefs, Memorial Diamonds, as well as Funeral Webcasting.  In addition, you can also visit our other website www.memorialtechnology.com.

Christopher P. Hill, Founder

New Funeral Memorial Technologies Help Families Heal and Remember

Memorial Technology

Six Memorial Technology Options Helping to Share, Celebrate, Heal, and Remember!

Today, many new and innovative memorial technology tools that are widely-recognized in the funeral industry as common services that help make a difficult situation a little easier. New memorial technology is helping families and friends who have lost a one heal, remember, and celebrate. Below are the most common new memorial technology tools that most families are choosing:

1.  Memorial Website

A Memorial Website is a personalized website that is created to celebrate a person’s life. Friends and family can grieve and celebrate the memories of a loved one by sharing stories, kind thoughts, condolences, photos, and videos online. These online memorial tributes can be kept online for life so that friends and family can view the wonderful memories year after year and additional content can be added at any time.

2.  Video Tribute

See a Sample DVD Video Here:

In its simplest definition, a Video Tribute is a professionally crafted video production which consists of digital images, video, and/or photos of your loved one, which are then combined and played simultaneously with the music or your choice. They can serve as an excellent presentation to complement your special funeral memorial service, and are a great way to help in the grief and healing process. A Video Tribute helps tell the story of your loved ones life, and also creates a family heirloom that can be treasured and kept for years to come.

3.  Memorial Diamonds

Created from a lock of hair or small amount of cremated ashes, memorial diamonds are an unique, heirloom memorial that will forever contain the essence of your loved one. These genuine, certified diamonds are created in a laboratory using your loved ones personal carbon and a diamond seed. By mimicking the earth’s natural high pressure, high temperatures necessary to create a diamond, in 70 days or less a personal diamond will emerge in one of the five brilliant colors you have selected. These memorial diamonds can be a stunning reminder of a loved ones life and unique spirit. Set into a beautiful piece of cremation jewelry, a memorial diamond can be worn close to the heart in a pendant, or into a memorial ring, bracelet or even earrings.

4.  Gravestone Technology

Due to advances in microchip technology, your family can now include detailed text and a photo within a headstone to create a high tech, high end memorial. RFID-enabled data tags are an addition to a loved one’s tomb stone – you can enter the person’s name and choose some representative symbols, perhaps a small epitaph via the web – then you embed the tag into a larger traditional tombstone.

This new technology will allow future generations, visitors and historians to access both a story and genealogical information about the deceased from an internet enabled cell phone while at the markers physical location.

5.  Funeral Webcasting

See the Many Features and Benefits of Funeral Webcasting Here:

For a wide variety of reasons, family members and friends are often unable to travel or attend the actual funeral service of a loved one. Using this innovative memorial technology, families and loved ones can now view the actual LIVE Memorial Service from the comfort of their own home, or whatever location is most convenient. Funeral Webcasting can be viewed on a private and secure website page by using password protection. This ensures that ONLY the people you wish to join in this Memorial Service can participate LIVE.

6.  Memorial Reefs

A memorial reef is an environmentally-friendly burial option that is being used to replace the more traditional green burials and cremation ideas, such as cremation urns or ash scattering. The process includes mixing a loved ones remains into an environmentally safe concrete mixture and create a personalized memorial reef. These memorial reefs are then placed into the ocean. This combination of new memorial technology, cremation, memorial reefs, and green burials can now offer families to provide their loved ones with a living legacy at sea.

Hiring an In-Home Caregiver

End of Life Planning

Five Tips for Finding a Quality Home Care Provider

You and your family have decided that it is time to bring in outside help to assist with the care of a loved one in need. Because you want them to be able to remain safe, comfortable and independent in their own home for as long as possible, you have chosen to hire an in-home caregiver or home healthcare agency. The next step is choosing the best care provider for you and your loved one. But how do you know who the best is?

Here are five tips for finding a quality home care provider:

1. Get recommendations. Talk to trusted professionals and community members. Your parent’s doctor, financial advisor, attorney, other medical providers, friends or family members may have familiarity and experience with local companies that do a good job. A list of providers is also available from your local Area Agency on Aging or hospital social work department. However, it is rare for these resources to make specific recommendations.

2. Know your liability. Understand the possible liabilities and ramifications involved when hiring a caregiver privately. Consider issues such as taxes, insurance, liability and worker’s compensation, backup coverage, background checks/oversight and training. If hiring through a nurse registry or employment agency, the family may end up being the official employer, responsible for pay, taxes and other obligations. On the other end of the spectrum, fully licensed private duty home health agencies offer more comprehensive services and protections as employers of the caregivers.

3. Consider innovation. Research how current their monitoring and communications technology is. How easy is it to monitor the care your loved one is receiving? Can you speak to the caregiver or management at any time?

4. Get to know who you’re hiring. When talking with an agency, get a feel for their process. Will they allow you and your loved one to interview potential caregivers? How do they handle replacing a caregiver that is not a good fit? What steps do they take to ensure coverage and accountability? How do they supervise, train and support staff? Do they strive for continuity or will your loved one have different staff each time? How many caregivers will cover the shifts your loved one requires? While regulations standardize licensed home care agencies to a degree, these are the things that will set one agency apart from another.

5. Research involvement. Seek out providers who have a history in the community and the industry. Check if providers are involved with local and national associations such as the Alzheimer’s Association, the Area Agency on Aging and the National Private Duty Association. Their involvement demonstrates passion and dedication for their field. Management staff that has a history in the community and the profession demonstrates a commitment, stability and a positive reputation that they would want to protect.

With many years of advocating for the rights of seniors and their families in Pinellas County Florida, EasyLiving, Inc., a fully licensed, private duty home healthcare company, has dedicated its company to offering clients more personalized service, flexible scheduling and reliable, expert caregivers. EasyLiving caregivers undergo an extensive interview process to ensure that they maintain fully qualified and licensed team members. Every caregiver has completed a criminal background check and drug screening, and are insured, bonded and covered under worker’s compensation to ensure that our clients receive the highest quality service from trustworthy, experienced professionals. EasyLiving provides paid training as well as all continuing education requirements to its caregivers annually, enabling them to improve their expertise and service. For more information, visit EasyLivingFl.com.

About the authors: Alex Chamberlain is executive director at EasyLiving, Inc., a fully licensed, private duty home health care company serving individuals and families in Pinellas and Pasco counties in Florida. With a strong background of academic and practical experience in sales, marketing, administration and leadership, Alex handles overall company operations, strategic planning and overseeing staff. He serves on the boards of a number of local non-profit organizations and was named a 2009 Tampa Bay Business Journal “Up and Comer.”

Shannon Martin, M.S.W., CMC, has served as director of community relations at Aging Wisely, LLC, a comprehensive care management and consultation company in Clearwater, Fla, over 8 years. Shannon provides marketing and public relations support to EasyLiving, Inc. Prior to Aging Wisely, Shannon served as social services director and admissions coordinator in an assisted living/skilled nursing facility and worked as a social worker and volunteer coordinator for a large hospice in Atlanta, Ga.

For additional information on EasyLiving, Inc. contact Shannon or Alex at 727-448-0900 or Admin@easylivingfl.com.

By |September 3rd, 2010|Categories: care giver, end of life, Grief and Loss, home care|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Hiring an In-Home Caregiver

10 Questions About Estate Planning, Living Trust, and Last Will

Estate Planning

10 Most Common Questions Families Ask About Estate Planning, Last Wills, and Living Trusts

1. What is a Will?
A Last Will is signed writing in which a person (often referred to as the “testator”) directs what is to be done with his or her property after death. Each state has its own very specific laws as to what is necessary for a Last Will to be valid in that state.

2. Who Can Create a Will?
Any mentally competent person who is at least 18 years old may make a Last Will. However, later proof of any fraud, duress, or undue influence by another person or the testator may cause the Last Will to be invalid.

3. Who Should Have a Will…and Why?
Every mentally competent adult should have a Last Will. Here are a few of the reasons:
• You can direct how you want your property divided at your death.
• You can name the person you want to handle you estate (called the “executor” or “personal representative”).
• You can reduce the expenses of administering your estate.
• You can save taxes.
• You can nominate a guardian for your minor children.
• You may provide for a trust for the support and education of your children without the necessity of costly court proceedings.

4. Does a Will Need to Be Witnessed? Does a Will Need to Be Notarized?
Generally, most states require that the signing of a Last Will must be witnessed by two competent persons, who also must sign the Last Will in front of the testator. (An exception to the witness requirement is made if the testator writes out the entire Last Will in his or her own handwriting, and signs and dates it.)

Although the law does not require a Last Will to be notarized, it is a highly recommended practice, followed by most lawyers. If the testator’s and witnesses’ signatures have been notarized, the Last Will is presumed to be properly executed and is accepted by the court without testimony from the witness.

5. How Long is a Last Will Valid?
Your Last Will is valid until you revoke it generally either by physical destruction (tearing or burning it up, for example) or by signing a superseding Last Will or written revocation.  However, if you get divorced after signing a Last Will, the law may consider the Last Will partially revoked. Also, if you are married, your spouse may have rights in your estate regardless of what is provided in your Last Will.

6. Can a Will Be Changed?
Your Last Will does not take effect until you die; therefore, it can be changed at any time during your life as long as you are mentally competent. Traditionally, Last Wills were changed by an amending instrument called a “codicil,” but with the development of modern word processing technology, it is usually better and just as easy to sign an entirely new Last Will when you wish to make changes.

7. What Happens If You Don’t Have a Will?
If you don’t have a Last Will, a state statute directs who receives you property, regardless of your wishes. For example, in my home state of Virginia, if you are married, your estate generally passes entirely to your surviving spouse; however, if you have children who are not also the children of your spouse, your children divided two-third of your estate, and your spouse takes the other one-third.

8. Is Joint Ownership a Good Substitute For a Last Will?
In most cases, joint ownership is not an acceptable substitute for a Last Will. Contrary to popular belief, joint ownership of assets between husband and wife often results in excessive estate takes. Joint ownership between parent and child may foster disputes between family members and cause unexpected and unnecessary gift taxes.

9. Is a Trust (Also referred to as a Revocable Living Trust) a Substitute for a Will?
A properly funded Revocable Living Trust can be a valuable and important part of the estate plan for many people, but it does not eliminate the need for a Last Will. If you have a Living Trust, you will still need a Last Will to dispose of those assets that have not or cannot be placed into the Living Trust.

As useful as they are, Living Trusts are not appropriate for everyone. Only your lawyer can tell you if you should consider one, and only you lawyer should prepare it.

10. Who Should Draft Your Last Will?
A person who drafts a Last Will must be familiar with the law in order to avoid the many pitfalls and to comply with the formalities necessary to assure the Last Will’s validity. Only a practicing lawyer is professionally qualified to give you advice regarding your Last Will, to prepare your Last Will, and to supervise it’s signing.

A Few More Practical Suggestions:

More than 70% of Americans Die Without Leaving Behind a Last Will.  Planning your financial affairs, and coordinating this with your estate plan, is a very personal and individual matter. You should decide for yourself the general purpose you wish to accomplish, and then consult with a seasoned estate planning attorney, financial advisor, and CPA if you want to have a coordinated and comprehensive plan, which integrates and accomplishes all of your financial goals and objectives.

Four practical steps to save time and help assure a sound result:

1. Inventory you assets. List in reasonable detail all of your property, real and personal, life insurance policies, and retirement plans, with your best assessment of their values.

2. Inventory your liabilities. List all debts and obligations, including principal amounts, payees, and essential terms.

3. List your family members and any other persons whom you wish to participate in your estate. Decide who might be an appropriate executor, trustee, or guardian for your minor children.

4. Decide what you want to accomplish. Determine what your objectives are, and to whom you wish your assets distributed.

Getting Started is Easy:

It just takes five easy steps, where your only cost will be your time:

Step One: Spend some time with your existing financial advisor, or an experienced financial advisor in your local area, so you can review the basic details your “big picture financial plan” together

Step Two: Your financial advisor will review this information and help you assess confirm exactly what your estate planning needs and preferences are

Step Three: Once your financial advisor reviews your overall estate planning needs, they can help you understand exactly how Wills and Trusts work, as well as which one they feel fits your situation best

Step Four: After you are fully comfortable and confident with their recommendation, you can consult with a seasoned estate planning attorney who can help you properly draft these documents and details

Step Five: Arguably the most important step, and often overlooked, is making sure that your estate planning attorney, financial advisor, and CPA are all working together to ensure all of your estate plans and preferences are coordinated and working properly with your “big picture financial plan”.

 

By |September 2nd, 2010|Categories: end of life, Estate Planning, Funeral Estate Planning, Last Will, living trust|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on 10 Questions About Estate Planning, Living Trust, and Last Will

College Students Coping with Grief

Grief and Loss

Coping with Grief  and Loss

While Going Back to College

Most people who begin their grief journey want straight facts. They want to know such things as what to expect, how long will the grief and loss can last, etc. College students are no exception. However, college students are in a unique niche of No- Longer-a-Teenager but not quite considered an adult as they are not melded into the working world.  Should you need it, here are some quick tips to print off and give to a grieving college student.

1. Most people grieve anywhere from three to seven years. The five stages of grief can last approximately three years. Some people say that the second year of grief is harder than the first year of grief, but this is not always the case.

2. You may find yourself crying on and off for the next three years. Don’t try to fight the tears, rather let them flow. Tears are your body’s way of helping you cope with grief. Tears actually release chemicals into your system that help you feel better.

3. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to eat three meals a day. They don’t have to be huge and they should be “healthy for you” food. Try to limit the amount of sugar and empty calories you take into your body. Grieving is probably the hardest job you will every do. It is demanding physically, mentally and emotionally. Because of this high demand, your body needs energy that comes from solid healthy food. Cut out the caffeine if possible, limit the amount of alcohol you take into your system and drink as much water as you can get down a day. Think of this as if you were training for a really big physical event. (Like the Olympics!)

4. Talk, talk and talk some more. Typically, you are going to find that people want to talk to you and listen to you for the first few weeks and months. Then most people don’t know what to say, or don’t want to listen anymore–all for a host of reasons. You probably will get to the point where people ask you how you are doing and you will say ”I am fine”. Try to find people to talk to about your loss who are willing to listen. Talking does you a world of good.  Journaling is also a great tool. One of the services offered at Beyond Indigo contains a private journal no one can access except you.

5. Be aware that you will have to be the one educating people on how to help you while you are grieving. This is ironic since you are the one that needs the support, not the other way around but, nevertheless, this tends to be a fact in our society. We are not socialized to talk about death. We are socialized to talk about boyfriends, our future children, weddings, etc. but not death. Therefore, people have no clue what to say. They mean well and are trying, but they may say the things that are not helpful to you. It is okay to say something like, “Listen, I know you mean well and are trying to help, but telling me my father is in heaven doesn’t make me feel better. What makes me feel better is______.  (fill in the blank with how you feel, or what you would like to hear.)

6. Taking care of you during school will be a big task. Your life now is very different. You know this, however, other people may not. They may not understand how your world has changed dramatically. Focusing on schoolwork might be more difficult. Make sure to give yourself permission to change your study habits if you need to. It is okay if you don’t socialize like you did before. Figure out what little things help you during the day, such as a soothing bath at night, or listening to special music. Make sure to tell your professors of your loss. Especially be aware that you might need to explain to them that you might have trouble concentrating. There might be some arrangement that you can make to take tests on a different day if the scheduled day of testing proves to be too emotionally difficult for you. Teachers will understand if you tell them ahead of time.

7. It never hurts to find a therapist and receive some grief counseling on campus (or in town) who can be there to help monitor you through this time. You’ll need a therapist who will listen and give you ideas to put in your “tool box” to help you communicate with peers, to help you adjust to your family’s new roles with your loved one gone and to help you get through this year of school. Though you may feel you want a therapist that just listens and says, “Right, okay then, we will see you next week”, in the long run this will not be quite as helpful as a therapist that help you develop communication skills and action plans. If you go to a therapist and find that you do not “bond” with him/her or feel comfortable in his/her presence it is totally legit to terminate your sessions and seek another therapist that will feel like a comfortable “fit”.

8. If you are not sleeping at night you need to go see the doctor on campus or in town to help you sleep. Sleep is hugely important to keep up your strength.

Remember to take care of “you” first and then school and everything else will become easier to manage. Good luck on your new learning experience!

Are you looking for others with whom you can relate? Visit the Beyond Indigo forums to connect with others who are on their grief journeys.

© 2010 Kelasan, Inc.

By |August 11th, 2010|Categories: Bereavement, Children and Death, five stages of grief, Grief, Grief and Loss, Grief Counseling, Grief Support|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on College Students Coping with Grief

Grief Coaching

Grief and Loss

The Purpose of a Grief Coach

When a family or individual is suffering from grief and loss and have important decisions to make under much duress, they often need a large degree of emotional support.  A Grief Recovery Specialist and Life Coach can help.

Here are Five Ways a Grief Coach Can Help:

  • Grief Coaching can offer the support a family or individual needs to get through a sorrowful time.

 

  • A grief coach can help families develop a short term, “What’s next”, plan for their lives.

 

  • A grief coach can help families establish new or revised long term life goals pertaining to work, school, relationships, hobbies and general wellness.

 

  • A grief coach can provide families with hope, motivation and direction to take control of their lives in the new role that they inherited as a result of their loss.

 

  • A grief coach is someone who listens – Sometimes that is what is most needed in a time of sorrow and confusion.

Grief Coaching is one of the fastest growing trends in self improvement, wellness and life in general.

For more information about Grief Coaching your can click on Grief Support, Grief Counseling, or visit Next Stage Coaching.

 

By |August 11th, 2010|Categories: Grief and Loss, grief coaching, Grief Counseling, grief support, Grief Support|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Grief Coaching

New Preferred Provider for Digital Estate Planning

Online Estate Plan

FuneralResources.com Selects Entrustet.com

Preferred Provider for Digital Estate Planning

FuneralResources.com, the nation’s leading family-focused online Resource Center for funeral planning and preplanning, announced today they will be selecting Entrustet as a Preferred Provider for their Digital Estate Planning services.

Entrustet’s Account Guardian is a free service that allows consumers to securely list all of their digital assets. Digital assets include any accounts which are currently being accessed through the Internet, as well as computer files.  By storing this digital information in a safe and secure place such as what Entrustet offers, this provides people and families with the option of transferring or deleting this information in the event someone passes.

To find our more information about this partnership, simply visit FuneralResources.com and click on their “Funeral Memorial Technology tab, and then click on the drop-down link entitled “Digital Estate Planning Services”.

Hill points out that; “Today, when a family or Funeral Director visits FuneralResources.com, our Resource Center is filled with helpful articles, brief educational videos, grief counseling and support, common  funeral planning merchandise and services, as well as just about every new and innovative funeral technology tool, such as Entrustet.”

Hill’s goal with FuneralResources.com is to help raise awareness about any helpful tools that can help make such a difficult situation a little easier.  Another goal is to provide quick and easy access to resources such as articles, free How-To Funeral Guides, and the constantly evolving and growing number of useful tools and technologies that most families and Funeral Directors are commonly searching for.  Given the growth of the Internet, Social Networking, and more, having a place to store your Digital Estate Planning Assets will inevitably continue to grow, becoming a larger part of Last Will, Living Trust, and/or Funeral Estate Planning process in the years ahead.

 
About Entrustet:

Entrustet is a free online service that allows you to securely list all of your digital assets, which are online accounts and files on your computer, and decide if you’d like them transferred to heirs or deleted when you pass away. Through its free Account Guardian service, individuals protect their digital assets by deleting them or designating heirs to oversee their personal information after their death. Users can also choose to delete private files and accounts by using the Account Incinerator. Other services include the Lawyer Directory for lawyer referrals and the Corporate Partner Program in which companies can protect their users’ last wishes.

Cremation Memorial Reefs Now in Texas

Green Funeral

Eternal Reefs Adds New Memorial Reef Site

New cremation memorial reef to be located in Galveston, Texas.

The new Texas location makes the twentieth approved site for the company to offer an eco-friendly alternative to spreading the ashes of a loved one:  participation in the preparation and placement of an individually-designed memorial reef ball that contributes to a new ecosystem.

An Eternal Reefs “memorial reefs” looks like a huge, hollow concrete ball with Swiss cheese holes specially designed to entice fish and other forms of sea life into the reef, building new habitats in and around the uneven structure.  Eternal Reefs takes cremated remains and incorporates them into an environmentally safe cast cement mixture weighing between 600 pounds (2’ high x 4’ wide) and 4500 pounds (4’ high x 6’ wide).

Eternal Reefs encourages family members and friends to become involved in creating their loved one’s memorial reef. If they wish, family members can mix the concrete and remains and have the opportunity to personalize the Eternal Reef with handprints, written messages and other memorabilia in the damp concrete. The entire Eternal Reefs process is designed to be a positive and healing experience for the families and the sea.

“While many people who participate in our programs have been vitally connected to the ocean their entire life, we get to memorialize people who just like the idea of making a meaningful contribution to the health of the planet and to benefit future generations,” George Frankel, Eternal Reefs CEO, said.  “We find it provides great joy for everyone involved to know their loved one will be surrounded by marine life and to know they leave behind an environmentally-sustainable, living legacy.”

Memorial reefs have become a solution for the “shelf people” crisis across the country.  An astonishing 45 percent of families that have chosen cremation still have their loved ones remains sitting on a shelf or in a closet.  Thousands of individuals pass away unexpectedly and don’t leave a will, leaving the next generation to handle their remains.  Eternal Reefs offers a final resting place for these individuals.

With every Memorial Reef, the executor of the estate receives two memorial certificates that identify the longitude and latitude of the memorials, which are marked with bronze plaques.  Loved ones can participate in every step of the Memorial Reef process and gather for the reef casting, viewing and placement ceremonies.  Throughout the year, families and friends often return to the memorial reef site to dive, fish or visit by boat.

The new reef site off Galveston, Texas will have its first memorial service and placement November 12, 2010 at Barr’s Reef, 11 miles off the water break in Galveston Bay.   It is anticipated the families of about 15 people will participate in the activities.

About Eternal Reefs Inc.
Eternal Reefs, Inc is an Atlanta-based company that provides creative environmentally enhancing means to memorialize the cremated remains of a loved one. The company incorporates cremated remains into a concrete mixture used to cast artificial reef formations. The artificial reefs are dedicated as permanent memorials while also bolstering natural coastal reef formations. Since 1998, the company has placed more than 300 Memorial Reefs in 20 locations off the coasts of Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia, substantially increasing the ocean’s diminishing reef systems.  Memorial reefs can only go in properly permitted locations by the US Government.  Contact Eternal Reefs Inc.

 

Preplan Funeral Expenses

Pre Need

Preplanning for Funeral Costs and Expenses

The final expense cost of regular adult funeral including basic items, can be significant. To give you a quick overview of the funeral costs, we’ve developed a quick chart.  Keep in mind, these basic items do not include cemetery costs, cemetery monuments, or grave marker costs – nor any other miscellaneous charges such as for funeral flowers or obituaries.

$1,595             Non-declinable basic services fee

$  233              Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home

$  550              Embalming

$  203              Other preparation of the body

$  406              Use of facilities/staff for viewing

$  463              Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony

$  251              Use of a hearse

$  120              Use of a service car/van

$  119              Basic memorial printed package

$2,255             Metal Casket

$1,128             Vault

Total Cost  $7,323

For  more information about specific Final Expense Costs or strategies to Prepay Funeral Expenses and End of Life Planning, you’ll find a wealth of information throughout our website, FuneralResources.com.

 

Grief and Bereavement Help After a Death

Grief and Loss

Grief Help From a Family

An inexpensive, yet valuable offering to help a family while they are grieving is the ability to truly listen. You might say, “I know that!”  Listening can actually be harder to do than it sounds. We are living in a society today where we are conditioned to the 10-second sound bite. We focus for a moment, then turn our attention elsewhere.

People who have experienced a loss often say that no one will listen to them. They do not feel heard. Quickly they learn to say “I’m fine” because “I’m fine” doesn’t make the listener uncomfortable. Grieving people want to tell their story. They need to be heard, they need grief support.

How does one become an effective listener?

Silence: Be okay with silence. Don’t be in a rush to fill in the empty spaces while people are giving you their story. Just be patient and listen.

Wait: It is often tempting when people are struggling to assimilate new information to give too much advice too quickly. Allow some space between advice/information giving to provide the family member a chance to voice their desires and needs.

Focus on the individual: In today’s world we are constantly being bombarded with stimulation that can result in overload. You might have to consciously remind yourself to put down the pen, fold your hands on your lap, use direct eye contact and relax.

Use key words: Let the family member know they are heard by saying, “I hear you”, or “What I hear you saying is…”, or “How hard it must be…” or even ask them, “Do you feel like you have been heard?”

Body language: A grieving person may not be aware consciously of your body language but it is conveyed nonetheless. Sitting with your arms crossed, leaning far back in your chair, or having your desk or a large table between you and the family member could convey the message that there is distance between you. That can be interpreted that you are not being an effective listener.

Perception: Since the bereavement are extra sensitive they often can tell if you are actively engaged in listening to them or if you are just being “nice” and trying to get them out the door.  Perhaps many times in your career when dealing with grieving families you have had to check your frame of mind to see if you are in a receiving mode or just trying to be polite. Continue to monitor yourself. It will be worth it.

The simple act of listening to a grieving family member brings much comfort. One last thing you can do is make sure to give them your list of local resources that are specifically geared to listening to grieving individuals such as local therapists offering grief counseling, grief support groups, or grief message boards on the internet.

Are you looking for others with whom you can relate? Visit the Beyond Indigo forums to connect with others who are on their grief journeys.

 
© 2010 Kelasan, Inc.

By |July 22nd, 2010|Categories: Bereavement, Death, Grief, Grief and Loss, Grief Counseling, Grief Support|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Grief and Bereavement Help After a Death

A Special Video Tribute With Custom Funeral Music

Memorial Technology

Sharing a Personal Story

The Powerful Combination of a DVD Video Tribute

and Custom Funeral Music

 

Talking About Losing a Loved One is NEVER Easy:

My name is Chris Hill, and many of you know I am the Founder of FuneralResources.com.

First of all, I must admit that is not easy for me to publicly talk about the fact that I lost my mother a few years ago, or to say how much I love her and miss her.

And quite frankly, it is even hard to admit that looking back, I wish I could have done things diffrerently.

Live Every Day Like There’s No Tomorrow:

The truth is I wish I was with her more.  I wish I could have told her how much she meant to me.  I wish I had told her how special and amazing she really was.  I wish I told her how much I appreciated everything she did for me.  I wish she knew how lucky I was that she was my mother and friend.  Most of all, I wish I would have been there with her…and shared more time with her…particularly in her final stages.  But as much as it haunts me, I can’t turn back the clock.

Truthfully, I will always believe she needed to hear these things from me, and I will always regret the fact that I never had the chance to tell her how much she meant to me, and how much I loved her.

However, knowing how special she was, how selfless she was, and how unconditional her love was for her family and friends, I truly believe she knows.  I also believe that she forgives me for not being there as much as I think I should have, and for not letting her know the things I wished I had told her.

See the Powerful Combination of New Funeral Technology and Custom Crafted Funeral Music:

Today I feel very blessed to share with you this great opportunity I was recently given.  I was able to create a special memorial video tribute for my mother, which is comprised of three all-important pieces:

1.  Creating a personalized DVD Video Tribute for my mother

2.  Choosing the best photos of my mother thoughout her life.  The ones that help me see her as I remember her, and also help me remember all of the great times and memories we shared together.

3.  Creating personalized funeral music which was specially written, produced, and sung by a very special and talented singer and songwriter, Anna Huckabee.  Anna creates custom crafted funeral music which is solely created to tell an individual’s story of their special and unique life.  You can hear Anna’s song she created exclusively for me and my mother in this video.

Learn About the New Funeral Technology Options Available:

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to have this professionally crafted and personalized video tribute as a memorial, since someone like her truly deserves nothing but the best.  This video says so much, and helps me tell the story and message.  I hope she hears every day and knows and believes it in her heart.

Best of all, creating this video helped me in coping with loss, but also provided me with something truly special that I can always remember her as that amazing and beautiful person you can see.

It is never easy to talk about someone you love who has passed, but I share this with you because I truly hope anyone who has lost a loved also considers taking advantage of this great opportunity!

Also, there are many other great new memorial technology tools that you should learn more about that, like me, might help you make these difficult times a little easier.

 
Christopher P. Hill, Founder
FuneralResources.com

FREE End of Life Planning Guides

End of Life Guides

Creating a Love Drawer

Many financial professionals believe that life insurance should be referred to as “love insurance”. As cliché as this may sound, it certainly has a tremendous amount of merit. What better gift is there to give your family and loved ones upon your death than a large sum of money to be used for such things as income replacement, college tuition, retirement, taxes or estate taxes, charitable gifts, and much more? And if you really think about it, the last thing you would want to add to your family at the time of their emotional loss and grieving is financial pressure.

Watch this brief 2-minute video on why a “Love Drawer” is so important:

Most of us would agree, including financial professionals, that life insurance plays an large role in creating a sound comprehensive financial plan. So in keeping with this theme of love, here is an even better idea. How about also adding another layer of love towards your end of life plan – with a love drawer.

What Exactly Is a “Love Drawer”?

Simply put, a love drawer is a place where the person (or people) you choose can turn to, should you pass unexpectedly, to find all of your important information. This includes complete and instructions for all of the aspects of your life including things like your last wishes, financial affairs, special instructions, personal messages, and even your end-of-life plans and preferences.

What Key Information Should be Kept in This “Love Drawer”?

Below you will find a list of most (but certainly not all) of your personal and money matters that should be needed and addressed:

1. The firm name, address, and phone number of your Estate Planning Attorney
2. Your actual Last Will or Living Trust
3.  Insurance Information
4.  IRA’s and Life Insurance Information
5.  Investment Information
6.  Employer Information
7.  Social Security Statements
8.  Debts and Corresponding Contact Information
9.  Deeds or Titles
10.  Burial Wishes
11.  Love Notes
12. Any Other Important Documents and Vital Statistics

A Few Other Ideas – Our recommendation is that you tell at least three people who you love and trust where they can find this love drawer. These people can be anyone such as your spouse, parent, child, friend, or even your financial advisor or attorney. In addition, even though it may seem obvious, I would ask them to please respect your privacy and never open this drawer until it is absolutely necessary. These entrusted loved ones will be the ones who help ensure that someone will be there to step up promptly and act upon the details and instructions you have carefully assembled in your love drawer.

We encourage you to update this love drawer at least every two years. One of the few things we can guarantee in life is that things will change. Given the fact that we have many things in our lives that are constantly changing like taxes, estate taxes, family, age, health, wealth, our final wishes, etc., we should regularly review and revise this love drawer. These updates help to reflect any financial or personal matters that should be added, revised, or removed.

Receive our Free Guide – How to Create a Love Drawer

By |July 6th, 2010|Categories: end of life, vital statistics|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on FREE End of Life Planning Guides

Preplan Your Funeral

Funeral Costs

Top 10 Reasons to PrePlan Your Funeral

When You Die, Show Your Family How Much You Love Them…
Minimize Their Emotional and Financial Pressures

When you die, it should be obvious that your family and loved ones will be emotionally devastated as they try to cope with this grief and loss, but adding the stress of funeral costs and funeral plans is a burden you can help relieve.  So knowing these facts, one of the greatest gifts of love is to minimize (or preferably eliminate) as much of the emotional and financial pressures as possible.

The sad reality is that more than 70% of those who die today fail to leave behind as much as a Last Will for their family and loved ones.  As unacceptable as that may sound, it gets even worse.  More than 85% of those who die today leave their family with no knowledge of their end of life plans, preferences, or how to pay for their funeral expenses.

Top 10 Reasons to Preplan Your Funeral

1.  Upon your passing, most people don’t have any idea how to get started, what they should know, or who they can turn to.  If you preplan a funeral or burial arrangements, this significantly minimizes the stress and pressures that can accompany such a difficult time of grief and loss.

2.  This advanced planning offers you the opportunity to decide and control just about every detail of your memorial service and how you will be remembered.

3.  By documenting your last wishes, you can ensure that you and your remains are handled, cared for, and placed somewhere that fits you and your preference.

4.  By creating a plan for your final affairs, this can also minimize or eliminate any uncertainties or disputes among your family members. For example, one of the small details that can actually cause serious family disagreements are special family heirlooms.

5.  Preplanning takes the guesswork out of the common questions of “what do we do next” or “what would you have wanted”? A properly structured preplan ensures that your loved ones know exactly what to do, as well as instructions on how to most efficiently implement your bequests.

6.  After suffering the loss of a loved one, some of the biggest challenges your family will face are thing like time constraints, little or no experience with these matters, and limited access to the best possible help and guidance.  Therefore, one of the biggest advantages of creating a sound end of life plan is that, if it is properly structured, it can reduce (or even eliminate) the large majority of these difficulties.

7.  Through preplanning your funeral, as well as paying for your burial and covering your final expenses in advance, this creates a much better overall experience and memorial service for you, your family, and even your Funeral Director.

8.  Since preplanning reduces or avoids a great deal of the obstacles involved in planning a funeral, this extra time allows your family to work through other important matters such as dealing with the grief and loss, planning your memorial service, notifying your loved ones, creating your obituary, writing a funeral eulogy, etc.  The more free time your family has, the much more likely it is they can create a truly special celebration of your life and memories.

9.  After completing your preplanning preferences for your family, this actually ends up enhancing your future too. By having these details planned out in advance, you can now enjoy the “peace of mind” to live every day knowing that you have taken the time to leave behind one of the greatest gifts of love.

10.  By selflessly taking the time to create a comprehensive end of life plan, you will always be remembered in a special way. Your family and loved ones will never forget the fact that you sacrificed your time and resources to take care of these all-important details. In reality, what you’ve done is created an everlasting memory that shows just how much you truly love the ones you care most about.

Action Item – Give Your Family What They Deserve:

When it comes to the things that are important in our lives, proper planning and preparation are some of the key to a successful outcome.  In this situation, my sincere hope is that these 10 reasons serve as an inspiration and incentive to start this planning and preparation today, and become proactive about these all-important estate planning matters. 

Although most families never talk about these kinds of things, just about every family member and loved one would prefer to have these plans in place.  Quite frankly, I think they should demand this from you.  So at the very least, leave your family with two things they absolutely deserve:

1) A Last Will or Living Trust
2) A comprehensive end of life plan, which includes pre-arranging your final plans, preferences, and also your funeral costs

I can assure you that your family will thank you, see how much you loved and cared about them, and also remember your efforts as being one of the greatest gifts you have ever given them.

 
Christopher P. Hill, Founder
FuneralResources.com