Writing an Obituary

How to Write an Obituary

When someone you loved has died, it can help to learn how to write an obituary which memorializes the person they were and what they meant to those whose lives they touched.

Obituaries are the things we read when we want to know if our awful ex has died yet. Or maybe her husband. That would be fine too. But when it comes to writing one for a loved one, things can get a little tricky. You’ve read the ones that are too long and too sappy, but you also don’t want to be too funny and make light of the death. You need professional writing advice (just another BURIAL EXPENSE) for how to write an obituary, but you don’t want to give the task to anyone else.

Are You Creative?

But the truth is that if the deceased has not already included their obituary in their funeral insurance and planning materials, it’s time for you to write the obituary. You can be create and try write a poem, though you don’t want to begin with ‘There once was a girl from Nantucket…’ Limericks should not be used. At all. Or you can find a poem from a good poet and use it to commemorate the person, then list the surviving members of the family and their relationships to the deceased.

Checklist For How To Write An Obituary

First of all, make sure the name of the deceased person is there or else no one will know who you’re writing about. And you will also want to include something about the family structure, the spouse, etc. This is going to make sure those family members feel recognized and that they are a part of the funeral process as well. If it’s not too horrifying, you might want to include some mention of how the person died (i.e. a long illness). Avoid things like suicide and a gory car accident.

If the deceased belonged to some organizations, you might want to list these, as well as any offices they may have held. When they were revered at their job, a mention of their profession might also be a good idea. You can also include anything that the person might want to be remembered for… six toes on the left foot, discovering the Internet, etc.

At the end, you will want to talk about the funeral and the memorial service arrangements, assuming you want people to show up. If the services are private, keep them out of the paper. You might also want to include a note about which funeral home is handling the arrangements and where flowers of donations might be sent in memory of the deceased.

Obituaries may not be very humorous or exciting, but they’re certainly easier once you know what to include. And you’re a much better writer than your Uncle Bob, anyway.

Funeral Interment

Interment Burial Factors

Though the funeral planning process is never easy, knowing what the interment burial factors are ahead of time can make the arrangements all the easier for you to make.

Just when you though funeral planning was easy, the funeral director hands you the menu of services. And your eyes pop out of your head. Who knew there were so many things you could do with a dead body? The burial options are astounding. And if the decreased hasn’t done you the favor of MAKING A FUNERAL PLAN or buying BURIAL INSURANCE, you might be on your own as to what to choose and WHAT TO PLAN.

The Many Options for Interment Burial

When money is a problem and a budget burial is something you want to consider, cremation is going to be the best choice. For around $800, you can have a body cremated and pick up the ashes to do with as you wish, assuming you’re not breaking any laws along the way.

You might also want to consider various interment burial options: at a family tomb, a mausoleum, a green burial, or another memorial location. This is basically when the body is placed into a specific area to be buried – in a tomb, in the ground, or in another location. A bit more expensive, these burial options are for those who might want to have a specific place to stop to visit a deceased loved one–and who have money to spend on the privilege.

If you want to bury your loved one at sea, be ready for a challenge. This is something which is generally reserved for those in the military or who were in the military at one point. If not, you might just need to sneak that urn of ashes onto a boat and do it yourself.

And finally, if you’re not ready to put your loved one in the ground or you think they might want to live on in other people, body donation to science is always an option. Yes, you can actually donate your body to science so that researchers and med students can pick at your skin and cut you open long after you’ve died. After all, you’re not using your body anymore, why just let it rot in the ground?

Some people are shooting their ashes into space as well, but it costs big bucks to ride into the universe, so this is not all that popular yet. Funny enough.

Associated Cost of Funerals

While no one wants to think about death, even fewer of us want to think about what it costs. There are costs associated with a funeral or a burial.

Death costs money–what a brilliant market. Since everyone is going to die, it’s a business that never suffers. But just because death and dying costs money doesn’t mean you need to sit there and take it. By learning now about the costs associated with a funeral or a burial, you can start look into BURIAL INSURANCE and how it can help to cover these costs so your loved ones aren’t pulling out their life savings just to pay for your funeral.

Before you die, you need to figure out how much it’s going to cost in order to see if you can afford it–and if your loved ones can pay up. These COSTS INCLUDE EVERYTHING from the transportation of the body, the embalming, the CREMATION, the preparation room, the visitation room, the reception area, the church, the chapel, the funeral limousine, cars for the family members, the flowers, the decorations, the funeral home use, the vault, the URN, prayer cards, programs, GRAVE MARKERS, etc. And don’t forget about the OBITUARY, the honorariums, the headstone, the staff, the equipment…

With all of these costs, you can easily see why the cost of funerals, on average, around $6,000. These are pricey affairs that are certainly once in a lifetime events, thankfully.

To help defray these costs, you might want to keep a little extra money in your bank accounts or in a sock drawer, or even better try to work out a BURIAL PLAN beforehand. But it’s easier and a better policy to look into burial insurance to cover many of the costs. This way, you can rest in peace without resting in debt.

Funeral Planning Saves Money and Grief

Taking the time for funeral planning saves money and grief during a time when you simply don’t want any more pain or suffering in your life.

Funerals certainly are morbid affairs, aren’t they? All that talk about death, blah, blah. What a downer. But if you think you’re doing to die someday, it might be a good idea to think about funeral planning today (see our FUNERAL PLANNING CHECKLIST). Funeral planning saves money and grief for those who have to sit at your funeral and listen to that awful eulogy from your second cousin, twice removed.

Funeral Planning Saves Money

When people are mourning you, they aren’t thinking about how much it’s going to cost to bury you. They’re just listening to the funeral director and nodding, just as the director wants them to. But when you have a burial insurance plan or funeral life insurance in place, you can save your loved ones money–you’ll have already paid for everything ahead of time. Sure, the funeral homes are supposed to provide lists of their expenses, but it’s hard to see those lists when you’re dealing with death, you know.

At the same time, your loved ones might feel like they need to spend more in order to really show they care (not that you’re going to notice). So, when you plan your funeral ahead of time, you can call the shots and prevent them from buying the titanium casket. Plus, who wants to haggle over prices with a funeral director? No one.

Instead, you can do the bargain hunting now while you’re alive and save them the hassle buy securing a sweet deal on a coffin and a plot–two for the price of one!

Funeral Planning Saves Grief

And while you’re trying to help your friends and family through what will be a difficult time, burial life insurance and planning also helps you be at ease. You don’t have to have another worry on your mind if you are sick or if you have a contract hit out on you. You can just know that your loved ones won’t have to deal with anything but their grief when it’s time for you to kick off.

Of course, you’re also saving your friends and family the grief of a $6,000 BILL, sometimes more.

Planning Saves Money and Grief

If you didn’t PREPLAN THE FUNERAL, say you need to plan the ceremony in a hurry. Since you don’t want the deceased’s body to be hanging out for too long, you’ll need to start planning a funeral quickly, even if the deceased doesn’t have burial life insurance. Start by looking for a funeral director you trust and sitting down to talk with them. These people, though creepy, know what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and can help you with any of the icky parts of funerals and death. The funeral director will help you pick out: a ceremony, casket, flowers, plot, etc. They probably have a FUNERAL CHECKLIST and a EXPENSES CALCULATOR as you talk, helping you to add up the funeral plans.

Once the funeral is scheduled and the funeral director rubs their hands together, it’s time to CREATE AN OBITUARY and begin to plan the funeral luncheon, if desired. This will help to give mourners a place to gather after a memorial or church service, plus it will allow the funeral to end on a happier note, and often with alcohol, which makes any death a bit easier to take.

Planning a Funeral in a Hurry

If you didn’t PREPLAN THE FUNERAL, say you need to plan the ceremony in a hurry. Since you don’t want the deceased’s body to be hanging out for too long, you’ll need to start planning a funeral quickly, even if the deceased doesn’t have burial life insurance. Start by looking for a funeral director you trust and sitting down to talk with them. These people, though creepy, know what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and can help you with any of the icky parts of funerals and death. The funeral director will help you pick out: a ceremony, casket, flowers, plot, etc. They probably have a FUNERAL CHECKLIST and a EXPENSES CALCULATOR as you talk, helping you to add up the funeral plans.

Once the funeral is scheduled and the funeral director rubs their hands together, it’s time to CREATE AN OBITUARY and begin to plan the funeral luncheon, if desired. This will help to give mourners a place to gather after a memorial or church service, plus it will allow the funeral to end on a happier note, and often with alcohol, which makes any death a bit easier to take.

Estate Planning

Not only do you need to think about the BURIAL ARRANGEMENTS, but estate planning considerations and funerals go hand in hand. Managing your estate now will prevent legal dramas in the future.

When you think about the idea of an ‘estate,’ you might look around at your dingy home and think there’s not much to it. Your kids and their kids aren’t going to be wrangling over anything. But when it comes to the end of your life, a mismanaged or unmanaged estate can cause just one more worry for your loved ones. Instead of just letting the lawyers jump into the fray after you die, estate planning needs to be a part of your funeral planning and your funeral insurance plan.

Those movies were right…

While you might have laughed at the antics of people who fight over estates in the movies, it’s not nearly as funny for your friends and family when you’re dead and unable to laugh along with them. Sure, the state could come in and help to sort things out too, but they might not do so in a fair way–and that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Your estate isn’t just about your land or your home either–you also need to think about properties you own, who’s going to care for your dependents, and the probate fees for handling this whole mess. The state charges you, after all. They try to squeeze as much money out of you as possible, even when you’re not around to witness it.

The good news is (yes, there is good news) is that it’s quite simple to settle your estate now and prevent legal battles from taking place. All you need is a lawyer to help you write up a will. This piece of paper (well, packet of paper) is going to outline what YOU want to happen to your estate after you die. This means you might give your dishes to your cousin Tim, but the silver to Teresa because she rubs your feet real good. No matter what you want to dictate to happen to your life and your dependents after death, that’s to be covered in your will.

You can also write up a will on your own, but you’ll need to get a kit from the post office or from an office supply store. Then, you’ll need to get it notarized so you can prove it’s signed by you and not by your evil twin. And yes, you can change your will along with your funeral insurance policy if you so choose at any time. Just make a note of the changes, update the signature and the notarization and file it away from your money grubbing cousins.

Death and Taxes

With careful estate planning, you can avoid leaving your loved ones with legal battles and financial stresses. Most estate planning involves a will, assigning the power of attorney and a health care proxy, and possibly a trust.

Proper estate planning first and foremost includes a legal document, known as a will, that ensures that your wishes regarding your assets are carried out after you die. In addition to distributing your property, a will can also declare guardians for your children. Should you die without a will, referred to as in-estate, your assets will be distributed among your relatives by the state court regardless of your requests.

The power of attorney entrusts someone with the authority to manage your financial affairs. The person you bestow the power of attorney on is your agent. An agent can be assigned while you are living to manage your finances even if you are not incapacitated. For example, you can give the power of attorney to a spouse so he or she can manage your finances while you are out of town. However, an agent must be given durable power of attorney in order to have any power over your finances when you die or should you become incapacitated.

In addition to a will and bestowing the power of attorney, estate planning also includes declaring a health care proxy. A health care proxy gives someone the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf should you be incapable of doing so.

Trusts are often a more favorable means of distributing estate than wills due to the avoidance of probate and taxes. A trust transfers money, property, and other assets to heirs, who are also known as beneficiaries. Unlike wills, trusts are not handled by the state’s probate court and therefore avoid legal fees which often add up to 2 to 4 percent of the estate’s total value. Delays in court can last up to a year as the will’s executor catalogs a deceased’s property, pays any standing debts and taxes, and proves the validity and legality of a will in court before distributing the assets. Furthermore, all estate handled through probate is subject to high taxes. Because a trust’s assets are considered owned by the trust and not you, a trust bypasses probate proceedings. The person who sets up the trust is known as the grantor, while the person in charge of the trust’s assets is called the trustee. The heir who inherits the trust’s assets after the grantor’s death is known as the beneficiary.

Wills and other estate plans can be updates at any time. Making a basic will generally costs between $300 and $2,000. Creating a basic trust plan, which includes drafting a will, costs between $1,600 and $2,300 for an individual.

According to Benjamin Franklin, “The only thing certain in life are death and taxes.” Although no one likes the thought of their own death, don’t look at estate planning as digging your own grave. In the end, the goal of estate planning is to distribute your property as you wish after you die, avoid your heirs paying unwarranted taxes on inheritance, and make sure that a person you trust manages your affairs if you are alive but incapable of making decisions.

Funeral Pre-Planning Checklist

Burial Pre Planning Checklist

burial pre planning checklist checklist will quickly allow you to see what you still need to find in a BURIAL INSURANCE policy or a funeral insurance plan.

Checklists are wonderful things. Instead of having to think about your funeral, you can simply check off the FUNERAL PREPLANNING checklist and you’re done with this task of death. Of course, you’ll still need to die at some point, but they never seem to put that on the list. Huh, wonder why?

Let’s make death and all of its details a little easier on you and on your family:

  • Do you want a CASKET or an URN?
  • Do you want to be CREMATED?
  • Do you want to be embalmed or not?
  • Do you want a grave liner?
  • Do you want a burial vault?
  • Do you want a GRAVE MARKER? Headstone? Rolling stone?
  • Do you want flowers at the funeral?
  • Do you want music at the funeral? What kind?
  • Do you want a mass at your funeral? What kind?
  • Do you want a hearse? Other funeral vehicle?
  • Who do you want digging/filling your grave?
  • Where do you want to be buried?

These are a lot of things to think about, and they all come with a price tag. Start by figuring out what you want and then talking to the funeral insurance companies in your area. This way, you can start haggling over what’s covered and what’s not, which might just plan your funeral for you. After all, if the policy is only going to cover $10,000 in FUNERAL EXPENSES, that’s all you should include in your funeral preplanning.

Funeral Etiquette

Burial Etiquette

Knowing the basics of burial etiquette can help you deal with a difficult time, while also making a sad time easier for others to handle around you as well.

Funerals are sad times, aren’t they? Even when FUNERALS ARE PLANNED out, there is still a lot of boo-hooing and crying, and a lot of black suits. Sometimes it feels like things are just a little too heavy and you want to crack a joke, but should you? What are the basics of funeral etiquette and how should you behave so that you don’t get kicked out of the wake?

Wearing black is a good start, but that’s only the beginning of your burial etiquette lesson.

When You’re at a Wake

The wake can be a downright creepy occasion. You are generally viewing the body during this time, in all of its embalmed glory. This is not fun. It is not helpful for the grieving process, but some people need proof the person actually died. And so, wakes are held. To make sure you are on your best behavior, you should talk to the spouse or to the relatives of the deceased at some point, offer your condolences as well as to help if they need anything. If you have a memory to share, that would be a good time too. If you do not want to look at the body, don’t. But if you do, make sure to make it quick so that you don’t hold up the line if it’s a bigger funeral. (And for heaven’s sake, don’t talk about how good/bad a job the embalmer did. Leave that for the car ride home.)

During the Funeral

When you’re at a funeral, you should be wearing black or at least dark colors and staying completely silent. If the priest or the officiate wants you to say something, they’ll tell you. If the funeral is a full mass and you’re not a Christian, participate as you can, but don’t feel like you need to go up for communion if you don’t want to. However, don’t heckle those who do.

After the Memorial Service or Funeral

Sometimes, the deceased will have set up a burial life insurance policy that includes a luncheon or other gathering after the service. If you are invited to come, and all who go to the funeral are, you will want to stop by, pay your respects and then leave. You don’t need to stay all night or drink up all the free beverages. Just linger for as long as feels comfortable, then get out. The only reason you should stay longer is if you are helping to clean up.

First Things First

First Things First

Assuming that you’re not standing right over the body right now–and if you are, call 911 or the funeral home and the coroner’s office to get that body to the morgue–you will want to find the will that the deceased has created. You need to get the real version, not the photocopy in your pocket. These wills are usually filed with lawyers or they might be placed in the top drawer of a dresser in the house of the deceased. In this will, you might find details about the burial insurance they’ve chosen or if they’ve PRE-PLANNED THEIR FUNERAL. If this is the case, you’re all set and you can let the funeral parlor know. When the deceased hasn’t planned their funeral, guess what you need to do?

Let the other loved ones know they need to plan a funeral too. You might want to call up everyone the deceased is close to and let the news of their death spread around. If there’s a gossip in the family, call them first as they will then call everyone else for you, saving you time and cell phone minutes.