Talking about death is often difficult. Yet a death in the family may create problems for the survivors which can be alleviated by discussion and pre-planning. There are many different reasons for pre-arranging a funeral. Some people may want the assurance of a funeral and burial that meet their personal beliefs, standards or lifestyle. Others feel a responsibility to assist survivors by arranging approximate cost guidelines. Actually, there are as many explanations for pre-arranging funerals as there are people requesting them. At Miller-Ward Funeral Home, careful counseling with our Funeral Director helps to avoid unwise or hasty planning or decisions. Entering into a pre-arrangement discussion provides an opportunity to indicate one’s wishes in writing. It should be prefaced by a review and evaluation of current funeral costs, funeral ceremony and alternate funeral and burial procedures.
In many instances, persons who pre-arrange a funeral will also wish to take care of pre-financing at the same time either for the entire amount or a portion thereof. Various state regulatory agencies govern the control and mandate the requirements for pre-financing a funeral with a funeral home. The Funeral Director is knowledgeable of the laws governing the pre-financing of funerals and is the person most suited for professional guidance in this area. Selecting one’s funeral in advance and making the financial commitment for payment affords the person peace of mind that all the details at the time of death will be carried out as arranged.
Most everyone should have a will. It is the only way a person is relatively sure that all of their assets and earthly possessions are distributed in accordance with their wishes. One of the more important aspects of drawing up a will is the appointment of an executor. He or she should be someone in whom there is utmost confidence and trust to use sound judgment in decision making. If there is a will, the deceased is said to have died "testate." The executor named in the will must file the will with the Probate or Surrogate Court within the time prescribed by statute and proceed with the distribution of the assets of the estate according to the provisions the deceased has prescribed. If there is no will but there are assets, the deceased is said to have died "intestate." This involves the appointment of an administrator by the Surrogate judge and the assets of the estate are distributed according to the State Statute of Descent.
After being signed by the attending physician who indicates the cause of death, the death certificate is filed in exchange for a burial or removal permit. The death certificate then becomes a permanent legal record and copies may be obtained upon request. Such copies are required to settle insurance and other claims.
Notifying friends and relatives of the death may be a burden for the family. We can assume that responsibility to whatever extent the family wishes. We can place newspaper notices and contact relatives, clergy and religious organizations the family wishes to be notified.
Memorial and Monument Selection
To afford cemetery plot owners general protection, most cemeteries retain the right to approve the type of memorial to be placed on the grave site. Some cemeteries have restrictions on size and design of memorials, while others require only that a flush-with-the-ground plaque be used. After determining if any cemetery restrictions prevail, a reputable retail monument dealer can be recommended. The quality, material, design and craftsmanship of a memorial deserves very careful consideration.
Cemetery Plot Selection
When purchasing a cemetery plot, it should be ascertained whether the cemetery meets the requirement of the family's religion. One should also determine just what restrictions, if any, the cemetery might enforce in regard to the kind of outside burial vault to be used and the type of monument or memorial to be erected. Perpetual care is more often than not included in the purchase.