A funeral is an important ceremony that allows people to say their final good-byes to a loved one who has passed away. As such, there are many significant decisions that need to be made while planning the funeral.
Some of the most significant decisions regarding funerals include whether the body should be buried or cremated, where to bury, where to scatter ashes, whether a certain religious tradition should be followed, etc.
These decisions make up your funeral, and if you haven’t already left instructions or decided on who should make choices on your behalf, it’s time you consider it. If you have made your wishes known, then it is a statutory obligation for your survivors to honor those wishes.
There are various ways a person can make their funeral preferences known, including who will make the decisions. Some of these include a Living Will, a Last Will and Testament, as well as other legal documents such as Disposition Authorization Affidavit, Authorization for Final Disposition, or Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains.
Keep in mind--If there are no instructions left by the deceased
If you do not leave behind any instructions or preferences regarding your own funeral, then the responsibility to make these decisions fall upon your nearest relative. This could be your husband, wife, children, parents, sister, brother, etc.
To qualify as a relative who can make decisions regarding a funeral, a person must be over 18 years old. First, the spouse or domestic partner is considered, after which the children are prioritized. If neither of these is present or available, then parents, siblings, authorized guardian, grandchildren, aunts and uncles, and even cousins can qualify as next of kin and make decisions regarding a funeral.
In some situations, a very close friend of the deceased can even be considered as next of kin if blood relatives are not available.
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When a loved one dies in a foreign country, it can be easy to worry and feel helpless. What do you do to get the remains back? Who do you have to contact for help?
Depending on the country of death, local protocols can be very different. However, there are three main steps that you have to follow if a loved one dies in a different country.
The first thing you can do is contact your embassy or consulate in the country where the death occurred. They will help you get in touch with the foreign offices so you can get the remains back safely and as quickly as possible. They will also provide you with instructions on how to send the funds required to cover the costs.
Apart from making arrangements for the return of the remains, they will also issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad, a legal document with important details of the passing.
In addition to the Consular Report of Death Abroad, there are many documents that you need to get the remains back home. These may include a Foreign Funeral Affidavit, a Consular Mortuary Certificate, a Transit Permit, etc.
Depending on the country of death, the rules may be different regarding who can claim the body and sign the required paperwork. So, make sure to work out these details with your consulate or embassy so you can decide if you need to go abroad.
While the foreign side of the process will be taken care of the consulate or embassy, a trusted funeral home in the US can help you with arrangements back home. Always make sure that the funeral home you choose is willing to accommodate the time differences.
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When someone dies, their loved ones handle their important financial and legal works. But one thing that many people tend to forget, although everyone has them, are social media accounts. In today’s 21st century digitized world we live, what do you do with someone’s social media accounts after they die?
Google has what is known as Inactive Account Manager, which enables the account holder to set a time period, after which the account will be automatically deleted or designated to someone else if it is inactive for that selected time period. This can be three, six, nine, or twelve months. But if the account holder has not used this option, you can directly contact Google to manage the account of the deceased. Although the company won’t give out passwords, it does entertain requests to close accounts.
The Facebook account of someone who has died can either be memorialized or deleted. Memorialization is a common option, as it keeps all the posts from the account visible, and friends can post on the timeline depending on the settings. The word “Remembering” is placed next to the name. Memorialization requests can be made in the Help Center page of Facebook.
Another option is to delete the account, which would require you to provide documents to prove that you are either an immediate family or estate executor of the deceased. You can then send a request to Facebook to delete the account.
The Twitter account of someone who has died can be permanently deleted. However, you need to prove you are an immediate family or the executor of the estate of the deceased. You will have to submit documents like a death certificate and your own ID.
Like Facebook, an Instagram account can either be deleted or memorialized. However, deletion can be requested only by immediate family members, for which you will have to provide proof
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Donation in any form is a generous act. There are many people who are in dire need of food and clothing who can benefit from it. When you lose a loved one, it is difficult to part from their belongings. Most of us cling to them in our mourning their death. What if they can be honored by helping those in need? Why not give away a lost one’s clothes and some belongings to charity?
Before you donate to charity, keep the following points in mind:
Remember, when you donate your loved one’s clothes to charity, you honor them by helping someone in need.
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Everyone You Need to Notify After Someone Dies
After someone dies, it is important that the right people are notified of the death. Apart from friends and family, there are several agencies and institutions that must be contacted and informed of this occurrence.
If the death was unexpected, make sure you call 911 immediately. If not, then call your medical practitioner. This should be done immediately after the death.
In the following few days, you will have to contact more people, informing them of the situation. These include:
It is necessary to get in touch with all financial institutions that your loved one had an account and notify them of the death. So make sure you call any bank that your loved one had a savings account in, or through which he/she held credit cards, mortgages, insurance policies, etc. so that the accounts can be frozen. However, before you do so, make sure you have a death certificate as well as letters of administration.
Next up, utilities and service providers that provide electricity, gas, water, internet, phone, TV, or other monthly or yearly subscriptions need to be contacted as well so that their services can be cancelled.
The Social Security Administration must also be notified of the death if your loved one was a recipient of social security benefits. Moreover, you may able to receive survivor benefits from the government if you qualify. For example, if the deceased was a veteran, informing the Department of Veterans Affairs may be able to get you survivor benefits.
You will also need to redirect your loved one’s mail to your house if you did not live together.
While losing a loved one is never easy, contacting these people in a timely manner will help you avoid problems in the future.
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