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What is a Death Binder in End-of-life Planning?
Jul 08, 2021   09:53 AM
by Karen

Death is both inevitable and painful. Planning for your death is not the most cheerful subject to talk or think about, but life forces us to do just that. With age comes the realization that the prospect of our death is more painful for people who love us than for ourselves. You and I cannot escape death, but we can at least plan for it. Planning for your death is the most gratuitous thing you can do for your family and loved ones. A death binder is a tool that helps you do that.

A death binder has many names. Some call it an end-of-life binder, others call it a family emergency binder or financial information binder. Whatever you call it, the basic purpose and uses remain the same. Your death binder is designed to store all your financial information in one place. It is a compact way of storing all your financial and other important documents. The advantage of having all your important papers in one file is such a blessing for your family once you are no more. You would be helping them while they are in the throes of grieving your death.

How to make your death binder

There is no strict formula to a death binder. What you need to keep in mind is that this has to be the ONLY place where you store your documents. Alternatively, you can put a copy of the document in the binder along with a note saying where the original can be found. It’s also good to have someone familiar with the contents and location of documents, most often a close family member or trusted friend.

Customize your death binder however you want. Organize it into different sections, each for categories like housing, insurance, health, car, etc. If you are more comfortable with screens than with papers, you can do the same thing on your computer. The idea is to have safe storage for each and every important document that you accumulate over a lifetime. Some funeral homes even offer folders or information packets. Just remember to keep the underlying principle in mind: have everything organized in one place so it is easy to make arrangements for your death.


Thanks for reading,


Questions You Should Be Asking a Funeral Home Before Deciding
Mar 12, 2021   11:48 AM
by Karen

A funeral home refers to the physical location where funeral or burial services are carried out for the deceased and their families. Most people don't want to think about such services, but it's good to stay prepared because when you're grieving the loss of a loved one, you don't want to have to worry about such things.

Being prepared means getting in touch with funeral homes and deciding on one that can offer you what you need. Here are some questions you should ask before you make your decision about a funeral home:

  • How much experience do you have?

Checking whether the funeral home is family-owned or part of an independent business and how long they’ve been operating will be able to give you an idea of the experience they have. It’s also important to determine if the funeral home is a part of professional associations or organizations so that you’re assured of professional standards of operation.   

  • What are the basic and additional costs?

Get clarity on the costs involved. Basic services will include funeral planning, preparation of notices, securing the permits required, sheltering remains, and more. You will have to get clarity on additional expenses that you need to pay for so that you’re not shocked by the bill at the end.

  • Can the funeral service be customized to my needs?

You will want to choose a funeral home that allows you to customize certain aspects of the service to suit your needs. This could be in terms of obituaries, prayer cards, photos, and more. Some customizations may be allowed without any additional cost, but others may add to your bill. 

  • What options for payment do I have?

You should check whether the funeral home can coordinate with your insurance company to arrange for financial assistance, especially for the expensive services involved.   

  • Is your staff available on call 24/7?

Make sure you pick a funeral home that allows you to have 24/7 access to staff and clearly outlines how long it will take for staff to arrive once you've called them.

Answering these questions will help in expediting your good choice in a funeral home.


Thanks for reading,


All You Need to Know About Advance Healthcare Directive
Dec 21, 2020   04:08 PM
by Karen

Imagine a situation when you are too injured or sick and are unable to express your healthcare wishes. You will certainly need someone who will be able to make those decisions on your behalf and provide the needed care. This is where you need an advance healthcare directive. Fundamentally, it is an important legal document that lets you express all your end-of-life healthcare wishes before any unexpected event occurs.

An advance healthcare directive is made up of two parts:


  • Healthcare proxy: This is the most crucial section where you name an agent. Your agent should be a person(s) whom you can trust and can represent you in the execution of your wishes when an unexpected event, such as your sickness or injury, renders you incapable of making decisions. This person(s) is called your healthcare power of attorney (POA).


  • Living Will: The second part of your advance healthcare directive is the living will. This part lets you express your thoughts about the care that is intended to prolong your life. You can choose to either accept or refuse medical care commonly related to resuscitation, dialysis, tube feedings, and breathing machines. It is also possible to express your wishes when it comes to organ and tissue donation. It is usually difficult to fill this part of the advance directive form because it causes individuals to reflect on their core beliefs and values on their end-of-life treatment. This section of the advance directive may evoke difficult emotions—something in which people have to deal with maturity and pragmatism.

Once you have completed your advance healthcare directive, you have to make it legal by getting it notarized or signed by any two witnesses besides your healthcare proxy. Once your directive becomes legal, you need to give a copy of it to your medical practitioner, healthcare proxy, and family.


Thanks for reading,


End of the Life Planning for Cancer Patients
Nov 11, 2020   09:33 AM
by Karen

The American Cancer Society makes a shocking estimate that close to 606,520 Americans are likely to have died of cancer in 2020. Anticipation of the end of life (EOL) and taking necessary or preferred health care decisions while nearing this period is mentally and emotionally distressing for patients with advanced cancer and everyone around them. These people include their families and friends, doctors, and other caregivers. But, the adverse repercussions of failing to plan for the shift to EOL care are usually greater psychological distress, inconsistent medical treatments, use of burdensome and costly health care aids that are of little benefit, and/or a tough bereavement.

Determining the quality of EOL care

EOL planning provides cancer patients with the necessary tools to make proper health care and financial decisions during a period when they are physically and mentally capable of making decisions. The four main components of EOL planning for cancer patients include:

1) Drafting a living will or an advance directive (AD),

2) Granting a person a power of attorney for their health care,

3) Writing a document specifying the terms for distribution of assets and wealth, and

4) Expressing preferences for the type and location of care.

Patients and oncologists often tend to avoid or postpone EOL planning until the final days or weeks of life. This may be owing to the many potential reasons at the individual, familial, or societal levels. However, emerging evidence suggests that people can overcome many of these factors.

The patient suffering from advanced cancer, along with their family and friends, and the oncologist often encounter treatment decisions that significantly affect the patient’s quality of life (QOL). The quality of EOL care in patients with advanced cancer can be determined by asking the following questions:

  • Which guidelines evidence the assessment of QOL?
  • What time period specifies the EOL?
  • How accurate, readily available, and plausible are the indicators of QOL?
  • Are these indicators linked to desired results?
  • What constitutes high EOL?
  • Is the patient’s preference given precedence?

If these EOL factors are properly considered, an increasing number of advanced cancer patients may go for a new chemotherapy session a month before their death or continue with it at least till two weeks before death. Also, an increasing number of advanced cancer patients go for hospice care, which really is a healthy alternative.


Thanks for reading,



Don’t Make These Mistakes While Buying a Casket for a Loved One
Oct 29, 2020   08:46 AM
by Karen

When you lose a loved one, choosing a casket is an important part of planning their funeral. Choosing a casket is more important than it appears, because it is where your loved ones are put to rest.

To help you pick the best possible casket suited to your needs, here are some common mistakes you should avoid while buying a casket for a loved one.

  • Not setting a budget first before shopping for caskets

Caskets, especially good, high-quality caskets, are not inexpensive. They can cost a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, which is why you need to fix a budget right from the very start. You will have to consider other funeral expenses too, such as booking the venue, catering, flowers, and setting aside money for the casket accordingly.

  • Going in without any research or idea of what you are looking for

There are all kinds of caskets available today. Are you looking for a very simple wooden casket? Or perhaps you are looking or something a little fancier and ornate like a metal casket with detailing? Before you make a purchase, make sure you do some research first and have a fair idea of the kind of casket that will suit your needs, taste, and budget. You can check our website for your options.

  • Choosing a casket that your loved one wouldn’t have chosen for themselves

Having lots of choices can be overwhelming, and sometimes, you may pick a casket that doesn’t suit the personality or taste of your loved one at all. It’s important to remember that this is a casket where they will lay their heads forever, so carefully choose a casket that best reflects the kind of person they were. Don’t go for something you know that they wouldn’t like.


Thanks for reading,


4 Qualities of a Good Funeral Director
Oct 22, 2020   08:37 AM
by Karen

Choosing the right funeral director can have an immense impact on not just the successful organization of the funeral ceremony, but also on your own mental health and peace of mind. Losing a loved one is hard enough by itself, but having a funeral director you can depend on can really take away some of the burden.

Here are the four most important qualities that you should look for in a funeral director:

  • Excellent communicator and listener

 A funeral director must be a great communicator and listener. They have to ensure that they understand and respect the final wishes of the deceased or the wishes of the families. They must also be able to clearly explain what the process of funeral planning would be like and answer any questions or doubts that families have. 

  • Great organizational and management skills

Funeral planning is no cakewalk. It takes a lot of organization, coordination and management of a number of tasks in just a few days. This is why a funeral director needs to be on top of things at all times.

  • Willingness to keep learning

There are many aspects to funeral planning that the funeral director must be aware of, including customs and traditions, the latest industry news and updates, the right contacts and connections, as well as creativity and innovation. The director must be someone who is ready and willing to keep learning and growing in their career.

  • Compassionate and understanding

Finally, make sure that you find a funeral director who is compassionate, kind and understanding of what you are going through. They should be empathetic and never try to take advantage of you when you are grieving and in a vulnerable situation. Instead, they should always look out for your best interests.


Thanks for reading,


What to Know When Buying a Burial Plot?
Sep 03, 2020   08:33 AM
by Karen

Traditional burials in cemeteries are still the most preferred form of burials today, despite the rise of many other burial methods. For those of you who wish to follow traditions, or for those who would like to be buried next to their loved ones, then a traditional in-ground burial could be the best option for you and your family.

Whether you are buying a plot in advance for yourself, or you are planning the funeral of a loved one, here are a few essential things that you should keep in mind when buying a burial plot.

  • Location

One of the first questions you may have is where to buy a burial plot. Location is an important choice, and it may be influenced by various factors including cost, whether your loved ones are buried in a particular cemetery, ease of accessibility, and more. Make sure that you carefully consider all these factors when choosing the location, keeping in mind family traditions as well as personal preferences. 

  • Type of burial plot

The next consideration is the type of burial plot you are going to buy. The most common burial plots today include a single plot, a companion plot, and a family plot. If you wish to be buried side by side with a loved one, then a companion plot is a great choice. If you wish to be buried next to your family members, then a family plot could be perfect for you.

  • Headstones and burial markers

A traditional in-ground burial usually comes with burial markers, monuments or headstones, where the name, date, and other inscriptions are engraved. Whether you go for a gray or colored stone, or marble, or even some other material, this is not only a way to mark the gravesite, but also a meaningful and beautiful way to honor the memory of a loved one who has passed.


Thanks for reading,


Top Tips About End of Life Planning
Aug 18, 2020   09:04 AM
by Karen

We can never predict what life or death can bring. However, we can always prepare. End of life planning can involve a whole process of introspection, learning, and discussion with your loved ones. End of life planning in older adults aims to provide tools to control their financial and healthcare decisions when they are no longer in a state to do so.

Here are the top tips that can help an older person with the end of life planning:

  • Plan ahead for the last stages of life

Most older people think of the end of life planning as planning for the last moments of their life. Rather, the planning should involve having healthcare plans that help navigate the healthcare decisions in the later stages of life. The planning should help you, your loved ones or your doctor navigate the crucial healthcare decisions needed. Consider drawing up a health care directive and give copies to doctors and family.

  • Talk to your doctors to know what to expect

Talking to your doctors about what to expect is especially important for people with chronic conditions. If you know how these chronic conditions progress, you know what to expect and how to plan ahead. You may also look for extra information from other medical experts.

  • Take the process of reflection seriously

The older person needs to reflect on their preferences, values, and wishes. There are several online tools available to help you do that. Aging adults should be able to answer vital questions like choosing a decision-maker, and the flexibility that the decision-maker has. Help them understand what truly matters to them and how to let others know of their wishes.

  • Prepare to face uncertainty

Nothing works as it’s been planned in life. Hence, it is essential to be prepared for life's uncertainties. You may have made a decision now, however, it may not always be the right decision at a later stage in life. Be prepared to weigh the pros and cons of a situation and then make a decision according to it.

End of life planning is often a difficult topic for older adults as well as their families. Besides the medical aspects, it is also important to keep relationships, emotions, and spirituality in mind when making decisions.


Thanks for reading,


A Guide to Pre-Purchasing Cemetery Plots
Jul 07, 2020   11:14 AM
by Karen

Death is something none of us wants to plan for, but pre-purchasing cemetery plots for burial has plenty of benefits. Not only does it save your loved ones plenty of trouble in planning your funeral after you pass away, you also have the option of choosing the exact plot you want your remains to be buried in.

There are different types of cemetery plots, also known as funeral plots or burial plots. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Single plot, which is a burial plot meant for a single individual.
  • Side-by-side plot, which refers to two plots which are located next to each other for burying two people, usually couple. They are also known as companion plots.
  • Double-depth plot, which is burial space for two people to be buried on top of each other.
  • Private estate, available in some cemeteries, allow you and your family to be buried in a reserved private space.

When you purchase a plot, it doesn’t mean that you are purchasing the land itself, but rather the right to buried in that land. This is referred to as interment rights. The rights holder, through written permission, can also have someone else buried in that plot of land.

In most states in the US, the price of funeral plots vary from $1000 to $5000. Of course, there are plenty of other factors at play apart from the state in which you buy the plot. The type of plot you buy as well was when you buy can affect the price. Pre-purchasing often has lower costs compared to the inflated prices you can expect years from now.

Additional costs

There are several additional costs you will have to consider as well such as a grave liner, installation of the headstone or monument, endowment care, opening and closing of the grave, annual maintenance fees, etc.

In the US, once you purchase a burial plot, you have the rights to be buried in it indefinitely. However, there may be variations from state to state.


Thanks for reading, 


Why Advance Care Planning Has Become Even More Necessary Now During the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic
Jun 04, 2020   10:56 AM
by Karen

When pregnant women visit the hospital, they already have a “birth plan” in place. However, the same is not true for people when they get admitted to hospitals with an illness. We rarely have a “death plan”. Now, more than ever, it is crucial to prepare with end-of-life planning. Medical practitioners are urging people to have their advance care directives in place, or at least, in the drafting stage when they come to the hospital for admittance.

Advance directives basically consist of written instructions pertaining to your care, which let your medical and familial caregivers know how you’d like your treatment to progress if you can no longer speak for yourself. For example, a living will is a kind of advanced care directive. Appointing your power of attorney is also in line with advanced care planning.

The culture and society we live in traditionally practices denial of our impending death. As a result, the government does not have policies in place which deliver the public with sufficient information on how to carry out end-of-life planning. Even our medical professionals are uncomfortable in broaching that discussion early into a person’s treatment.

You Can Reduce the Guilt and Trauma You Feel Later By Encouraging End of Life Planning

Aggressive medical interventions can take a toll on the patient’s family and friends. If the individual had been encouraged to participate in advanced care planning, the family would no longer have had to shoulder the responsibility of making these life-altering decisions for them. It would lessen their guilt and trauma.

The Novel Coronavirus pandemic has brought humanity to a point where we are all questioning the certainty of life. So, there is no better time than now to roll up your sleeves and dig deep into how you’d like to be put to rest when your days are numbered. Advanced care planning can help you and your close ones rest easy.


Thanks for reading,


Common Misconceptions About Pre-Planning Your Own Funeral
Jan 31, 2020   11:22 AM
by Karen

Pre-planning your own funeral has a ton of benefits, yet many people still don’t consider it. Most people don’t understand the advantages pre-planning brings to their family and this is because the process is shrouded with misconceptions. Below, we discuss these common misconceptions about pre-planning your own funeral.

  • You don’t need to pre-plan your funeral if you are financially secure

Pre-planning your funeral may help you plan more effectively, thus cutting costs. This has given rise to the notion that if you are financially secure and you or your family can afford a funeral that isn’t pre-planned, then you don’t need to pre-plan. This is not true. Anyone, regardless of their financial background, can benefit from funeral planning.

  • It is too time-consuming and complicated

It’s easy to think that pre-planning your own funeral would be a complicated process that takes up a lot of your time and energy, but this isn’t the case at all. In fact, all you have to do is fill out a form and tell the funeral director what your requirements are. The funeral director will provide you with assistance every step of the way.

  • You can simply tell your family your funeral wishes

If you think that you don’t need to pre-plan your funeral because you can simply tell your family your funeral wishes, think again. There are chances of misunderstandings and miscommunications, or you might miss something. After all, funeral planning is much more than simply choosing between cremation and a burial.

  • It doesn’t matter because you won’t be here

It’s your funeral and you won’t be here, so it’s not your problem, right? While this holds true to a certain extent, you may want to think about your family, who will have to take the responsibility of planning your funeral. They would already be grieving, and taking a huge task like funeral planning off their hands would allow them space and time to mourn the passing of a loved one without having worries.  


Thanks for reading,


What To Know About Choosing A Cemetery
Nov 07, 2019   08:32 AM
by Karen

What To Know About Choosing A Cemetery

In every funeral arrangement, the choice of the cemetery is an essential factor. It is, after all, the place where the body is buried and laid to rest. If you are pre-planning your funeral, or whether you are planning funeral arrangements for someone else, there are a few things that you need to consider before choosing a final resting place.

To make sure that you choose the right cemetery, remember to ask these questions below.


Which type of cemetery should you choose?

There are different types of cemeteries, including cemetery associations, private memorial cemeteries, religious cemeteries, district or municipal cemeteries, national or veterans’ cemeteries, and home burial.

Usually, cemetery associations are the most common choice. They are non-profit and run by a volunteer board of directors for the benefit of a local community. Religious cemeteries are another popular choice. They are also non-profit and owned by a religious organization such as the church. Private memorial parks are owned and operated by a private corporation. District or municipal cemeteries are another option. They are non-profit and owned either by the city or the county. You can even choose burial in your own property.

What are the rules and requirements of the cemetery?

Each cemetery may have different rules regarding burial and other related things, such as the types and sizes of headstones, types of decorations, etc. There may be additional charges or fees as well. Remember to check if the cemetery can meet your personal requirements.

What is the location of the cemetery?

If the person who died had already chosen a burial plot while they were alive, then the location of the cemetery is not a problem. But if they haven’t, then it is up to you to choose a cemetery location that is the most meaningful. While some want to be buried where they lived, some may wish to rest in the place where they grew up. Proximity to loved ones is another consideration.


Thanks for reading,


Funeral Costs – Everything You Should Know
Oct 03, 2019   09:24 AM
by Karen

While dealing with the death of a loved one you also have to plan a funeral. Before getting in touch with burial planning professionals, the question on your mind is – how much is this going to cost?

According to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) the median cost of such an event, with burial will cost $7,360. If you don’t take the adequate steps to prepare yourself and your family, it is common to experience financial hardship.

Given below is everything you need to know about funeral costs, along with how you can pay this type of service:

Basic services fee

When preparing for a funeral, the highest cost will be the basic services fee. You will be paying for the following:

  • Obtaining permits for funeral
  • Contacting and coordinating with a cemetery
  • Planning the funeral

On average, you will be paying $2,000 for this service. However, these fees can change depending on your state of residence.


Another expensive cost when it comes to planning a funeral is the casket. The type you choose along with the material of construction determines how much you have to spend. The price for caskets can vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Preparation and transportation of remains

You need to pay the burial planning professionals for preparing the remains of the loved one.

  • The most common process is embalming if you are going to have an open-casket service.
  • If you want cosmetic preparation services, such as clothing, hairdressing, and applying makeup, the cost will go up.
  • The burial planning professionals will charge you for transporting the remains to the mortuary.

How to pay for funeral costs?

A common method is to rely on the provider to cover these costs if the deceased had life insurance. While you can opt for companies that specialize in burial insurance, it can be an expensive affair.

The best option will be to find out if the burial planning professionals have financing options available. With this strategy, you can break down the costs over several months, making it easier to pay off the amount.


Thanks for reading,


Early Planning for Proper Farewells
Feb 05, 2018   03:43 PM
by Karen


Making all the necessary arrangements for bidding a proper farewell to your loved one from this world requires some time and preparation. Funeral services are the last parting gesture connecting one to this world. There are important details and expectations regarding how one might want to depart from this world. There are internment decisions to be made (burial, cremation, burial at sea, donation, medicine, eulogies obituaries, and so on), things that you would want to leave behind and how you want to be treated on your final day. All of this requires pre-planning. It is advised to draw up an estimate of cost based on one’s expectations.

There are quite a few financially beneficial options present such as funeral insurance, pre-booking of cemetery space, and pre-need contracts for funeral services. Your final resting place should be a place of your approval. So it is wise to make an early choice on the type of casket or urn of your preference. Pre-need vessels are quite common today. You might also want to organize all your personal information and documents. This will make things easier while framing your obituary.

There are a variety of funeral events that can be organized at the final day. You can choose to observe your religious rites or have a wake. You can also have a viewing or a gathering of your friends and family afterwards. You can choose services or acts carried out to honor your last wishes. Make an early note of them. Decide upon your favorite song or hymn that you would like to be played on that day. Finally, draw up a list of people that you would want to be notified after your departure. Your family, friends, and colleagues at various organizations, whoever you think would be affected, should be on the list.

With careful pre-planning and management of resources, you can make your final day a profound gesture to your loved ones.


Thanks for reading,


Top Reasons Why You Should Pre-Plan Your Funeral
Dec 19, 2017   10:10 AM
by Karen


It’s no doubt that death is an uncomfortable subject to talk about. You may think that planning your own funeral in advance is as grim as it gets, but it’s extremely important. In fact, many people have considered pre-planning their own funeral a must. After all, it has so many benefits. Some of them are listed below.


  1. Allow your family to grieve and mourn in peace

When your time comes, your family will undoubtedly be under a lot of emotional stress. They will be in grief. On top of this, if you do not pre-plan your own funeral, they will have to deal with the extra burden of planning it for you. But if you have all your affairs in order before you die, it means they will have time to properly mourn and give you a meaningful final goodbye.


  1. Lift the financial burden from your family

Funerals can be very financially draining. This means that your grieving family will have an extra burden on their shoulders too. But when you pre-plan, you make the payments for your own funeral beforehand. This removes a huge financial load from your family, and allows them to focus on making your funeral meaningful for them.


  1. Enables you to have a funeral exactly the way you want it

When you pre-plan, you have the freedom to make every choice the way you want it. Do you want to be buried or cremated? Do you want an open casket or closed casket? Which music do you want to be played? In short, every wish of yours on how you want to be let go can be followed. If you have any specific preferences, all you have to do is list them down on your funeral plan. Even if you don’t want a funeral, that can also be followed.


Thanks for reading,