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Celebration of Life: Online Tribute and Social Media – Part 4

Another way to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one is via main stream media or online social media tributes. This could be a standalone celebration of life or used to augment a funeral, memorial, or committal service.

Online tributes and social media memorials are gaining in popularity because of their ease of accessibility. Whether it is the celebration of life of a prominent public figure, or if people are emotionally, physically, financially, legally or logistically unable to attend in person, they can still participate virtually from anywhere in the world.  Some people also just prefer to grieve in private, while still paying their respects.

Live-Streaming a Celebration of Life: a Virtual Funeral

The celebration of life could be watched on television for thousands to view or on a smaller scale there could be live streaming of the celebration from the funeral home or church.  If the funeral home does this for the family they will often have a recorded copy to give back to the family afterwards.

With the massive increase in social media, this is a wonderful way to have family and friends participate in the celebration of life no matter their physical location.  Live streaming of the celebration of life allows multiple people to contribute from vast distances.  There is also the ability to record the celebration of life and have a permanent record to share with others or add pictures to after the service.

Online Obituaries

Newspaper death notices are becoming more obsolete, partially due to the cost and the prevalence of online media.  Many funeral homes will also have an online obituary page for the deceased.  Comments sent in from the public are moderated before they are posted online.  There is also the option to make memorial donations or purchase flowers, candles in memory of the deceased.

Facebook Remembrance Pages

The family could set up a private Facebook Remembrance Page and provide access to people who wish to contribute their memories, photos or condolences.

A lady I worked with recently elected to keep her mother’s Facebook page open.  Her rational was that her mom was very active online and knew many people from different interest groups.  She had her hiking club, church groups, family members, friends from work and her book club.  As these different groups did their activities they were able to virtually share them with their deceased friend and often commented how much they missed her and how she would have enjoyed participating.

It may seem slightly creepy to some people to see a deceased person pop up on social media, yet in this situation the daughter was very glad she made this decision and found it very comforting for the family and her mother’s associated Facebook community.

As always please be sure that your trusted representative knows your social media user names and passwords.  For more information on what happens to their social media after a loved one passes, please click here to see my previous blog.

There are many different ways to have a Celebration of Life.  To make sure that your life is celebrated the way you like, start planning now.  Let your loved ones know how you would like to be celebrated and remembered, to relieve stress on their end and to make sure you are remembered the way you like best.

I would love to hear from you and help get the conversation started.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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Celebration of Life: Committal Service – Part 3

There are several ways to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one.

In part 1 of this blog I mentioned that a funeral service means that the body of the deceased is present at the service. In part 2 I mentioned that at a memorial service the body is not present.  Now, I will explain what a Committal Service is and how it is different from the other two services.

A committal service may be the last step in a funeral or memorial service.  Alternatively a committal service could be a standalone celebration of life.

A committal service can be associated with cremation, burial or entombment.

With cremation the committal service could be at a cemetery or at a private location.  If the committal service for cremation is at a cemetery than the cremated remains can be buried into the ground, scatted in a memorial garden or inurned into a niche in a columbarium.

A committal service may also be held at the crematorium prior to the initiation of the cremation process.  This may also be called witnessing cremation and is especially important to people observing Hindu funeral traditions.

With earth burial the committal service is held at the graveside and the final benediction is observed before the casket is lowered into the grave.  Often people will put flowers on top of the casket to pay their last respects to the deceased.  It is the family’s choice to remain to see the casket lowered into the grave and the grave filled in.  Some families elect to participate in this by added a handful or shovelful of soil into the grave.

With entombment of a casket the committal service is held in the mausoleum.  After the final benediction many families remain to witness the casket being raised into the mausoleum space and sealed.

Whether you would like your life celebrated with a funeral, memorial or committal service, it is important to create the right type of service to say goodbye.  This helps your family and loved one express their grief and comfort each other.

You can take this pressure off of your family and friends by creating your own funeral file.  Things to consider doing now are to write your own obituary.  If you are not sure where to start, read other obituaries in print or online.  What do you like about them?  What don’t you like?  The important part is to start.  Perhaps think of three words that sum up your life contributions and achievements.  By outlining what is important to you and what your life means to you; you are letting others know about you and how you want to be remembered.  Just start, something is better than nothing.

Consider also including pictures, songs, poems, readings, or scriptures that you like. The absolute best way to record your wishes for your celebration of life is to have it written down and prepaid at the funeral home.

If you are unsure how/where to start, I invite you to connect with me.  I work with my clients to make this process easier and to avoid any headaches for the family during an already emotional time after the deceased has passed.  To help start the discussion, I offer a free consultation to see the available options and how to get started preplanning.

I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

 

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What is the difference between a funeral service and a memorial service Part 2

There are several ways to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one.

In part 1 of this blog I mentioned that a funeral service means that the body of the deceased is present at the service.  Now I will go over the details of a memorial service and the primary difference between a funeral service and a memorial service.

A memorial service means that the body of the deceased is not present at the celebration of life.  The deceased may have been buried or cremated prior to the memorial service.  Or in other more tragic circumstances, the body of the deceased may not be available to hold a funeral service and the family elects to have a memorial service instead.

Visiting is very common with a memorial service.  Visiting could be a day or two before or a few hours prior to the memorial service on the same day.  Visiting is not obligatory, yet many families value this time to have the support of their family and friends.

A family could hold a memorial service in addition to or in place of a funeral service.  For instance, the family may elect to hold a funeral service in the town where the deceased lived and died. Then hold a memorial service at a later date in the town where the person was born.

Whether you prefer a funeral or a memorial service, the important piece is to think through how you would like your life to be celebrated.

Take a quiet moment and ponder what this looks like for you.  Then take massive action.  Set up your plans and prefund them at the funeral home of your choice.  Finally, let your family know you have done this, especially your Estate Trustee.  Do not include your funeral or memorial services in your will, as the will is typically read after the celebration of life.

One family comes to mind that experienced this unfortunate issue.  When their father died they had no idea how he wanted his life celebrated.  They discussed this and elected to have him cremated and then held a memorial service.  Later when they read his will, they found out he had wanted to be buried – oops!  Unfortunately cremation is irreversible and this family had to live with their decision.

Don’t put your family is this position.  Take charge of your celebration of life and set it up the way you want now.

If you are unsure where/how to start, then I invite you to connect with me.  I work with my clients to make this process easier and to avoid any headaches during an already emotional time after the deceased has passed.  To help start the discussion, I offer a free consultation to see the available options and how to get started preplanning.

I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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What is the difference between a funeral service and a memorial service? Part 1

There are several ways to celebrate the life of a deceased loved one.  Sometimes the terms can be a bit confusing.  Many people do not know the main difference between a funeral service and a memorial service.  At a funeral service the body is present, while at a memorial service it is not.

A funeral service means that the body of the deceased will be present at the funeral service.

The body will be in a casket and the casket may be open or closed.  What I see more often now is that the casket is open initially for the immediate family members only prior to the public visitation.  This private time allows the immediate family members to view the deceased and pay their final respects as they say good-bye for the last time.

The casket is then closed for the public visitation.  Typical visiting times are from two to four in the afternoon and then again from seven to nine in the evening.  These times are not obligatory.  Some families may elect to have visiting from four to nine in the evening or any variation of this.  It is quite uncommon now to have visiting for two or three days.  If there are multiple visiting times it is usually to celebrate the life of a public figure or perhaps it was a sudden and tragic death.

The next day the funeral service may be held in the funeral home or place of worship. If the casket was open for the visitation, it will be closed for the funeral service.  If the funeral is held in a place of worship, then clergy presides.  If the funeral is held in the funeral home, then clergy or a funeral celebrant usually presides.  This is not mandatory and some families elect to have family members conduct the funeral service.

Following the funeral service the deceased is either buried or cremated.

Many families are now electing to have a reception immediately following the funeral service, and the final committal will be done later and privately with the immediate family only.  The rationale here is that if the family has the burial immediately following the funeral service many people will not remain in attendance for the reception and will leave after the funeral service.  Of course this is situational as sometimes the cemetery is close by and people will attend the committal service and/or wait until the family returns from the committal service for the reception.  A reception is not mandatory, yet many families appreciate the social aspects of a reception and the opportunity to catch up with family members and friends.

If the casket is to be cremated and if the funeral was at a place of worship the casket will be returned to the funeral home and then transferred to the crematorium.  The cremated remains will be returned to the funeral home within a few days.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog next week to help you decide what type of service is best for you.

I would love to hear from you.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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What Happens to My Prepaid Funeral Plan If I Move?

I was asked this question three times this week; what happens to my prepaid funeral plan if I move?  And each time I gave the answer: when people set up a prepaid funeral plan the money within the plan is always the purchaser’s money.

The Canada Revenue Agency mandates that the funds within a prepaid funeral plan must be insured to $100,000.00 in the purchaser’s name.  These funds are also earning 2% tax exempt interest within the prepaid funeral plan.

The prepaid funeral plan is called an Eligible Funeral Arrangement (EFA) and this is only available via a licensed funeral home and a licensed funeral director.

As these funds are the purchaser’s funds, if the purchaser moves, these funds move with them.  Similarly if a person moves, their banking accounts, investments and other financial assets also move with them.

Changing the Assigned Funeral Home

When people move, the funds in the EFA are still their funds and the funeral home that the funds are assigned to is changed.  This is a very easy process.  All that is required is a letter from the purchaser asking that the EFA funds be reassigned to the desired funeral home.  There may be an administration fee to do this.  When people work with me, I have never charged this administration fee.

Review New Funeral Home Policies on Accepting Prepaid Funeral Plans

While the funds are easily transferred, there is a potential downside.  The reassignment of the EFA funds does not obligate the new funeral home to guarantee the future cost.  Having stated this, most funeral home are very willing to accept the prepaid funeral plan as this is a future funded funeral that is on their books.

It can be difficult to consider our own mortality, yet this is one certainty in life.  It is so much easier to solve this issue when we are alive, than to have your family thrown into having to plan a funeral when they are in emotional turmoil.

Do you have an EFA in place?  If you want to learn more or if you’re not sure what is important to have organized or how to do this than please click on the link below to purchase your PDF copy or hard copy of the Taking Care of Business – Executors Workbook to help you get started on being organized.  You can connect with me via email or telephone, leave a comment here on the site or click the contact tab at the bottom of the screen if you are reading this post on the website. Don’t forget to join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter too!

Until next time,

Kat

Katherine Downey is the #1 Funeral Preplanning Professional in Canada for the fourth time. She is a professional educator, author, licensed funeral director and insurance advisor. To set an appointment or have your questions answered, please contact Kat directly.

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What is Advance Care Planning and How Do You Choose Who Will Represent You?

Advance Care Planning is the process of deciding and documenting who is your voice and to what extent you want medical treatment in the event of your mental incapacity.

Many people have shared with me that their ideal way to die is to go to sleep and not wake up.  Certainly some people do die this way.  In reality however, many people will have a longer process involved in their future care before they die.

How do you set up an Advanced Care Plan? Read more

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What Happens to One’s Social Media & Digital Footprint When They Die?

Last year a colleague died suddenly and tragically.  It was a tremendous shock to the community and people showed up in droves to pay their respects.  Last week a request to endorse this person popped up on LinkedIn and I was immediately thrown right back to last year.  This left me thinking about what is the best way to handle a deceased person’s presence on social media?  What will happen to their social media accounts and digital footprint in general? Read more

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What Needs to Be Done When Someone Dies?

I had three calls this week from colleagues asking me to guide them through the process of what has to happen when a loved one dies.  Unfortunately in each case there was no preplanning nor had the families had any conversations about what type of funeral the deceased wanted.  Imagine their total bewilderment and shock at having to make important once in a life time decisions – all while they are in a state of total emotional overwhelm.

I think we could all agree that this is not the optimal state of mind to be in to have to make funeral decisions.  Especially when there are so many steps involved that haven’t been thought about.  To give you an idea of this comprehensive list, I have prepared a short list of just a few of the many steps involved in what needs to be done when someone dies. Read more