Funeral and Cemetery Facts We All Need To Know Introduction and Pop Quiz Facts and Fictions Questions and Answers Closing
WHO AM I ? • Katie Cecilia, a Family Service Counselor at Woodlawn Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home. • Active in the industry for Four Years originally only working with families to pre-plan burial arrangements and after 3 months I progressed to now serving families with pre-arrangements and at the time of passing. • My main objective in the cemetery and funeral industry is to raise awareness of how to pre-plan and prepare for a loved ones passing. • Scholarship winner in 2010 to ICCFAU as a prevalent up and coming counselor, Ranked in the Top 25 Sales Counselors of Virginia for the past two years, and current Senior Counselor at your local Woodlawn Memorial Gardens in Norfolk , VA
POP QUIZ TIME !!!Raise your hands, answer, and win a prize! • What is the current death benefit given from The Social Security Administration? • ANSWER: $255 One Lump Sum Payment • Who is eligible for the $255 One Lump Sum Payment? • ANSWER: The Lump Sum death benefit is payable upon the death of a person who has worked long enough to be insured under Social Security. • A surviving spouse if she or she was living with the deceased; or receiving certain Social Security Benefits on the deceased person’s record • If there is no surviving spouse, a child who is eligible for benefits on the deceased person’s record in the month of death. • What is the only way to lock in burial costs at today’s current prices? • ANSWER: Pre-planning Arrangements with your cemetery of choice!!!
Fact 1: Cremation Rates Are Rising • In 1960 statistics show a 4% cremation rate in the State of Virginia • In 2012 statistics show a 47% cremation rate in the State of Virginia WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? • Cremation is the new form of burial sweeping our nation. It has been accepted by cultures and religions who previously rejected this form of disposition. Most under the restriction that Memorialization must still occur after the cremation, meaning a burial ceremony and blessing of the cremains must take place. • More unique innovative concepts of Memorialization are being introduced to families making arrangements quite complicated if not discussed in advance. Cremation allows for more options… period.
FACT 2:Veterans Benefits At Private Cemeteries • Most Veterans believe there burial benefits are only applicable at a Government Cemetery. • The Next of Kin can apply for burial credits through the VA which now includes burial credits for Burial Vaults and Memorials • Many private cemeteries only allow Flat Bronze on Granite Memorials, leaving the granite purchase to the family members at time of passing. This can be pre-arranged at your local cemetery of choice. • Mausoleum and Niche Bronze Emblems now available through the VA • Many Funeral Homes may have to charge for transportation to a Government Cemetery due to distance. It is important to alert your pre-planning funeral director your wishes to be buried at Arlington or Horton
FACT 3:THE STATE DOES NOT REQUIRE BURIAL VAULTS OR EMBALMING TO BE LAID TO REST • HOWEVER… Almost all of our local cemeteries do require them, so one MUST be purchased prior to, or at time of passing if your cemetery requires it. • Embalming requirements varies from Funeral Home to Funeral Home. At Woodlawn our policy is that you must be embalmed if you are having a visitation/viewing. • Certain forms of burial may require embalming • Each cemetery can have its own level of quality to accepted Burial Vaults also known as Outer Burial Containers. • The State Law and Regulations requires that you are embalmed or placed in refrigeration within 24 hours after being taken in the care of a funeral home if you are choosing cremation options. If traditional burial is to take place you must be embalmed within 48 hours or placed in refrigeration.
FACT 4: Pre-planning saves 1,000’s of dollars • Cemetery costs have doubled every 7-10 years since 1931 • In 1958 the average cemetery property cost $95 for an interment right alone. • The national average for a cemetery plot today costs $3500 at a time of passing. • Current Burials of someone who pre-planned in 1958 are showing a savings of $14,000 plus due to pre-planning all needed costs for burial in the cemetery. • Instant savings programs are provided by most cemeteries as well as owner protection benefits and child/grandchild benefits that cost nothing to have on your contract. • While most pre-planned funeral services are non-guaranteed, they are interest bearing and can provide refunds if started early in age.
Fact 5POA ceases at time of passing Most don’t realize that their POA (power of attorney) for their loved one ceases at time of passing. This is VITAL to understand if you are the POA and do not have your name identified on bank accounts, bills, deeds, etc. You will have zero authority to access these assets after death has occurred. Most POA’s are also the executor on a will, however, wills are not executed prior to services being rendered at a Funeral Home or Cemetery which makes obtaining needed assets difficult. If you are going to be the executor or POA it is recommended to have your name listed on all bank accounts and checks to eliminate any confusion when processing payment to a Funeral Home or Cemetery. They CANNOT accept payment from a deceased persons account without your name printed on the check or proof of joint ownership to the account.
Fact 6Communicable Disease: Care & Confidential All information received by any person practicing funeral services or his agent regarding the fact that any dead body which they have received harbors an infectious disease shall be confidential, and disclosure of such information shall be grounds for disciplinary action against the funeral service licensee pursuant to § 54.1-2806 Notification that a dead body harbors an infectious disease will not constitute grounds for any funeral director's refusal to accept the body The Hospital or Nursing Homes communicate with your funeral home if someone harbors and infectious disease by placing a sticker that notifies the Funeral Home or a release form that has a general notice of illness (they will not disclose which illness to the funeral home) The Funeral Home always uses Universal Precautions when caring for your loved one so that all parties, staff and the family, are protected from illness.
Fact 7General Price Lists must be given! Any person inquiring about funeral pricing must be given a general price list prior to discussion of any funeral services being offered. A funeral director must be the one to give you the General Price List. The itemized statement shall include, but not be limited to, the following charges: casket, other funeral merchandise, vault or other burial receptacle, facilities used, transportation costs, embalming, preparation of the body, other professional services used and disclosure statements required by the Federal Trade Commission, which shall be set forth in a clear and conspicuous manner. A lot of Funeral Homes have package pricing. You have the right to know the itemized pricing for all items being grouped in a package. You also maintain the right to select items from that group at the itemized pricing as an individual item outside of that group. All items should be itemized individually on your agreement with the Funeral Home and Cemetery.
Fact 8Two verifications needed for Cremations No person may be cremated in the state of Virginia without two verifications taking places. The medical examiner must give permission for the cremation to take place Next of Kin or his/her representative must provide a visual verifications. (Note: Any blood relative is considered next of kin in the state of Virginia) If the next of kin or representative is not available for verification a sheriff, upon court order, may act in their place.
Fact 9Insurance Does Not Always Pay Out! The biggest dispute to pre-planning is the statement “I have insurance for that!” Well… fact is, a lot of insurance companies do not and will not pay out in time for services to be rendered. Most Funeral Homes and Cemeteries use 3rd Party Companies to transact Insurance Claims for services needed. Some insurance companies will not work with the 3rd party companies leaving the family without the needed funds. Information being incorrect on forms and policies delays payment being issued for services. If the insurance policy is less than 2 years old most 3rd Party Companies will not verify the policies. If a family is relying only on insurance to pay for all services, they run the risk of having to delay their funeral plans and wait. (I have personally seen this take 3 weeks to process)
Fact 10Time is Not of the Essence Some cultures have time requirements for their loved one to be laid to rest, but most do not. Many families rush into decisions and spend absorbent amounts of money because they feel they HAVE to bury within a few days of their loved ones passing. Embalming and Refrigeration allow for your family to slow down the emotional decision making and collect themselves and the needed items before and after meeting with the Funeral Home and Cemetery. Prolonging a service allows family to all convene together, be a part of this time honored tradition of funeral planning, and has even helped families cope with the passing in a more positive and expedited manner. If a funeral home or cemetery wants you to rush to have services, and you do not want to, DON’T! Take your time, make the right decisions for your family both financially and emotionally, and set yourself up for success in the days to come.
Fact 11Preplanning Guides Help Most Funeral Homes and Cemeteries have Pre-planning Guides. They are called many things: Simplicity Planner, Emergency Record Guide, The Blue Book, etc… These should be a free book given to any family who is willing to sit down and talk about pre-planning. A purchase is not required. This guide should contain insurance and bank info, vital statistics and information, veterans and social benefits information, a living will, funeral home and cemetery decisions, family and friends information, and a checklist of things to do when a loved one passes. When filled out they are priceless. The information contained in its pages have helped veterans families receive benefits, wives apply for social security information, and children receive assets in account unknown of. (Note: Insurance and Bank Accounts unclaimed will be seized after a certain period of time. Each state has its own limits)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Hopefully you have learned some new facts about the funeral and cemetery business. If you have specific questions about your personal planning please speak to me one on one. If you would like a free planning guide please fill out the response card and I will deliver it to you within the next week. Do not hesitate to ask me questions or ask for contact info for another cemetery. I will gladly give you their information.