Planning final arrangements requires making up to 125 decisions. When we lose a loved one, our judgment is often clouded as we go through the motions of planning a funeral, while dealing with our own grief. This can lead to doubts, conflict, increased budgets and ultimately, more grief for the surviving family members.
However, preplanning yours or a loved one’s funeral in advance can provide peace of mind during those tough times. Preplanning essentially allows you to document your final wishes in writing, so there are no surprises when it comes time for your celebration of life.
The Eldercare Professionals of Ohio (EPO) invited Busch’s own Julie Graf Skinner, funeral director, embalmer, preplanning advisor and insurance agent, as a guest on their podcast series. In the episode, Julie provides an overview on how the preplanning process works and why it can be beneficial to families.
Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions on funeral preplanning that were discussed with Julie during EPO’s podcast. We also invite you to listen to the full episode below.
Q: How can I break the ice with my loved one to get them to discuss prearranging a funeral?
I don't think that anybody loves to talk about the topic of death. It’s a little bit like the elephant in the room: How do I bring this up to somebody? Do they think I think they're going to die? Am I trying to make them consider this more than they should?
One of the easiest conversations is just to say, “Hey, there's a great tool that can be used to help us, and Julie over at Busch Funeral and Crematory Services is going to help you with this.”
Busch offers something to families for absolutely no cost called a Final Wishes Organizer. It's an informational booklet that helps people have a really meaningful conversation—and we’ll actually spend time with people helping them complete it.
Gather information that's needed for a death certificate.
Talk about who's in charge when you are not able to speak for yourself.
Discuss your preferences and how you wish to be remembered.
Learn a little bit about who you are or who your loved one is so that we can create something that's very meaningful and personal.
We also take care of details like final disposition, do you have a cemetery in mind, or if you're choosing cremation, what are you thinking you'd like to happen with your cremated remains.
We really help people build a roadmap, so that on a difficult day when we're sitting with their loved ones, we're not starting from scratch.
Contact Busch at any time to request your copy of our Final Wishes Organizer.
Q: What are my options for cremation, can I have a viewing or funeral before I am cremated?
Yes, you can have a viewing. Number one, you should understand that it is required in our state that your remains are identified prior to you being cremated. So that might happen privately or publicly, but it’s important that we know that we have the right person.
Beyond meeting the basic regulations and rules, we certainly want families to have the type of service that's most meaningful to them. A service before or after gives family the time to come together, pay respects, and offer gratitude or sometimes ask for permission or forgiveness.
It’s important to note that you can have any type of funeral you want to have with cremation, and the question really that comes to hand is: Will you have the cremation occur before any services or after? Cremation, just like burial, is a form of final disposition. And so, we can do just about anything anyone wants, provided they're willing to consider those options and the financial responsibility that goes with it.
Q: What are my options for final resting places of my cremated remains?
There are a few options for final resting places and memorialization of cremated remains:
Burial services.Burying a loved one's cremated remains in a grave of their own or an existing family member’s grave is still one of the most popular things people do with cremated remains.
Niche/columbarium placement. Some families choose a niche or columbarium – a placement in a structure above ground—as a final resting place for their loved one’s cremated remains.
I get asked often about what is legal with cremation. Each state has its own rules and regulations governing cremation. Three legal requirements for Ohio are as follows:
Record death. For a cremation to occur, a minimum of 24 hours must elapse after the death.
Grant permission. An authorized individual must give permission for the cremation in writing through a legally binding authorization form.
Secure permit. You must secure a burial transit permit for cremation from the registrar of the county in which the death occurred.
Q: What are my options for funeral preplanning payments?
There’s a whole set of payment considerations with preplanning: How are you going to pay for something? Write a check, use a credit card, assign an insurance policy?
It’s a little bit like when you have any other tragedy in your life and you're trying to come up with a lump of money. That's a hard pill to swallow.
In Ohio, when you prepay for a funeral, the law is very clear. It requires that people place funds in a holding company outside of the funeral home's hands. This is done to protect the consumer, so that in the event something would happen to the funeral home, the dollars are still safe.
It gives the family flexibility if they chose to use a different funeral home in the market or out of the area if they happen to move. They have the ability to do that.
Q: What happens if I die while away from home?
Most of us think we’ll be at home when we pass. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way.
If a loss were to occur away from home, the process starts with finding another funeral home to do the preparation and paperwork. To help avoid outrageous expenses, Busch offers an out-of-area protection add-on that families can invest in while preplanning.
It covers the cost of preparing your loved one’s remains and returning them back here from anywhere in the world more than 75 miles from this community.
Whether you're anywhere in the United States or you happen to be traveling on a big trip out of the country, it will take care of the preparation to be returned back here.
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.