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#31 of 45 Old 12-13-2012, 07:04 PM
 
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Hmm. I think it's thoughtful, caring and responsible to put aside money for the funeral/burial costs; just as it's thoughtful, caring and responsible to make a will, ensure the garage isn't full of 60 years of accumulated junk, and otherwise ensure that your children can grieve peacefully when you die, instead of being inundated with stuff to do.

 

But I wouldn't go so far as to think badly of anyone who didn't. I can see why it wouldn't cross one's mind!

 

I know Dad's donating some body parts, and has come around to the idea of cremation since he found out it was cheaper. Not sure about Mum - I'll ask her! Either way I imagine the funeral would be held at our church with potluck refreshments, so would be basically free - and I'm sure neither of 'em would want fancy coffins or anything. Our family in general subscribes to the "I'm not using my body any more, chuck it on the compost if you want" mentality.


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#32 of 45 Old 12-13-2012, 08:56 PM
 
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I don't know about new zealand, but in the US, you can't chuck a body in the compost. It isn't allowed.

 

I really don't think there is a cheap option -- though some options are obviously less expensive than others. Particularly in families that live pay check to pay check, very basic dead body disposal is a major expense. A lot of people really don't want to sign over their loved one's body to science, especially the person didn't indicate that that was their preference. And most people don't want a loved one in pauper's grave.

 

None of the funerals I've attended have been lavish events, and the norm is for the meal to be at a church. None the less, the final expenses still ran thousands of dollars. A traditional burial and funeral can easily cost 10K

http://www.ehow.com/facts_7458153_much-casket-cost_.html

 

This isn't for a catered dinner and party -- this is for preparing a body for burial and the stuff to bury them in, digging a hole, getting them there, etc .

 

A cremation (not counting any service) runs $800 to $2,000.

http://www.ehow.com/how_4887859_cost-of-cremation-area.html

 

I find the notion of not discussing and planning for these things a bit odd and selfish -- it's refusing to own that it would be traumatic for other people if you died. I was there when my grandmother died, and I know what the following days were like for my mother and aunt. It was rough. And everything was as set up as possible and her death was not a surprise. None the less, they were both complete wrecks faced with a wide variety of decisions that they needed to make very quickly. Thank goodness that mutually coming up with thousands of dollars wasn't part of it.

 

Many families end up with major rifts after a death. Perhaps a part of that is the financial end. As grown children have different amounts of money and different priorities, there is no way to make this "fair. "

 

Would you really want your children to end up angry with each other over the money required to do something (whatever) with your dead body?


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#33 of 45 Old 12-13-2012, 09:27 PM
 
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I don't know about new zealand, but in the US, you can't chuck a body in the compost. It isn't allowed.

 

I really don't think there is a cheap option -- though some options are obviously less expensive than others.

 

 

The compost comment was likely a bit of humour, but there is this earlier comment from journeymom: 

 

 

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I have a vague memory of having a conversation here at MDC about burial services, and someone had a link to a place that offers 'green' burials: buried in a forest setting without headstones, only wrapped, not in a casket.  That seems pretty cool, too.

 

I have a vague memory of listening to a documentary radio program (maybe NPR, maybe This American Life) about low cost "green" burials with no embalming and no casket - only a shroud. It would certainly minimize the costs even if a cemetery plot was purchased. I thought it was an interesting idea. I expect that laws vary in different areas about where these burials can happen. I wouldn't be surprised if cemeteries had their own rules about embalming and what kind of casket is acceptable for burial, even if local laws permit a green burial. 

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#34 of 45 Old 12-13-2012, 09:50 PM
 
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Yes, the compost comment was a joke.

 

I read a book recently - bought it for Mum for Christmas, actually - called "Stiff", and it was all about uses for dead bodies. Fascinating. You can donate your body to a Body Farm, where they leave you out to decompose and study the size of the maggots at various stages, etc, for forensic research. You can be a crash test dummy, or parts of you can be used in safety tests for all kinds of things. You can be cremated and made into a LifeGem (diamond), if that floats your boat. You can have your head sawn off so plastic surgeons can practice their nose jobs and collagen injections. You can be plastinated. You can be dissected by med students, although apparently a lot of med schools aren't doing that any more. You can donate your organs, skin and even bones (the latter was news to me - apparently they put pipes in your limbs afterwards, so you don't look - in the autho's words - "noodley" in your coffin).

 

The author also mentioned a few new, eco-friendly methods of body disposal. I can't remember the details... and I've wrapped up the book, so I can't go check. :p I know one involved a large vat and a centrifuge and some kind of slurry... and another (or was it the same one?) ended up with compost.

 

Anyway, if you're not too easily skeeved, I highly recommend the book.


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#35 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 12:32 AM
 
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actually since the word compost has been brought up dead animals and humans make GREAT compost. i think its the blood apart from anything else. anyplace there is a dead animal or human buried - that exact area grows the lushest the next spring. actually sudden lush vegetation is something archeologists use as signs of some archeological interest there. in fact that's how a lot of ruins were found. 

 

what is interesting in the fertile crescent when urban areas first started right after agriculture first started, people were buried in their apartments and stayed right there with their family. 


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#36 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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I wrote into my will that I did not want one dollar spent on my corpse. So, I guess that puts me in the camp of "No; the funeral costs should not be the families' burden", but I have seen really creative fundraising for funerals and there are typically donations given at funerals...

 

I'll admit that lavish funerals really baffle me.

 

But, there will have to be money spent on your corpse, if it is to be buried or cremated.  This is beyond any funeral costs (which it sounds like you are against). 

 

Have you specified, exactly, what you want done with your body??

 

For me, the idea of donating a family member's body to med school just skeeves me to no end.  I knew a couple of medical students and have friends that are doctors.  There wasn't much respect when they talked of their cadavers in med school, making rude comments and calling them coarse names.  Yes, their jokes and nicknames for the corpses were a way of dealing with the idea, but it still showed a lack of respect. 

 

I can understand the forensics idea, but I still couldn't do it.

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#37 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 08:39 AM
 
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Wanted to add - I think pre-paid funerals were more common one, two or more generations ago.  I remember my DH's grandfather talking about how he prepaid both his and his wife's funerals back in the 60s.

 

I don't know anyone who had a prepaid funeral.  (I am in my early 40s)  Does anyone else?

When my father died, he left cash to pay for his funeral. My mother has a life insurance policy to cover hers. Both of my in-laws have pre-paid funerals as do DH's two surviving grandparents (one in her 80s and one in his 90s). I am not sure about my grandparents although I'm sure that they have insurance. If not, we will come up with the total cost and split it between whoever can pay. That's the expectation in our family. We have a pretty wide range of incomes and family situations, and no one would ever fault anyone who just couldn't help pay at that time.


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#38 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 08:42 AM
 
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For me, the idea of donating a family member's body to med school just skeeves me to no end.  I knew a couple of medical students and have friends that are doctors.  There wasn't much respect when they talked of their cadavers in med school, making rude comments and calling them coarse names.  Yes, their jokes and nicknames for the corpses were a way of dealing with the idea, but it still showed a lack of respect. 

 

I can understand the forensics idea, but I still couldn't do it.

I want to donate my body, and I've looked into it. For me, giving to others is one of the most fundamental parts of who I am, and somewhere along the way I thought "well, hey, it makes sense that my body would be one final gift." When I looked into it, though, I saw that they actually take very few of the bodies that people are willing to give, so I'll still have to make other arrangements.


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#39 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 08:43 AM
 
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Prepaid funerals aren't always a good idea. If the home goes out of business, you've wasted your money.

 

You can get a small life insurance policy that is intended to cover cremation/death costs. That is what my grandmother had, $5k to cover her after she passed. I think her cremation costs less than $2k. We did a floating/biodegradable urn and did a ceremony ourselves. 

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#40 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to donate my body, and I've looked into it. For me, giving to others is one of the most fundamental parts of who I am, and somewhere along the way I thought "well, hey, it makes sense that my body would be one final gift." When I looked into it, though, I saw that they actually take very few of the bodies that people are willing to give, so I'll still have to make other arrangements.

I think people need to look into this where they are.

 

It seems the universities in this area will accept most bodies people are willing to donate.  There are a few things that make your body not giveable (one is an autopsy) so folks, look into it where you live ahead of time!


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#41 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 09:53 AM
 
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My big sister, ever the one to over-research and follow the rules, actually looked up state policy regarding spreading ashes when her MIL died.  At least in California you're supposed to get a permit. How many people are aware of this?? People scatter family ashes in the mountains and at sea all the time. My cousins scattered their mom's ashes up in the Sierra somewhere, I doubt they thought twice about it.  I would have liked to do something like that for my mom's remains. Instead we paid (don't know how much) to have her ashes permanently interred at my sister's church. Again, not in keeping with Mom's life philosophy. I'm pretty sure I won't be following that particular rule if  I find myself spread dh's ashes.

 

So why didn't we get a permit and scatter Mom's ashes in the mountains? Now I'm peeved at my sister.  eyesroll.gif  I'm the youngest. I should have spoken up more. Oh well, it was a tough time and I didn't want to rock the boat.

 

 

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For me, the idea of donating a family member's body to med school just skeeves me to no end.  I knew a couple of medical students and have friends that are doctors.  There wasn't much respect when they talked of their cadavers in med school, making rude comments and calling them coarse names.  Yes, their jokes and nicknames for the corpses were a way of dealing with the idea, but it still showed a lack of respect. 

 

I can understand the forensics idea, but I still couldn't do it.

 

This is probably why the hospice nurse (whom I otherwise liked very much and was so grateful for her guidance and medical expertise) talked my mom out of donating her body to the med school.  It's definitely uncomfortable to dwell on it.  But I had more problem with the thought of cremating my mom. So I tried really hard not to!

 

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We did a floating/biodegradable urn and did a ceremony ourselves. 

 

How interesting!  Will have to look this up. 


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#42 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 10:03 AM
 
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We have a family plot in our small town cemetery.  Currently, it holds mil (cremated) and both of my parents (one buried, one cremated).  Fil will be cremated and be with mil in the same plot.  There are also plots for dh, ds and myself.  However, dh & I both wish cremation, so we'll be in the same plot, which leaves us with an extra.

 

Half of my Mom's ashes are buried (in an urn that ds chose) in the same plot as my Dad is interred.  The rest of her ashes are in a beautiful Egyptian urn (again, chosen by ds), on our living room bookcases.  A small bit of her ashes are also in some jewelry I have (a sterling puffy heart and another glass vial covered with sterling vines), which I love to wear.   

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#43 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 11:20 AM
 
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Prepaid funerals aren't always a good idea. If the home goes out of business, you've wasted your money.

 

 

that is true.

 

A cemetery plot and headstone, though, will be there for you when you need them. (if that is what you want)


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#44 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 12:13 PM
 
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My mother died in February in a state run nursing home that would accept her Medicare payment as their payment.  They were the only place we could find for her that would accept Medicare.  When she died, she had no bank account or resources, but before she closed it all out, she was able to pay for her cremation. She bought this through a company called Forethought.  I think she paid between $1000 and $1500, and it paid for the costs of transporting her body and her cremation and an urn.  We already had a burial plot that had been donated to her, so it didn't end up costing us a whole lot for her actual cremation and all that.

 

Of course we had to pay a lot of money to fly out for her funeral, and I flew out and spent the week next to her on her deathbed, and I had to rent a car and I paid for a hotel room for a little while.  We had the funeral at her church in another state, and that is basically all done with donations, and people gave us money, so I gave some to the deacons, to the pastor, organist, etc.  We had a beautiful service with hymns and a solo (which I sang myself, so that was free except I gave money to my accompanist who was different from the church provided accompanist).  And now there is the issue of her headstone, which I haven't even thought much about, although someone did give me $200 towards that, and he'll probably be wondering what I've done with it.

 

My mom had 7 children, 5 of them came to her funeral, a few of them gave money.  If my mom hadn't paid for her funeral costs up front, it would have fallen mostly to me & my husband to pay it with whatever donations we could get from others.  I wouldn't have considered asking the grandchildren to pay, although I would have written to all my brothers & sisters and ask them to contribute. My parents always believed in carrying life insurance, and felt like this was their responsibility.  My father's life insurance covered his funeral costs, which were more extensive because he had a coffin and was buried, although also in his case, the funeral plot was donated. My mother had life insurance for years, but that turned out to be a joke.  She paid on this insurance policy for years, and then they were increasing the premiums to a level she couldn't afford, and I realized that she had actually paid more into the policy than it was paying out.  At that point she had to cancel it.  She was worried about it, she felt like it was irresponsible of her as an adult not to be able to afford life insurance, and I think she wanted me to take over payments, but I really didn't think it would be worth it in the long run.  And she came into a little money from some payment for something or other from her job, which she had to quit when she was 80, and that was when she bought the forethought policy.

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#45 of 45 Old 12-14-2012, 03:18 PM
 
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As a brief and encouraging aside, we were the recipients of what remained of a relative after he had been donated to science, per his request.  The process was pretty painless, he'd made all the arrangements prior to his death, the funeral home handled the "hand-off" and about a year later we were in possession of his cremated remains.  I would really urge people, barring beliefs about the afterlife requiring all of your body parts, to donate their organs to people in need of transplants and the remaining tissues to science.  The experience for your loved ones will not be gruesome. 
 


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