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Old 08-18-2009, 10:52 AM   #21
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I admit to being irrational about this. After several ugly experiences with the funeral industry, I would prefer that they never get another cent of mine.
My grandfather pre-paid his funeral & grave expenses in the 1980s and died in 2002. The Cincinnati-area mortuary invested the money over the years, so my father actually inherited a refund.

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Does anybody know how to go about donating one's body to a medical school?
The medical schools generally only take dead bodies...

You could ask your local medical school about their body-donation program. You may also be able to find it on their website or a local newspaper's search archives. I think there's only one medical school on Oahu so it's pretty straightforward, but I don't know how far a Mainland medical school would be willing to travel for pickup.

I don't think FedEx or UPS would participate either...
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:03 AM   #22
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If you pre-arrange things with a funeral home, and pre-pay, then make sure you keep the paper work and make sure those who will need it know exactly where it is. One of the scams in the funeral industry is to loose the paper work and claim it was never 'fully' paid for. It is amazing how fast they come around when you pull out your copy. I speak for experience.
Funeral home and cemetary "pre-pay" schemes are often scams and you really need to be careful. Speaking from personal experience, I wouldn't pre-pay anything other than purchasing the cemetary lots (if you want them).

When my folks died, I tried to exercise the pre-pay contracts they had been sold by an out-of-regular work friend and found they were a rip off. Their original payment plus forgone interest plus things the funeral home and cemetary still wanted to be paid for ("not included") made their burial much more expensive than if I had just paid for it at the time.

This aggravation made the process much more stressful than necessary. Dealing with a funeral home / cemetary rip off artist while you're grieving isn't as much fun as you'd think........

I'm planning on buying some lots adjacent to the extended family plot in a local cemetary because that's what the kids want and it will be immaterial to DW and I. Then there will be a passbook account with the funds necessary for them to go through whatever final ceremonies they wish in my son's name jointly with me.

Making the survirors as comfortable as possible is what it's all about. I don't believe I'll give a sh*t post croaking........
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:08 AM   #23
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We had moved to Florida a year before my husband died . We had plots in New Jersey (his family plots) but he left ii up to me whether to bury him in NJ or Fl. Luckily we had discussed all this six months before when we were redoing our wills . Since he got ill suddendly and died without being able to communicate fully . I decided it was his life long dream to move to Florida so he's here under a large oak tree about three miles from his favorite beach.
Similar situation here. My husband passed quickly also (heart) and he never wrote down exactly what he wanted. We had done our wills 2 years earlier, and he verbally told me about wanting his ashes dispersed into a lake. He just never said which one. He grew up on the local lake where I continue to boat, however his dream come true was sailing on Lake Ontario for 3 years with me as 1st Mate.

A friend of mine had some family (his) interference. She decided to do the formal "burial at sea" (of cremains) offered by the Navy for their veterans. All were satisfied with that choice. I flew to Norfolk with her for moral support. I have to say the Navy officers we met were most courteous and very sensitive to her situation. Just fabulous.

I would like to mention that if there is any doubt, please write it down. Sometimes the immediate family has other ideas about final arrangements, and by NY law it is the spouse who has final say. YMMV by state.
Avoid potential problems by writing it down in detail, sign it and date it. Notarization is a big plus here.
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:24 AM   #24
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I admit to being irrational about this. After several ugly experiences with the funeral industry, I would prefer that they never get another cent of mine. Does anybody know how to go about donating one's body to a medical school?
Google anatomical donation program. There were over 200,000 responses and you should be able to find what suits you best.
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:09 PM   #25
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My parents had a pre-pay plan and my experience when my Mom died was so horrible that I will not be buried there, despite the fact that all of my Mom's family and well as both my parents are buried there. We had all of the paperwork, but they ask to take our originals (they said they needed to make copies!) and my brother and I both were left alone for a long while (like 15-20 minutes) and we were really worried that we would never see the originals again. The people were rude, and to this day, I am still not sure we weren't ripped off.

Since my Mom and Dad were buried several years apart, there were additional problems, partly because the company my parents originally dealt with had been taken over by another company. At both of my parents funerals, we were told that we needed to pay for things that they had already paid for, but we had proof otherwise and stood firm.

In my Mom's case, it was the best way to go, though, because she had already paid for part of it, and before she went on Medicaid, we were able to pay all of her funeral expenses in advance before she paid out all of her money to the nursing home and then on to Medicaid.
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Old 08-18-2009, 02:24 PM   #26
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Does anybody know how to go about donating one's body to a medical school?
Call the medical school of your choice and ask for the Department of Anatomy.
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Old 08-18-2009, 03:33 PM   #27
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Much to my surprise, my mother prepaid for her cremated ashes to be shipped to her already paid for plot where she was born in the South. I guess they sweep up the ashes and whatnot and put it in a cardboard box to be shipped by UPS, FedEx or the Post Office. It was pretty pricey, too..like $2200 or a little more than that.
Now that I've read all these posts I'm glad I have the paperwork here to verify it's been paid for already. Thanks for the unfortunate information that there are so many scammers out there gouging grieving families. How sad to be exposed to greedy pigs at such a vulnerable time for the family and loved ones...very sad comment about the funeral industry I'll say.
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:56 PM   #28
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After my husband's father died, we visited a local funeral home to make some of our arrangements. We bought a plot, vaults and selected what we wanted engraved on our headstones. I'm very grateful that we did that when we did. Within two years my husband died and all the preplanned arrangements helped tremendously.

When we bought the plot, we bought one where the bodies will be stacked on top of each other. I know this sounds morbid, but, my husband and I joked about it when we bought the plot....joking about who would be on top. It always makes me smile when I visit the cemetery.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:28 PM   #29
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MIL who passed in April at nearly 95 donated her body to the University of Cincinnati. She had signed all the paperwork about 7 years ago.

She passed. We called. They came. She left.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:35 PM   #30
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...When we bought the plot, we bought one where the bodies will be stacked on top of each other. I know this sounds morbid, but, my husband and I joked about it when we bought the plot....joking about who would be on top. It always makes me smile when I visit the cemetery.
This is not morbid, but an wonderful story about a good joke shared.
You made me smile.
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:26 PM   #31
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Whatever you do, put it in some kind of formal documentation. FIL died recently, and MIL seemed to disregard everything he had ever said about what he wanted to happen after he died. He wanted to be cremated, MIL had him buried. She maintained he changed his mind in the last few weeks of his life which everyone who knew him felt was unlikely. However, when a death has happened the last thing most people want to do is to rock the boat.

After the fiasco with FIL I have decided I do not want a funeral or a service. Have me cremated and sprinkle me on a nice clifftop in a warm climate overlooking the ocean.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:06 PM   #32
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When we bought the plot, we bought one where the bodies will be stacked on top of each other. I know this sounds morbid, but, my husband and I joked about it when we bought the plot....joking about who would be on top. It always makes me smile when I visit the cemetery.

My parents plots are the same way and the family joke is this is the only time Mom will be on the top . If you knew my parents (very very catholic ) you would see how hysterical this is .
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:27 AM   #33
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Fortunately, we have a very nice family owned funeral home in town. The same family has owned and operated it for several generations...and the youngun's (now in their 20's & early 30's) are beginning to take the reins little by little, so their parents will be able to just be there to offer support and comfort for the grieving families.

Our family has been doing business with them for generations as well, and they're almost like family to us and many others in the community. They've never tried to sell us anything other than what we've wanted....you know the "for ONLY a few hundred dollars more..." routine. In fact they have suggested spending less on several occasions, because "people aren't going to be here to check out the casket like it was a new set of wheels. They'll be here to say their 'good-byes' and offer you their words of comfort, and with all of the flower arrangements, the casket won't really be noticed that much".

They really go out of their way to help in every way possible. Even so far as helping make arrangements for the luncheon after the funeral, and following up in the weeks after the funeral to see if there is anything else they can do to help the family with paperwork and such.

Back in the 1950's, my family (parents, grandparents, uncles & aunts) purchased burial plots at one of the local cemeteries...all very close together. Only three plots remain 'uninhabited'...one great-aunt, my Mom, and me. Hopefully they'll remain unused for MANY years to come!!! And like the funeral home, this cemetery is a family owned & operated one, and has been since it's inception in the early 1900's.

As for funeral arrangements, our family has always been of the mind that "Ya'll can do whatever ya want for my funeral....'cause at that point in time, I'll be dead and won't give a hoot one way or t'other". And thus far, there's never been any arguing or fighting over what should or should not be done...of course most our family has always been pretty laid back and easy going!!!

My funeral is to be 'short & sweet', with a steak fry and potluck afterwards!!! (a.k.a. P-A-R-T-Y ! ! !)
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:41 AM   #34
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Fortunately, we have a very nice family owned funeral home in town. The same family has owned and operated it for several generations...and the youngun's (now in their 20's & early 30's) are beginning to take the reins little by little, so their parents will be able to just be there to offer support and comfort for the grieving families.

Our family has been doing business with them for generations as well, and they're almost like family to us and many others in the community. They've never tried to sell us anything other than what we've wanted....you know the "for ONLY a few hundred dollars more..." routine. In fact they have suggested spending less on several occasions, because "people aren't going to be here to check out the casket like it was a new set of wheels. They'll be here to say their 'good-byes' and offer you their words of comfort, and with all of the flower arrangements, the casket won't really be noticed that much".

They really go out of their way to help in every way possible. Even so far as helping make arrangements for the luncheon after the funeral, and following up in the weeks after the funeral to see if there is anything else they can do to help the family with paperwork and such.

Back in the 1950's, my family (parents, grandparents, uncles & aunts) purchased burial plots at one of the local cemeteries...all very close together. Only three plots remain 'uninhabited'...one great-aunt, my Mom, and me. Hopefully they'll remain unused for MANY years to come!!! And like the funeral home, this cemetery is a family owned & operated one, and has been since it's inception in the early 1900's.

As for funeral arrangements, our family has always been of the mind that "Ya'll can do whatever ya want for my funeral....'cause at that point in time, I'll be dead and won't give a hoot one way or t'other". And thus far, there's never been any arguing or fighting over what should or should not be done...of course most our family has always been pretty laid back and easy going!!!

My funeral is to be 'short & sweet', with a steak fry and potluck afterwards!!! (a.k.a. P-A-R-T-Y ! ! !)

Must be nice to have such a competent. caring FH in your community. We just returned from my parents funeral in July, we hired a local funeral home in the town we grew up in to handle the arrangements; all the siblings are now living hundreds (thousands) of miles away. Many old friends from out of-town also came in for the service. The local funeral director completely screwed up the arrangements, even though everything was ordered and confirmed well in advance. There was no hole in the ground when we arrived a day early to check on arrangements. We watched them finish digging the grave a few minutes before the internment. Six weeks later, still no headstone... This funeral director is an incompetent moron.. Unfortunately, he is also the only game in town...
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:38 AM   #35
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Must be nice to have such a competent. caring FH in your community....

...This funeral director is an incompetent moron.. Unfortunately, he is also the only game in town...
We are fortunate to have 3 funeral homes in town, and they are all good. It's just that the one we prefer is the best of 'em.

We used to have a 4th funeral home in town, but it was somewhere between 'so-so' and 'not so good' for it's last few years of operation. The fellow who opened it back in about the 30's, ran it for the rest of his life, up until he passed away in the late 80's or early 90's. His goofy daughter and her boyfriend took it over, and it very quickly went down hill...like a rock falling off a cliff, fast! ( I think they sniffed WAAAAY too much embalming fluid over the years!)

She lost her state license for negligence and misconduct, and they had to close the doors permanently...thankfully!!! The saddest part is that it was in a very beautiful old mansion (think southern plantation style with the big columns and a vast front yard with a fountain, etc.), but she never took care of the place after her father died, and it was finally condemned last year!
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Old 08-19-2009, 02:19 PM   #36
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Be sure to deal with reputable establishments that are likely to be around for a long, long time. I have heard of people paying for their arrangements 20-30 years before their demise, and their money going down the drain due to establishments that were either unscrupulous or no longer in existence. Nobody wants to have to go to court over something like that, while in mourning.
The legitimate ones will not ask for prepayment. Prearrangement is one thing, prepayment quite another.

This thread reminds me of the cartoon in What Color is Your Parachute?:

Q: "Why do you want to be a mortician?"
A: "I like to work with people."
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