The Facts About Planning Ahead


For thirty years, you have known me as a Funeral Director and Embalmer with high standards, dignity and traditional values. My experience with Ivey Brothers Funeral Home has afforded me the opportunity to grow professionally. I am experienced with the process of handling the business associated with the immeasurable loss of your loved one.

We will continue to offer a place of comfort, understanding and support for you to make arrangements without feeling rushed or pressured.

It is important for us to offer you and your family all the services that you will need at a time you know will come. We offer you our newest program, "Peace of Mind In Planning Ahead." Many people are making the decision to prearrange and pre-fund their funeral before the need arises. Planning your funeral provides a peace of mind, relieves your loved ones of unnecessary concern, reflects your expressed wishes and will not financially burden your family. Most of us plan for the possible, the potential misfortunes of life that seldom happens, but we do not prepare for the inevitable. This guide can help you see how important it is to plan ahead and the importance of providing a peace of mind for your love ones. There are a great variety of options available to you in planning your funeral arrangements.

It is our serious commitment to personal service that you and your family can depend on. Our family is here to serve your family.

Sincerely,

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Carl M. Williams

WHAT FAMILIES NEED TO KNOW

The funeral service has evolved through the years as a result of our instinctive wish to honor our dead and to comfort the bereaved. The ceremony of the funeral symbolizes the beliefs of a culture, its hopes, its ideals, its spiritual concepts. The funeral is a vital part of the process by which the bereaved begin to adjust to a way of life that has been abruptly altered.

If you are the one to whom your family may turn for leadership or assistance at such a time, you will want to be as well prepared as possible. Here at Carl M. Williams Funeral Directors, we understand how important it is for families to have all the facts. This guide has been made available to you so that you can see the importance of essential information about funerals and other arrangements concerning death. We will be able to assist you further if you have specific questions or concerns.

THE ROLE OF THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR

You have already given some thought to the choice of a funeral establishment, so when there is a death, you know who to call. In days immediately following a death, you will rely on your funeral director to be present when you most need his or her assistance. We will guide you through the maze of paperwork and to offer support after the service. You can take comfort knowing we are quietly working behind the scenes to take care of many important details for your family while creating a fitting tribute for the deceased.

WHEN YOU ARE IN CHARGE

When someone you love has just died, there are a number of responsibilities that require your immediate attention. Your first priority will be to comfort those most affected by the death. Then when you are able to focus your attention to making arrangements, the first calls should be to the funeral home and clergy person preferred by the family. As soon as you are able, other family members, close friends, neighbors and business or professional associates need notification. You may assign this duty, so you can give your full attention to other important matters.

ATTENDING TO THE DETAILS:

The staff of Carl M. Williams Funeral Directors is always ready, at a moments notice, to make their complete services available to you. You will meet as soon as possible with us to review personal information about the deceased in order to complete the death certificate and prepare the obituary. Prior to this consultation, you should also ascertain whether the deceased had preplanned for the funeral. This set of instructions will aid you greatly in assuring that the wishes of the deceased are carried out, and will take much of the decision making burden from your shoulders.

THE OBITUARY ANNOUNCEMENT:

With your assistance, the funeral director will prepare the obituary announcement or paid death notice for publication in the newspapers. This notifies people of the time and place for visitation and the funeral services. We will also send notices to papers in other localities. We can advise you of the most effective and informative notices to send.

THE PAPERWORK:

There is a lot of paperwork. You won't have to contend with it on your own. We are here to assist you in securing all the benefits rightfully due your family. We can answer many of your questions, guide you to the proper resources, and assist in much of the paperwork required to file for insurance, Social Security and Veterans Administration benefits. Some of the assistance we can provide includes the following:

  • Help you obtain the required certified copies of the death certificate necessary to file for insurance benefits;
  • Send an appropriate form of the death certificate to the district Social Security office;
  • Direct you to your nearest Social Security office to determine current benefits and to file a claim, including Survivor benefits, and Medicare benefits to help pay the final medical bills if the deceased was 65 or over;
  • Obtain an American flag for placement on the casket for any honorably discharged veteran;
  • Assist you in applying for a veteran's grave marker and in making arrangements for burial in a national cemetery for eligible veterans and family members.

MAKING PLANS FOR THE FUNERAL

Throughout all the planning, we will be respectful of the family's wishes. The visitation and the funeral can be a valuable experience as it meets the religious, social and emotional needs of the family. The funeral arrangements are particularly important in giving friends and family a meaningful way to express themselves.

THE VISITATION:

Assisted by us, you will decide the time, place and type of visitation. Usually, the visitation will be held at the funeral home. During visitation hours, we will assist you in the reception of those who call.

THE SERVICE:

The staff of Carl M. Williams Funeral Directors will help you arrange a service that will best satisfy the preferences of you and your family. We offer a chapel for the service or you may choose to hold service at the family church, or other suitable location. If you are not affiliated with a church, but wish to have a religious service, we can suggest a clergy. If a non-traditional service is desired, we can suggest alternatives that maintain the positive values and dignity of the funeral.

THE TRIBUTE:

You will also consider what kind of tribute you may wish to make. A suitable tribute might include eulogies and remarks, by the clergy, family or a close personal friend. Biblical passages, favorite poetry or other appropriate readings may be chosen. You may also wish to include music, both for its beauty and symbolic significance. We will assist you in all your decisions. If the deceased was a member of a fraternal group or similar organization, associated rituals may be available for the family's use before the service, or incorporated into other plans being made for the funeral. Your clergy can advise you, and we will know whom to contact for these arrangements.

FLOWERS AND FLAGS:

The family may choose to place a floral spray from the family on the casket, which should be delivered just before the visitation period begins. We can advise you, or you may prefer to personally contact a favorite florist. The casket of veterans may be draped with an American flag or floral arrangement. After burial, the flag is presented to the next-of-kin.

CASKET BEARERS:

Together with other family members, you will select casket bearers, to be notified by either us or a member of the family. Sometimes honorary casket bearers are also chosen, not to assist in carrying the casket, but to honor the memory of the deceased.

SELECTIONS TO BE MADE

SELECTING A CASKET:

Whether you are preplanning for yourself, or choosing for a loved one, casket selection is a very personal decision, and an expression of your feelings. You may select the beauty of wood, or the brilliance of fine metal. You may prefer tailored simplicity or a more elaborate design. A casket selection which reflects the personality and taste of your loved one can be your final tribute to their life. A wide variety of caskets, in many price ranges, are available. You can rely upon us as an invaluable source to provide you with all the information you need to make a selection.

SELECTING A BURIAL VAULT:

Although not required by law, you may desire to select a burial vault; a sealed, warrantied and lined receptacle used in cemeteries for underground interment. Outer burial containers may be required by your cemetery or memorial park, to help preserve the beauty of the property and reduce maintenance costs by supporting the weight of the earth and heavy equipment that may pass over the grave prior to interment. A brief service may be held at the grave, when the casket is interred. After the service, the cover will be placed over the base and the grave will be filled, compacted and then seeded or sodded.

MAKING PLANS FOR THE FUNERAL

Throughout all the planning, we will be respectful of the family's wishes. The visitation and the funeral can be a valuable experience as it meets the religious, social and emotional needs of the family. The funeral arrangements are particularly important in giving friends and family a meaningful way to express themselves.

THE VISITATION:

Assisted by us, you will decide the time, place and type of visitation. Usually, the visitation will be held at the funeral home. During visitation hours, we will assist you in the reception of those who call.

THE SERVICE:

The staff of Carl M. Williams Funeral Directors will help you arrange a service that will best satisfy the preferences of you and your family. We offer a chapel for the service or you may choose to hold service at the family church, or other suitable location. If you are not affiliated with a church, but wish to have a religious service, we can suggest a clergy. If a non-traditional service is desired, we can suggest alternatives that maintain the positive values and dignity of the funeral.

THE TRIBUTE:

You will also consider what kind of tribute you may wish to make. A suitable tribute might include eulogies and remarks, by the clergy, family or a close personal friend. Biblical passages, favorite poetry or other appropriate readings may be chosen. You may also wish to include music, both for its beauty and symbolic significance. We will assist you in all your decisions. If the deceased was a member of a fraternal group or similar organization, associated rituals may be available for the family's use before the service, or incorporated into other plans being made for the funeral. Your clergy can advise you, and we will know whom to contact for these arrangements.

FLOWERS AND FLAGS:

The family may choose to place a floral spray from the family on the casket, which should be delivered just before the visitation period begins. We can advise you, or you may prefer to personally contact a favorite florist. The casket of veterans may be draped with an American flag or floral arrangement. After burial, the flag is presented to the next-of-kin.

CASKET BEARERS:

Together with other family members, you will select casket bearers, to be notified by either us or a member of the family. Sometimes honorary casket bearers are also chosen, not to assist in carrying the casket, but to honor the memory of the deceased.

SELECTIONS TO BE MADE

SELECTING A CASKET:

Whether you are preplanning for yourself, or choosing for a loved one, casket selection is a very personal decision, and an expression of your feelings. You may select the beauty of wood, or the brilliance of fine metal. You may prefer tailored simplicity or a more elaborate design. A casket selection which reflects the personality and taste of your loved one can be your final tribute to their life. A wide variety of caskets, in many price ranges, are available. You can rely upon us as an invaluable source to provide you with all the information you need to make a selection.

SELECTING A BURIAL VAULT:

Although not required by law, you may desire to select a burial vault; a sealed, warrantied and lined receptacle used in cemeteries for underground interment. Outer burial containers may be required by your cemetery or memorial park, to help preserve the beauty of the property and reduce maintenance costs by supporting the weight of the earth and heavy equipment that may pass over the grave prior to interment. A brief service may be held at the grave, when the casket is interred. After the service, the cover will be placed over the base and the grave will be filled, compacted and then seeded or sodded.

TRANSFERRING FINAL ARRANGEMENTS AFTER THE FUNERAL

We can assist you with the final disposition details. Even if the burial is to take place in another city or even another country, making proper arrangements present no difficulty to us, because we have affiliations throughout most of the world. If you are arranging for a new cemetery property, you may want to purchase a group of adjoining spaces for the eventual needs of your family. If this is not done, these adjacent spaces will most likely be secured by others and will not be available when needed.

CREMATION CHOICES

If cremation is preferred, you will still be able to make the same decisions concerning the visitation and service. For a cremation service, you may select a casket for the visitation or viewing, and an urn for the cremated remains. If you choose not to have a viewing, you may choose direct cremation. After cremation, many people prefer to bury the urn. While not required by law, many cemeteries or memorial parks do require the use of an urn vault. Above-ground entombment, permanent possession or scattering, are other choices for final disposition. You also have the opportunity for memorialization.

UNDERSTANDING FUNERAL COSTS

Carl M. Williams Funeral Directors welcomes your questions about costs because experience suggests the more completely you understand funeral costs, the less chance there will be for apprehension or misunderstanding. There is a wide range of funeral services which to choose. Since each funeral is planned to meet the special needs of the family, it is difficult to speak in generalities about the "typical" funeral or "typical" costs. There are certain expenses basic to almost every funeral, but many are determined by the selections that are made, the services specified and the additional items requested. Keep in mind, all or part of the funeral expenses may be covered by a portion of forthcoming life insurance benefits, supplemented by any death benefits when applicable from Social Security, the Veterans Administration, franternal groups and others. The deceased may have also made some prepaid arrangements which will cover all or most of the expenses.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO AFTER THE FUNERAL

After the funeral, there will still be a number of things that require attention. Most of them, fortunately, can be postponed for a reasonable length of time, until you feel ready.

THANK YOU NOTES:

As soon as possible, write notes to those who extended special help, sent flowers or made contributions to designated charities. We offer you cards for this purpose, or you may use your personal stationary. There will be an ample description of the floral tribute on the back of the sender's card, permitting you to make special reference to the flowers in your note. You will probably want to thank the casket bearers and others who helped in various ways. You may also wish to acknowledge letters of sympathy; however, it is not necessary to answer notes or cards.

HANDLING LETTERS AND CALLS:

You will undoubtedly receive mail and phone calls for the deceased for some time. Try not to let these become upsetting, remembering these people are making an unintentional mistake.

MONUMENTS:

A monument or marker can be installed shortly after the funeral, or you may postpone this decision until some time in the future. It is wise to check with the cemetery official beforehand to learn about any restrictions in size or style. You may select an individual monument, engraved to your specifications, or a family monument to mark two or more adjoining graves. In the second case, when future burials are made, pertinent data can be inscribed in matching lettering on the same stone.

PERSONAL POSSESSIONS:

Although it may be difficult, this task should be performed by close family members, subject to the prior consent of the executor or administrator. Items of sentimental value or other personal significance that might otherwise be overlooked will be recognized by family members. And it is always possible that something of value or importance may be discovered.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW

As you read this online guide, it may occur to you that planning a funeral can be an immense responsibility. You can take steps to relieve some of that burden. Life insurance, a will, and preplanning the funeral are just some of the important matters you should attend to now to make things easier for those who survive.

LIFE INSURANCE PROTECTION:

Your insurance agent can advise you about the types of coverage your family will need. Here in our office we provide a type of insurance through out Forethought Program. Keep your policies in a safe place, but not your safe deposit box, which will be sealed for a time following your death. Notify your beneficiaries about your insurance and the location of the policy certificates. As you plan for providing for your family's long term needs, dont overlook their short-term needs. A dilemma many families face is that the entire estate, including joint bank accounts and other funds, may be inaccessible for a considerable length of time. In order to meet ordinary daily expenses until the insurance is paid or the estate is settled, it is wise to set aside a special fund for this time of adjustment. Consult your banker or attorney for professional advise.

YOUR WILL:

If you want to direct the administration of your affairs after death exactly as you wish, a properly prepared will is essential. Without a will, your property and holdings will be distributed according to law, and the court will appoint an administrator to dispose of your estate. A will reflecting your specific wishes will be reassuring to you and your family.

PREPLANNING YOUR FUNERAL

Thoughtful preparation can offer peace of mind not only to the one making plans but also to those left behind. Preplanning is also practical gesture because it allows you to make unhurried, informed decisions. Preplanning compels you to organize important documents your survivors will need later. With advance planning, you can choose a reasonable budget, and even set aside the funds over a period of time, to ease the financial burden on your family. There are several important things to consider when preplanning. You want to consider any religious practices that are expected by your faith. You should be especially considerate of the family members who will be left behind by not over planning. Instead make general suggestions that can be adapted or adjusted to make the funeral more meaningful to the participants. Refrain from impractical requests. Carl M. Williams Funeral Directors can discuss the many preplanned and preneed funeral plans available, and help you select one suited to your personal needs. If at all possible, discuss these plans with your family, for the assurance your plans are appropriate, and for their cooperation in respecting them at death.


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