Monthly Archives: July 2020

funeral homes in Yardley, PA

What is a Celebration of Life?

Funerals at funeral homes in Yardley, PA are somber events, leaving many people feeling worse afterwards instead of better. However, the act of holding a service is very important for the grieving and healing process, and that’s where celebrations of life come in.

But what is a celebration of life? A celebration of life, as the name denotes a celebration, so guests should expect a joyful event. Many people choose to hold a celebration of life in order to celebrate their lost loved one’s life rather than mourn their loss. These services are often more like parties than funerals, commemorating the deceased’s life. Funerals are generally more subdued events at which people speak in hushed tones and have subdued manners. Celebrations of life are usually more casual with the emphasis on the positives of the person’s life rather than the sadness of their passing.

Celebrations of life are most commonly held at someone’s home, a garden, park, or a rented venue, unlike funerals that are held at funeral homes and churches. However, many funeral homes are starting to offer celebration of life services. Similar to memorial services, these events are held after the cremation or burial, while some choose to hold them a year after the death as an anniversary commemoration.

Think of a celebration of life as a more upbeat memorial service. The choice to have a celebration of life instead of a funeral is usually at the behest of the deceased but can also be based on the bereaved’s personality. There really are no hard and fast rules about what celebrations of life should be. They can be whatever the bereaved and the deceased want them to be. If you’re looking for inspiration for a celebration of life, you can:

  1. make a playlist of the deceased’s favorite music or songs to play at the event
  2. display some of the deceased’s prized possessions like collections, photos, or even clothing
  3. encourage guests to share funny and happy memories as well as poignant ones.
  4. ask friends and family to share their happy memories
  5. have people bring photos and mementos
  6. make a memory box or book and ask guests to write comments, memories, or leave mementos
  7. play a video or slide show of photos and video clips of the deceased

life celebration

Since celebrations of life are unlike funerals, they require different attire other than funerals. Generally, the bereaved ask celebration of life guests to wear more casual, bright or upbeat clothing to mark the happier tone of the occasion. Guests can also send flowers to bring color and life to the event, or to honor an aspect of the deceased’s life such as colors of a favorite sports team or an alma mater. No matter what you plan for your lost loved one’s celebration of life it should be positive and a chance to remember the best of the deceased’s life.

J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel can help you plan a service for your lost loved one with our expert Yardley, PA funeral home services. Call or visit us today to learn more.

Trenton, NJ cremation services

Real Death Scams to Avoid

Unfortunately, beyond planning a lost loved one’s cremation service in Trenton, NJ the bereaved also have to be on the lookout for scams as there are plenty of unscrupulous people ready to take advantage pf the bereaved in their vulnerable state of grieving.

That’s why when you’re facing a loss, you need to be extra careful and alert for scams. There are many death-related scams, but there are some that are more common than others.

For example, there are IRS scams. Some scammers will call the bereaved claiming to be the IRS and stating that the deceased owed money on taxes. Sometimes the scammer will threaten the bereaved with legal action if they don’t pay. This scam can be avoided because the IRS will never demand payment or threaten legal action over the phone. The IRS only communicates via written statements through the mail. You can follow up with the IRS to determine a call’s legitimacy.

Sadly, sometimes the bereaved will receive a phone call or email saying that the deceased had a life insurance policy but he or she was behind on payments. The scammer will say that in order for the bereaved to get the insurance payout they will have to pay the overdue premium payments, and then the scammer will provide a wire transfer account or prepaid debit card for the bereaved to pay the “premium payments”. You can avoid this scam as a real insurance company will never ask you to give payments or personal information over the phone.

Scammers also take advantage of the bereaved by claiming to be collection agencies after a debt that the deceased owed for a credit card or other kind of outstanding balance. The scammers will contact the bereaved by phone and will sometimes even take the time to send fake invoices addressed to the deceased indicating an overdue balance. Always seek legal advice before paying an outstanding debt or balance as the bereaved might not be responsible for paying it after the death of a loved one.

Some scammers will even email or call the bereaved to say that the deceased’s Medicare insurance card needs to be updated and will ask the bereaved to provide the deceased’s birth date and social security number with the hope of stealing the deceased’s identity. But it’s important to keep in mind that the federal government will never attempt to get personal information over the phone, so any phone call asking about this info is a scam.

Trenton, NJ cremation service

If anyone ever contacts you over the phone claiming that you or the deceased owes money always ask for the person’s name, firm, contact number, and address. If they are legitimate, they will be willing and able to provide this information. If not, they will usually hang up.

J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help with more information on avoiding these scams and Trenton, NJ cremation services. Call or visit us today as you have to be ready for scammers after the death of a loved one.

funeral home in Trenton, NJ

Who to Notify of a Death

There is a lot to do after a loved one passed away, including planning a funeral at a funeral home in Trenton, NJ and notifying the basic institutions and people of the death, such as credit cards, utilities, government programs and other institutions needs to know when someone dies. Use this list to help make sure you don’t miss any important institutions or people when notifying after a death:

  • Insurance – Notify all the insurance companies with which the deceased had policies. Each company will have specific steps you will need to follow.
  • Social Security Administration – Luckily, Social Security will be notified automatically when you file the death certificate.
  • Credit Reporting Agencies – These agencies are usually notified of a death by the estate executor or the Social Security Administration. It’s important that credit reporting agencies are notified so they can put a lock on the deceased’s credit report file in order to prevent someone from using it fraudulently.
  • Employer – Contact the deceased’s employer to notify them of the death and to learn about any applicable death benefits, retirement funds, or life insurance. Have a copy of the death certificate ready when you call.
  • Banks – Most banks will need a copy of the death certificate to close accounts. However, it takes a lot longer than you would think to close bank accounts after a death, so don’t rely on money from a closed account to pay for a funeral or cremation.
  • Retirement Fund or Pension – Be ready with the deceased’s Social Security number, identification number, date of birth and date of death, along with a death certificate when you call to notify the fund. Don’t forget to ask if a surviving spouse is eligible for continued benefits.
  • Medicare and Medicaid – Similar to the SSA, these organizations will be notified automatically.
  • Loans and Credit Cards – The Credit Card Act of 2009 mandates that all credit card companies respond to final bill requests in a timely manner and prohibits them from charging late fees during the processing time. Pay back loans from the deceased’s estate.

Don’t forget to cancel all utilities and bills. Cancel or change the name on all utility accounts, depending on if the deceased lived alone or not. Call the electricity, gas, telephone, and internet providers to make the necessary account changes. You will need a death certificate as proof.

files and documents

Be sure to cancel subscriptions like gym, magazines, clubs, online content, and others as well.

This is especially true if the subscription payments are paid automatically every month as you don’t want the deceased’s bank account to be overdrawn. Also, death doesn’t mean the deceased doesn’t have to pay taxes for that year. A survivor will have to file the deceased’s taxes or will have to hire an accountant to do it for them.

J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel can offer more information on our Trenton, NJ funeral home services and more. Call today to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss.

cremation services in Levittown, PA

How to Divide the Deceased’s Possessions

Organizing, going through and dividing possessions is very difficult. It can be made easier when there is a clear will or an executor, but a lot of times there isn’t, and the family is left to do it all on their own. Beyond planning cremation services in Levittown, PA the bereaved are also responsible for coming up with a plan for the deceased’s possessions, which can lead to a lot of tension.

These tips can help you divide your loved one’s possessions with as little pain and tension as possible.

  1. Get Appraisals – Some items might have significant monetary value, such as coins, jewelry, antiques and other valuable things. Take the guesswork out and get a professional appraiser to determine the exact value of every item. Once the values are established, divide everything as evenly as possible making sure each person ends up with about the same monetary value amount. If there are items that no one wants, sell them and divide the proceeds.
  2. Compromise – Remember, this is your family, and everyone is hurting after the loss. Try to act with empathy and come to compromises whenever possible.
  3. Use Stickers – Give each family member stickers of a certain color and have them place stickers on items they want. Items with only one sticker can go to that person, but items with more than one sticker will have to be divided another way, like taking turns.
  4. Make Copies – There are some items that can be shared thanks to modern technology. Make digital copies of old family photos, movies, and tapes and then distribute the files so everyone has their own copy. Digitizing these old memories is a good idea beyond dividing them evenly as it protects them for future generations to enjoy.
  5. Don’t Leave Anyone Out – Try to think of anyone that would appreciate a piece of the deceased’s life and memory. From aunts and uncles to long lost cousins, caregivers, friends and neighbors, you’d be surprised at who would greatly appreciate a token to remember the deceased by.
  6. Think Before You Donate – While donating unwanted items is generous and helpful, be careful not to donate too quickly. Really take your time and think about each item. While it might not be wanted now, it might end up being very important down the line.
  7. Take Turns – Take turns picking items and draw straws or use another method to determine the order. Think of it like a sports draft. It’s a fair way to make sure everyone gets a chance to choose something meaningful to them. It’s also an interesting and sort of special way to see which items mean the most to which people. You might have never known how much your sister valued Grandma’s cookie jar otherwise.

cremation and funerals

Despite what many people may think, it isn’t the most valuable items that cause the most problems. It’s usually the smaller, more sentimental items that can lead to arguments and pain, so use these tips to get started.

J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help if you want more help or information about Levittown, PA cremation services or other death related topics.