Author Archives: Welton

Newtown, PA cremation

Be Prepared for Cremation Services

Even though no one will ever be fully prepared a loved one’s death and cremation service in Newtown, PA, it’s still important to take steps now to make your passing smoother for your family.

As scary as it is to plan for your death, you need to do whatever you can to make it easier for your loved ones after you’re gone. So, what can you do to prepare for your death right now?

The first step is to leave your last wishes. Make it known how you want your funeral or memorial to be done. Do you want a cremation service? A memorial? Traditional burial? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered when it comes to planning a service, so don’t leave your loved ones to answer all of them when their grieving your loss.

Your family might rely on you for financial support, meaning that when you die, they will not only lose you but will also love the income you provided. Take care of your loved ones by purchasing life insurance. Life insurance can help offset the costs of funeral and cremation services and can also provide additional income for living expenses, remaining debts and other costs.

You also need to make a will. Everyone should have a will, as wills make it easy for the bereaved to know exactly what the deceased wanted. Plus, if you don’t leave a will, the state might end up choosing who gets your asses and who will care for your dependents. Double check that your 401k, life insurance, and IRAs have the correct beneficiaries listed. In other words, make sure that the people or person you want to get the money after your gone are listed on the documents. This is especially important as someone’s beneficiary documents can supersede wills and even divorces.

Newtown, PA cremationWhat about all your documents? You might know where your important documents are, but will your family be able to find them? They might not know to check the top dresser drawer for your will, the bottom drawer for your life insurance policy, and your desk for the bank account information. Make it easier on your loved ones and keep all your important documents in one safe place that is easily found and accessed by a surviving family member. Include your social security card; legal forms for retirement accounts, deeds, and rental agreements; tax returns; and lists of all online and computer passwords. Don’t forget to sort your possessions. Catalog important items of monetary or sentimental value to ensure they are kept and passed to the proper person after you’re gone. Don’t forget to notate why each item is important so no information gets lost.

J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help if you want to learn more about what you can do for your eventual passing. We can assist with any preplanning or Newtown, PA cremation service questions you may have. Call or visit us today!

funeral home in Newtown, PA

Grief Podcasts

While we all deal with grief in different ways, sometimes it can get away from you and become too much to handle all on your own after a loved one’s memorial or funeral at a funeral home in Newtown, PA.

How do you know if your grief is too much? And what can you do about it? While everyone’s grief can look a bit different, there are a few warning signs that ring true for everyone if grief is becoming too much.

For example, apprehension of new relationships due to the fear of loss. However, in order to move forward and continue to grow, we must forge new relationships. You might also need a bit of extra help if you find yourself getting lost in escapism in having an inability to continue normal activities. Staying busy or trying to escape to avoid feeling sad is not a long-term solution. Eventually, you will need to face your feelings.

An inability to move on, or the loss of enjoyment is a bad sign. You shouldn’t stop living your life completely during grief. You’re still allowed to pursue your interests and goals. If your grief is preventing you from pursuing activities that you enjoy, or enjoying things you normally would, you may just need help finding your way forward. Avoiding time with loved ones isn’t always good, either. Sometimes it’s easier to process grief on our own, but it’s also important to be with loved ones. If you find yourself consistently avoiding other people, you should consider getting some help with your grief.

But what can you do about your grief if it gets too bad for you to handle all on your own?

Many people that are grieving find it very helpful to listen to grief podcasts as they are easily accessible and provide bereaved support and community in a very convenient way. Whether you’re looking for more causal listening or are hoping for expert advice, there are tons of helpful grief podcasts available on Spotify, such as Good Grief by Blake Kasemeier. Blake lost her mother to lung cancer and then started Good Grief to help other people through their own losses and mourning journeys. What’s Your Grief is by Eleanor Haley and Litsa Williams. Hosted by two mental health professionals, this podcast discusses the gamut of grief-related topics.

funeral home in Newtown, PAThere’s also The Mindfulness & Grief Podcast by Heather Stang. Heather Stang has a Master’s in death, dying and bereavement, called thanatology. This degree gives her a unique perspective to grief and can help listeners deal with hard emotions, encourage self-care and compassion, and honor what is left of the deceased. Grief Out Loud is by The Dougy Center. Hosted by a clinical social worker, Grief Out Loud talks about the most commonly avoided topics regarding grief. And finally, Grief/Relief by Moe Provencher isn’t hosted by a professional and is geared more towards real people sharing real parts of their lives and grief to help normalize the topic.

Losing a loved one isn’t and will never be easy, but these grief podcasts may be able to help. As can J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel. We are here to help if you have more questions on grief or would like to learn more about Newtown, PA funeral homes.

Levittown, PA cremation services

Why Obituaries Are Important

Whether you’re having a funeral or a memorial service after a cremation service in Levittown, PA, there are many reasons why you should publish an obituary for your lost loved one, including but not limited to:

  1. Notating History – An obituary is also a good way to make sure the deceased’s story is written down for future generations. Children, grandchildren, cousins, aunts and uncles will all be able to access a part of their personal history.
  2. Sharing the Loss – Sharing in your grief and loss with the general community can be a big help after the death of a loved one. You’d be surprised how many people will reach out with helpful offers like condolences, prayers and general help. As a bonus, obituaries that are posted online almost always have comment sections in which people can post and share their own experiences with the deceased and words of comfort.
  3. Paying Tribute – Each person on this planet has a unique life story as special as they are. While we can easily assume that the deceased lived and died, an obituary gives a window into how they lived and why they were important and special. Beyond the basic facts of life like date of birth, age date of death, survivors, and predecessors, an obituary can include other fun and unique information about a person including their hobbies, favorite foods, work history and amazing accomplishments.
  4. Part of the Grieving Process – Remembrance is a big part of grieving. In other words, when you spend time thinking about a lost loved one by narrating that person’s history and remembering why that the deceased was important to you, you are showing and experiencing your grief in a healthy way and will ultimately help you move forward in your particular grief journey.

These reasons, and many more, are why obituaries are not just a random tradition with no reasoning or meaning. But how do you go about publishing an obituary?

obituaries

Up until about twenty years ago, most local newspapers published obituaries for free as they were considered to be news stories. These older obituaries mostly listed facts and kept the emotional editorializing to a minimum. Many newspapers also printed death notices which, unlike obituaries, were paid advertisements that gave the name of the deceased, the date, and the time and location of funeral services. These days, the majority of newspapers charge fees for printing obituaries. While these fees can be expensive, they do mean that the purchaser has the power to write whatever he wished about his deceased loved one, be it emotional or fact-based. There is also some funeral home that post obituaries on their websites for free or for a small fee. Ask your funeral home or funeral director about their policy regarding this new tradition. You can also post an obituary on a memorial website like Legacy.com or post an obituary on Facebook or another social media site for free.

If you want to learn more about obituaries or Levittown, PA cremation services, please reach out to J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel.

funeral home in Levittown, PA

Conveying Condolences

Many people want to reach out with condolences for friends, coworkers or family members after hearing the news about them losing someone they love or after attending a funeral service at a funeral home in Levittown, PA, making condolence calls and sympathy cards very important.

However, it can be hard to know what to say to someone that is going through the loss of a loved one, especially when trying to craft a sentiment that both acknowledges the loss and provides comfort to the bereaved. Use these tips to help.

Our first tip? Sympathy cards. Sympathy cards are the most traditional method of communicating these sentiments to the bereaved in their time of grief, but it can be tricky to accurately convey feelings and ideas. You can try to offer help. Offering help to the bereaved is always well intentioned, especially since it can be hard for people to ask for help when they need it. To make it easier for the bereaved to get the help that is specific for their needs, try not to write statements like, “Call me if you need anything.” Instead, trying to say “I’m going to go grocery shopping on ____, send me your list and I will be happy to get it for you” or “Here is a gift certificate. Please use this to____.”

Sometimes you can’t make the service and want to apologize. Listing the various reasons why you couldn’t make a funeral or service may just look like you’re making excuses. Rather than writing, “I didn’t make the funeral because ___” try focusing on how you will support them in the future by saying something like, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it. I’m bringing lunch for you on ___ if that works for you.”

You can also express empathy. You might have lost someone, too. And while comparing your loss to the bereaved’s might seem like a good idea, it may come across as you trying to make it about you. Instead of writing, “I know how you feel” or “I’ve lost a ___ too”, try writing, “I’m grieving with you” or “I miss ___ too”.

writing condolence

You can also try to give the bereaved a call to express your emotions and support for them in their time of loss. Expressing condolences can be a tricky thing, as it can be hard to know what to say. If you’re at a loss for words, you can try saying things like, “My thoughts are with you during this difficult time.”, “I’ll always remember how [name] would [insert story or characteristic here].”, “There are no words. Just know that I love you and will also miss [name].”, “[Name] was a great person. My sympathies to you and your family.”, “We are so sorry for your loss.”, or “No one can ever replace the remarkable person that your ____ was.”

Call or visit J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel today for more information on our Levittown, PA funeral home services.

cremation services in Yardley, PA

Body Donation

According to national statistics, about 115,000 people in the United States are waiting for a life-saving transplant right now, and about 20 people die every day while waiting for an organ. Plus, there are countless other diseases, infections and conditions that kill because we don’t know enough about how to treat or cure them. Organ and tissue donation give the gift of life, sight and health every single day, and make excellent additions to cremation services in Yardley, PA.

Depending on your preferences, needs and specific circumstances, you can choose to donate your whole body or your organs and tissues, as body donations can be used for both science and life-giving organ donations.

Whole Body Donation

Whole body donation is when the entire body is donated to be used in medical training, scientific research or mortuary science training. While not as outwardly glamorous or heroic as donating organs or tissue to a dying person, whole body donation still saves likes as it helps medical students learn more about anatomy and disease and provides researches with the opportunity to explore medical conditions and diseases. Both of these can lead to thousands of saved lives in the future as they help educate the future leaders of medicine and determine how diseases and conditions can be treated or cured.

It’s important to make arrangements with an institute in advance in order to donate your whole body to medical or mortuary science. There are barely any out-of-pocket costs associated with whole body donation, and, oftentimes, your remains will be returned to our family once they are no longer needed. Generally, the remains are cremated at the institution and then the ashes are sent back to the family for final disposition.

Organ and Tissue Donation

Organ and tissue donation focus on recovering specific tissues and organs for the purpose of gifting them to people waiting on transplant lists. One organ donor can save up to eight people and one tissue donor can save up to 50 people. Organ and tissue donation don’t prevent the bereaved from having a cremation or funeral after the donation, though the exact cause and circumstances of the death and organ donation might impact the timing of any funeral or cremation service arrangements.

Yardley, PA cremation services

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is in charge of organizing and distributing organs and tissues across the United States. Donated tissues and organs are removed from the original body by surgeons and then given to the new body. If you would like to register as an organ and/or tissue donor you need to contact your state UNOS outpost or associated institution online or by the phone. Many registries require the donation of many kinds of organs from eyes and tissues to hearts, lungs and more. You can choose to be both an organ and tissue donor and a whole-body donor. If you choose this route, any needed organs and tissues will be removed and then the body will be sent to a chosen institution.

J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here for you in your time of loss or if you want to learn more about body donation or Yardley, PA cremation services.

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.

funeral homes in Levittown, PA

What is a Green Burial?

What is a green burial? A green burial, sometimes referred to as a natural burial, is a kind of burial that seeks to have as little negative impact on the environment as possible. By choosing a green burial you are choosing to lessen your personal environmental impact, or carbon footprint. Lots of people are looking to make better choices when it comes to protecting the environment, many funeral homes in Levittown, PA offer green burials that aim to have less negative impact.

In order for a burial to be labeled green a burial must take the following into consideration:

  • conservation of natural resources
  • protection of industry workers’ health
  • preservation of the environment

They help protect the environment, industry workers, and natural resources with things like green cemeteries. There are green cemeteries, sometimes called natural burial grounds, that require all bodies be buried in green caskets or burial shrouds. They have these policies in place to help maintain the surrounding natural habitat and landscape, protect local groundwater, and maintain a safe environment for local plants and animals. Conventional cemeteries, on the other hand, often use herbicides to maintain the landscaping, outer burial containers that prevent natural decomposition, and allow embalmed bodies to be buried.

Green caskets, unlike conventional caskets, are made from sustainably sourced materials used in sustainable production methods. Also, green caskets are completely biodegradable, meaning that they will decompose fully and won’t add toxins to the surrounding soil as they decompose. Conventional caskets, on the other hand, usually take a very long time to decompose if they decompose at all.

Plus, many are made with potentially toxic materials and chemicals that can hard the surrounding soil. There are also green casket companies that are considered “fair trade”, meaning the people making the caskets are employed in safe environments and receive a fair wage for their work. Green burials also don’t have embalming. Embalming is when a body is partially preserved using harsh chemicals. Embalming is harmful for both the planet and industry workers. Embalming fluid contains known carcinogens, making it unsafe for the industry workers that are frequently exposed to it. These chemicals can also harm fragile ecosystems when buried in the ground.

green burials

Sometimes people choose to do a green burial because they view it as a return to the traditional way of body disposition from back before the commercialization of the funeral industry. Still others choose green burials because they follow certain religious traditions. Judaism, for example, requires burial traditions that are in line with green burial practices. There are others that are beginning to worry about the impact humanity is having on the planet and are therefore looking into ways they can do their part to protect the environment

Stop by or visit J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel, a Levittown, PA funeral home, today to learn more about green burials and what we can do for you in your time of loss. We are here to help in any way we can.