Category Archives: cremation

cremation services in Newtown, PA

Planning Cremation Services

Traditions surrounding death, grieving, and cremation services in Newtown, PA are changing.

These days, there are almost no rules when it comes to planning a memorial or funeral service. This change is good as it allows for ultimate personalization for celebrating the life of the deceased. This lack of guidelines, while good for personalization, can make planning tough.

Where do you start? The best place to begin is choosing the location. The traditional funeral home or church isn’t necessary the only choice for a memorial anymore. You can also choose to have a service in a park, on a beach, at a home, in a museum, or almost any other place that holds significance to you, the deceased, and the rest of the bereaved.

Next, think about final disposition and the master of ceremonies. Burials used to be the default, but not anymore. There are tons of options these days from cremation services and body donation to entombment and more. Sometimes families don’t want a religious service led by a pastor or clergy member. In these cases, they may want to hire a celebrant. Celebrants are licensed masters of ceremony that work with the bereaved to customize memorial services in fresh and unique ways. Most funeral homes and cremation providers can offer lists of recommended local celebrants.

Another new trend is asking for people to send donations “in lieu of flowers”. You can ask guests to make contributions to a cause the deceased believed in as a good way to carry on his or her memory. But flowers are a traditional part of memorials and funerals, and probably aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They can transform any room into a comforting and welcoming space perfect for grieving a loss and celebrating a life. Consider getting personalized floral displays or arrangements for even more flair. There is also a new tradition of giving small gifts, like party favors, to memorial guests. These gifts are a nice way to help them keep the deceased in their minds and hearts long after the service is over. Feel free to get creative, like making recipe cards with the deceased’s favorite dishes.

You can also personalize parts, if not all, of a lost loved one’s memorial. You can really have fun with this part of the planning. Readings, poems, prayers and even music can be easily combined with a service, as can any other aspect of the deceased’s life and personality. For example, if the deceased loved jazz music, you can hire a jazz band to play at the reception or play jazz music during the service. Don’t forget to also include personal memorabilia like photos, videos, and beloved objects.

Planning a funeral or memorial service is very personal, so these ideas are just to get you started. If you want more ideas or help planning a Newtown, PA cremation service, J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help. Please stop by and visit us or give us a call to learn more about what we can do for you in your time of loss.

cremation service planning in Langhorne, PA

Funeral Agents

Someone will have to make decisions about your funeral or cremation service planning in Langhorne, PA, from where you will be buried or cremated, how your will estate be carried out, and many other important jobs. This person is usually one of your next of kin. Your next-of-kin is an immediate family member, like a husband, wife, or common-law spouse, a child, your parents, a domestic partner, or your siblings.

But what happens if you don’t have any next of kin? Or if you don’t want your next of kin to be in charge of your will and cremation service arrangements?

There are plenty of situations in which this happens. For example, people often get divorced and therefore are estranged from their ex-spouse and children. People outlive their family members. Or, in other instances, someone may not want their children to be in charge as they might argue about how to execute the cremation and estate funeral after the death of their parents. These aren’t necessarily bad situations, and there are definitely ways you can make sure your wishes are followed even if they apply to you.

If these or similar situations apply to you, you can always designate a funeral agent. A funeral agent is a person designated to have legal responsibility over all the matters concerning someone else’s disposition. In the funeral world, this is called the “right to control.” You can hire a funeral agent and give them the right to control your cremation service planning and the legal power to override the decisions of anyone else, including your children, siblings, spouse, domestic and civil partner, and parents.

Funeral agents can be anyone you choose, from a friend or clergy member to a neighbor, coworkers, social worker, or extended family member. However, its best to choose someone that will outlive you and will understand and be able to handle the ins and outs of planning a cremation. Choose and appoint your funeral agent carefully. While the laws vary from state to state, the most common process is by either adding a codicil to your will or by filling out a form. If you want to designate a funeral agent in your will or in a codicil to your will, you need to talk to a lawyer and explain your wishes.

cremation service planning in Langhorne, PASince the executor of a will is not necessarily the funeral agent, it is important to make the wording clear and specific in your will. Have your lawyer draw up a will or amendment that makes it clear who your funeral agent will be. If you want to fill out the form, you should get the form from your local government and make sure its notarized and signed by the intended funeral recipient and two witnesses.

Get in touch with J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel if you want to learn more about funeral agents and other aspects of preplanning for a Langhorne, PA cremation service. Whether or not you appoint a funeral agent is completely up to you, as it is a very personal choice.

cremation services in Washington Crossing, PA

Pre-Need and At-Need Planning

You might have heard the phrases, “at-need services” and “pre-need services” when discussing cremation services in Washington Crossing, PA. However, like many others, there is a good chance that you don’t know what they mean. And that’s ok! This article is here to help clear things up for you.

To begin, both “at-need” and “pre-need” describe when services are offered. At-need funeral or cremation services are offered to families “at the time of need.” In other words, at-need services are for after a death has already occurred. Pre-need funeral or cremation services are offered to individuals who are planning ahead or are making funeral or cremation planning decisions prior to their passing.

At-need funeral services are used in two situations: in the event of a sudden, unexpected death or when a family or individual has decided to wait until the time of death to make funeral plans. In both situations the deceased and the bereaved have not made plans in advance of the death. At-need services are also not selected by the deceased, but instead by the surviving next of kin or family members of the deceased. Pre-need services are selected by an individual before their time of death. Sometimes people choose to preplan far in advance when they are making plans for their will or estate, but in other cases people can preplan closer to their time of death.

While both at-needs and pre-needs cremation services can have benefits and negatives, and sometimes at-needs services are unavoidable if the death was unexpected, many argue that pre-needs services are much better. There are many reasons why pre-need planning is good, such as:

  • Maintaining Self Reliance – Taking charge of your funeral or memorial service allows you to maintain control and independence when you might otherwise lose them. This is good for your mental health at the end of your life and gives you more self-reliance. Funeral and memorial services are an important part of the grieving process, but your loved ones might miss out on the important benefits if they are too busy planning the event. Preplan so they don’t have to.
  • Have the Service You Want – Make sure you get the exact funeral or cremation you want by taking care of the details and clearly laying them out for your friends and family. This way they won’t be able to argue or disagree. You can also plan for how to cover the funeral or cremation costs in advance to make it easier for your family’s bank accounts and stress levels. Look into cremation insurance or funeral trusts to help ensure financial ease
  • Lessen Your Family’s Load – Let your family know exactly what you want for your cremation so they don’t have to guess what to do after you’re gone, or spend time making painful decisions when they should be grieving with loved ones.

cremation services in Washington Crossing, PA

If you want to learn more about Washington Crossing, PA cremation services or at-need and pre-need planning, just get in touch with J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

cremation service in Yardley, PA

Cremation Services in Popular TV Shows and Movies

You can use iconic movie and TV cremations as inspiration for when you’re planning for your lost loved one’s cremation service in Yardley, PA. While the cremations, urns, memorials and services we see in movies and TV are dramatized and not always accurate, there are many that can serve as great inspiration for you when it comes time for you to celebrate the life of a lost loved one.

You can choose to honor the deceased in any way, whether inspired by movies and TV shows or not. Or, if the deceased was a big fan of a particular movie or TV show, you can choose to incorporate it into the service through music, décor, or even a themed urn. For example, you could choose a cremation urn decorated with stars and galaxies for a lost loved one that loved “Star Trek” or “Star Wars”

This list of iconic pop culture cremations can also serve as inspiration:

  1. “Elizabeth Town” – The character Drew decided to take one final trip with his father, though his father is already passed, and his ashes are in a cremation urn. Drew spreads his father’s ashes at special spots along the trip, commemorating memories and traditions while honoring his father. Use this film as inspiration to scatter your lost loved one’s ashes at unique, special or meaningful places.
  2. “Harry Potter” – In the sixth movie, Dumbledore passes away. The teachers and students of Hogwarts gather for a large memorial service to honor him, with all lessons and exams suspended to ensure everyone could attend. Do your best to choose a time and date for your loved one’s memorial that allows as many people as possible to attend and pay their respects.
  3. “This is Us” – After a beloved character on this TV show passed, his family continued on his tradition of watching football as a family by cheering on their favorite team with his ashes in an urn right next to them. Take inspiration from this show and bring your loved one’s ashes on adventures or to do beloved activities.
  4. “Star Wars” – In the “Star Wars” universe, Jedi knights are cremated in dramatic funeral pyres. While you don’t need to immortalize your lost loved one with a Jedi funeral pyre, you can perform a cremation service that will honor him or her in a similar way
  5. “The Big Lebowski” – In this movie, John Goodman’s character scatters the ashes of one of his friends out of a coffee can. While you can always spend money on an urn or another container, this scene is good inspiration to use every day or meaningful items to hold the deceased’s ashes.

cremation

These pop culture references are excellent inspiration for your lost loved one’s cremation service. You can make your lost loved one’s cremation service as unique as you want or as traditional as you want. No matter what you decide for your Yardley, PA cremation service, J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help. Pay us a visit or give us a call to learn more.

Trenton, NJ cremation services

Losing a Child

How are you supposed to get through your daily activities, much less plan a cremation service in Trenton, NJ after losing your child?

Losing a child leads to unimaginable pain and grief. These tips are practical suggestions that can help you through your time of loss after the passing of your child. First of all, rituals like cremations, memorials and funerals go a long way toward helping you say goodbye in a healthy way. They also help you express your grief in a healthy way. Don’t shy away from planning and hosting a service for your lost child, but also don’t feel rushed into planning one right away. You can always hold a memorial after some time has passed and you’re more settled.

Take your time making any big decisions or choices as your grief might lead to you make choices you normally wouldn’t or might cause additional confusion and stress. If you have to make some big choices, like planning a cremation or dealing with something at work, try and talk over your options and decision with a trusted friend, family member or your spouse.

Many parents that lose a child via miscarriage or stillbirth are given the option to see and hold their baby before he or she is prepared for burial or cremation. This is completely up to you. Many people find it a good way to say goodbye and have a bit of closure, while others find it simply too painful. If you decide to see and hold your baby, spend as much time as you need with your baby. If you decide not to see your child, that’s perfectly OK. No matter what the circumstances of your child’s death, you will need to share in your grief with someone else. Whether you share with a spouse, family member or friend, you need to take time to mourn and grieve in your own way with the help of a loved one.

losing a child

Any loss can have a large effect on your mind and body alike, so be prepared for a wide range of physical and emotional responses after the loss of a child. You might feel confused, afraid, guilty, disorganized, and angry, even all at the same time. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly experience surges of grief, even at the most unexpected times. This is all normal and healthy after a loss. Physical keepsakes are some of the best ways to remember a child after he or she passes. Gather keepsakes like blankets, toys, clothing, footprint or handprint sets, and hospital bracelets. You don’t have to hold them or display them if it’s too painful right away but do put them away in a box so you can have them later on when the pain of loss isn’t as fresh.

If you want to learn more about Trenton, NJ cremation services J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel is here to help in whatever way we can to get you through your time of loss.