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Estate Planning Basics in Texas

Estate planning is not a happy topic to think about—however, it is a necessary one. Not a single person will live forever, and it’s likely that you have acquired assets in your lifetime that will have to be distributed upon your death. While estate planning is an extensive process, there are some basic facts to be aware of in Texas. What Defines an Estate? An estate is comprised of real and personal property. Real property is land and any structures located on that land as well as oil, gas, and mineral interests. Personal property is cash,... read more

5 Things Everyone Should Know About Planning a Funeral

Planning a funeral for yourself or for a loved one requires organization in the midst of grief and sadness. Consult these guidelines on the most important elements of funeral planning that you and your loved ones should know. 1.) Prearranging provides you or your loved one with the opportunity to become informed about the plethora of options regarding the funeral or cremation service. No two services are alike, and individuals can choose to showcase videos, photographs, music, special readings or any other involved elements with family and... read more

What is the Proper Etiquette for a Memorial Service?

A memorial service is a service held without the remains present, usually occurring within a week of a loved one’s death (although this has the tendency to vary based on individual circumstances). The memorial service itself is more informal than a funeral, and guests can exchange stories and other personal tributes to celebrate the life of the deceased. Individuals planning or attending a memorial service are encouraged to learn about proper memorial service etiquette, as many people have varying opinions on what the service should look... read more

New Ways to Remember the Deceased

How do you remember those loved ones you have lost? For some, cherishing fond memories is sufficient. For others, something physical and tangible can be a meaningful aid to the grieving process. There are several ways in which memories can be tangibly preserved, all increasingly popular. This article will highlight just a few of them. Many of these trends involve DNA. A DNA sample of the deceased can be taken, with the help from professionals at the funeral home—in the form of a hair clipping or a fingernail clipping, typically. This provides... read more

New Trends in Cremation

As a way to memorialize the remains of the deceased, cremation is nothing new. However, there are many cremation trends that are new, and increasing in popularity every day. This field continues to open up new ways for families to preserve and cherish the physical remnants of lost loved ones, in ways that are specific to their values and preferences. This article will outline just a few of them. Among the biggest trends in cremation is the development of original keepsakes. Families commission original pieces of jewelry to be made—necklaces,... read more

Is an Outer Burial Container Required by Law?

When planning a funeral, and opting for burial in a cemetery, many individuals have obvious concerns about costs adding up and what ultimately is or is not required. A very common question that many people ask in the funeral planning process is that of whether an outer burial container is required by law. Outer burial containers, also known as burial vaults or grave liners, are most commonly used in that of a traditional funeral. Ultimately, this structure is put in the ground prior to the burial and the casket is placed within it. An outer... read more

What Happens When Someone Dies Under Hospice Care, or In the Hospital

What happens when a loved one dies? What are the logistical steps that you must take to ensure that their body is properly taken care of, and carefully moved to the site of the funeral home? There are different sets of protocols depending on whether the death occurs at home, under hospice care, or in the hospital. This article will look at the latter two scenarios. For a loved one to die under hospice care is, frankly, easier to deal with than a loved one dying in other conditions. Practically speaking, there are simply fewer steps that must... read more

New Trends in Funeral Catering

Increasingly, funerals are not mere memorial services. Rather than being strictly somber and reflective, today’s funerals are often turned into celebrations of life. Family members take advantage of the opportunity they have to come together and enjoy family fellowship. They mourn together, but also look back on the deceased’s life with fondness, and use that fondness as a springboard for joyful and life-affirming parties. For many such celebrations, the event is restricted to the grounds of the funeral home. Grieving family members would... read more

Memorials that Honor Eternal Commitments

With Valentine’s Day at the forefront this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss ways that couples can honor their commitment to each other after the end of their lives. It’s true that “till death do us part” is a theme present in wedding ceremonies past and present—however, I for one know that many couples do not see that as the end, and look for ways to celebrate their love for one another for eternity. One popular way to do this, for couples who have opted for cremation, is to co-mingle their cremains together. What happens... read more

What Happens When Someone Dies at Home

Many of us hope that, when we die, we go peacefully in our sleep. We desire this for our loved ones, as well. However, dying at home brings a set of complications for the surviving family members. Who do you call? What do you do? This article will highlight some of the basics. Contrary to popular opinion, you cannot simply call the funeral home and ask for the deceased to be transported away. Funeral homes will not come to take the deceased until after the proper authorities have been called and a full medical investigation has been made. The... read more

Understanding the Difference between Funeral and Memorial Services

As cultural norms continue to change, the way we handle the passing of loved ones also evolves. Today, there are many ways that people choose to celebrate the lives of those they care about, leading some to question the true difference between funeral services and memorial services. With the introduction of new traditions and burial practices, many professionals may use the terms “funeral” and “memorial” interchangeably. However, there are some key differences that are worth noting if you are attending or planning a funeral or memorial... read more

Items of Remembrance to Share After a Loss

Honoring the deceased can come in many forms. During a wake or other commemorative service, guests may be presented with items of remembrance to honor the deceased. These items may take many different shapes or forms, but what they all have in common is that they are reminders of the loved one who has passed. Books of Remembrance This is a book that is set in a common area, typically during a wake or vigil service. Guests who have come to pay their respects to the deceased and the grieving family may sign in and write messages, memories, or... read more

Estate Planning & Pets: Something to think about

The concept of legally transferring pet ownership – should the pet’s primary caretaker pass away or become physically incapable of caring for their animals— is relatively new. The wildly publicized story of Leona Helmsley’s “richest dog in the world” raised global awareness of the possibility of estate planning for pets. The truth is that estate planning for pets is not something people frequently consider. Although pets are legally classified as property, to their owners, they are valued and loved members of the family. Attorneys that... read more

Understanding the Idea Behind a Non-denominational Funeral Service

When a person who has passed away didn’t follow one particular religion or faith, a non-denominational funeral can prove to be the most appropriate way to honor that person’s life. Instead of focusing on religious texts during the ceremony, the family can choose to take a more humanistic approach. This makes for a poignant funeral, even without a religious element. Even if the person who passed did loosely follow a religion, it is becoming increasingly common for families to use a non-denominational service in order to honor their loved one... read more

The Grieving Process: Helping Friends Cope with the Passing of a Pet

I grew up, from kindergarten to college, with family pets. These dogs and cats were much more than merely animals – they could be described as family members. Each had a unique personality, but they all possessed some intangible quality that made me feel safe and comfortable. It never got easier to say goodbye when they passed away. The nature of humanity gives us an unparalleled perspective among all of Earth’s creatures. We have the ability to build strong relationships with the awareness that those relationships will come to an end. Our... read more


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