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Elgin, Illinois 60120

Ask Our Funeral Director

Many. Primarily it’s intended to save time & money. Like any advanced planning it functions to allow the purchaser & beneficiary the ability to make clear, qualitative decisions. Generally, the death of a loved one means the immediate answers to dozens of lasting and irreversible consequence. Under stress, it’s easy to see how those could be answered unwisely, costing you needlessly or at worse, not giving you and your family the quality service you deserve. Many plans allow you to pay for a funeral service incrementally or in to guaranteeing tomorrows funeral at today’s prices. Plans can be insured or place funds in trust, survive changes in ownership, etc., all good plans allow for changes and even dissolution. Almost all funeral homes recognize and incorporate some type of funeral pre-arrangement/funding in their service plans. Call your funeral director they will be pleased to discuss it.


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Most funeral homes are prepared to handle all of the details related to disposition of human remains. These include: (1) Collecting ("removing") the body from the place of death. This is most commonly a hospital bed or morgue, nursing home, or at home when a person has died with hospice care. (2) Storing the body until it can be buried, cremated or donated (a funeral director is a legal custodian, and as such, is held to a higher standard of care for this storage). (3) Making funeral arrangements with the legal next of kin, or their agent, and contacting the cemetery (crematory or facility for donation) for final disposition. (4) Preparing the body for disposition (this may include embalming, dressing and cosmetizing, or a combination, in preparation for a visitation, shipping and a funeral). (5) Transporting the remains for burial (cremation, or donation). (6) Securing, executing, and filing of the Death Certificate and Burial / Transit Permit. (7) Filling and filing of any benefits and payments on behalf of the deceased and beneficiaries. This is just a short list of what a funeral director may be responsible for, and remember this is accomplished in a relatively short period of time. However, if you find this confusing, call a funeral director; they will be happy to make an appointment and explain these processes in detail. If you wish, arrangements can be made and even paid for in advance, relieving you of confusion and possibly saving you money at future need.


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Letting your survivors know your funeral wishes saves them the difficulties of making these decisions at a painful time. Many family members and friends find that discussing these matters ahead of need, although uncomfortable and awkward for some, can later be a great relief - especially if a person is elderly or in poor health and death may be expected. Planning some of these details in advance can also save money. For many, the cost of a funeral rank just behind the cost of a home and an automobile in total lifetime costs The good news is few of us end up being responsible for more than two funerals in our lifetimes. However, a Will is not a good place to express your death and burial preferences for one simple reason: your Will probably won’t be located and examined until several weeks after you die, long after decisions about your disposition have been made. A Will should be reserved for directions on how to divide and distribute your property and, if applicable, who should get care and custody of your children if you die while they’re still young. Possibly the greatest advantage by far, to all of life’s prearrangements is that you "called the shots" and tried your best to diffuse any of the misconceptions about what you intended. And, while it may not resolve all of those types of problems it’s much better than not having done anything at all.


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It has long been a requirement of most cemeteries that obligate you to purchase a burial vault, or some type of grave box or liner. The reasons for their requirement are manifold, the least of which is esthetics. Due to modern day use of heavy equipment upon the cemetery grounds, and across the graves themselves, a sturdy burial vault (container for the casket) acts to defer soil displacement, and greatly compensates for natural ground sink that happens when any a volume of soil is removed and placed back in the same area. Here in the Midwest, we are prone to seasonal water tables. This variability can send less heavy items (like caskets) protruding out of the ground. Granted, this doesn’t happen often, but it did just that a few years ago with spring time flooding along the Mississippi river and among some very old cemeteries. There remain some private and church owned cemeteries that do not require vaults, etc., but they are the exception, not the rule. If it is cost you are concerned with, your funeral director offers a wide range burial vaults and grave liners and will be happy to answer all your questions regarding type, construction, strength, durability, options, guarantee, and yes, even esthetics. From simple to elaborate, the median priced vault reflects only about 15% of the funeral’s total cost.


39 people found this faq useful.

Yes, many do, or can. Some funeral homes historically were in the "marker" business generations ago, but currently, its more likely than not, that they are separate enterprises, but you would be correct in your thinking that funeral homes are a logical place to bring your inquiries. Many funeral homes act as Independent Contractors to execute the sale through a local monument company whereby the funeral home may either be paid a commission on the sale, or simply monitor the sale at no cost for the benefit of their clients. Some funeral homes may choose not to become involved in the sale at all, but most certainly can direct their clients to reputable artisans. Keep in mind, the material, shape and size of your particular maker or monument may be regulated by the cemetery. Many "memorial parks" may only allow "flush" markers in all or certain sections of the cemetery. Other cemeteries may contain regulations on size or even standardize what they believe is appropriate in wording or symbolic appearance of the markers. Also, be mindful, marker pricing, like any other purchase, can vary widely. And, not only must one be concerned with the price of the marker, but there may well be an installation, setting, lettering, foundation, and permit fees to be concerned with, and state tax.


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As the life expectancy of the population increases, so does the percentage of the population who suffer from debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons’. As you age , your chances for suffering dementia as a result of a stroke or other debilitating diseases increases. It is estimated that more than 50% of the population who are 85 or older, suffer from some degree of dementia. If you are concerned that you may become disabled in the future, you need to consider who will care for your property and who will take care of your person. You can have an attorney prepare a Trust. You can be a trustee of the funds while you have capacity. Once you can no longer do so, then the person you name as Successor Trustee will take over. Your attorney can also draft a document naming someone to serve as the guardian of your person. In the event that it is necessary to appoint someone to be your guardian, then that person will be given priority (755 ILCS 5/11a-6). You may appoint someone to make your medical decisions to make your medical decisions by signing a Power of Attorney for Health Care. You can also appoint someone to be your to be your agent to care for your property in the event you be come incapacitated by signing a Power of Attorney for Property. Your attorney can prepare both of these documents to meet your special needs.


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 It depends on how you define savings; if savings is measured solely upon dollars spent, then possibly so, if savings is to be measured by expertise, quality, and piece-of-mind, possibly not. However, knowledge is power, and truly informed consumers always make wise purchases. Buying funeral merchandise outside the prevue of funeral homes is nothing new. People have long been able to buy caskets on the internet, from Tapist Monks, and even the Amish, and cabinet makers. What seems unreasonable to me is that the few extra hundred dollars over one lifetime a person might demand on such a highly personalized item pales in comparison to the billions we eagerly spend on alcohol, cigarettes, lottery tickets, It’s simply human nature. Commercialism seems to set our standards. We all delight in the feeling of saving a dollar, and believing we got a bargain, where and how you make a purchase is a objective choice. It all has to do with your values. If you are able to reconcile your choice based upon objectivity then shouldn’t we all thankful we live in a society that promotes it. However, for my money, I spend it where I can trust, professionals that are trained in what they do, and care about the purchaser. Of course, my opinion is obviously biased. I’ll leave the mega retailers to what they do best, selling cases of paper towel and macaroni and cheese. However, you be your own judge--compare.


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If the decedent signed a donor card indicating his wish to use his body for any purpose and he is not a candidate for an organ donation, then you can offer to release the body to the following institutions to be used for education or research:

Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois
2240 West Fillmore Street
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 733-5283

Southern Illinois University
School of Medicine
Department of Anatomy
Carbondale, IL 62901
(618) 536-5511

You should call the institution to determine whether they will accept the body, and what their particular procedures are. Generally, they will not accept bodies from those who have died from a contagious disease or from crushing injuries. A body may not be sold for this purpose, but if they ultimately accept the donation, you are then responsible for transportation, professional, and filing fees from the funeral home. Realize that your body has certain commercial value once prepared for its purpose and it is then sold. It may take 18 months to 2 years to complete the study. Once the project is complete the remains are cremated and the cremains are returned to the family, or if the family wishes, the institution will arrange for their burial. For more information regarding body donation, handling, storage, and use of the remains, call your funeral director or the aforementioned institutions.


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Cash is always king, and most retailers, funeral homes no exception, may offer generous discounts for cash payment prior to the time of service. However, for those of us who are not as fortunate to have large amounts of cash readily available, many funeral homes accept credit cards. Most credit card companies, by the way, are willing to extend the credit card holder’s credit limit in light of such exigent circumstances as a death. Funeral homes, much like other businesses, will accept checks and may immediately verify their fundability through notification of the payor’s bank. Some funeral directors are willing to accept Insurance Policy assignments where the policy, amount, and beneficiary can be verified. Today’s Insurance Companies have streamlined payouts so that the funeral director waits only days instead of weeks (or months) for payment. 


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 Not simply reserved for minors, guardianship is key element in Elder and Estate Planning. Guardianship is designed to protect and promote the well being of those whose functional limitations prevent them from making their own decisions. Adult guardianship is a relationship between a Court appointed individual and the "incapacitated" individual (the "ward"). Incapacitation is defined as dementia, brain injury, stroke, or chronic mental illness. The "ward" must be "substantially" unable to provide for his or her physical, emotional, residential, and medical needs. The legal standard is whether a person is able to make an "informed decision". A guardian is given the right to make decisions in the best interest on behalf of the disabled ward. Because guardianship involves questions of deprivation of personal liberty the law approves guardianships only when other less restrictive alternatives have proven ineffective. A guardian’s authority is limited to only those areas where there is evidence to indicate that a person is legally incapacitated. Areas where a ward may make informed decisions may not fall under the purview of the guardian. A guardian’s responsibility may extend to both person and estate. Every guardianship is viewed as unique. Guardianships can be requested by anyone interested in the ward’s well being.


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 Yup! For you pet lovers: "A woman died at peace, leaving her fortune and care of her cat to her niece. Alas, the fortune and the cat soon disappeared after that." You can make provisions in your Will for the care of your pet, but the moral of the above limerick, is that leaving your money to someone to do the job may not best the best procedure. If you are serious about caring for your pet after your death, you can employ an attorney to set up a separate trust for the care of your pet, or you can have the attorney include a trust provision in your Will. The trust document will direct the trustee to pay sufficient monies to a custodian for the care of the pet. You also need to name a beneficiary (a person or charitable organization) to receive whatever may remain in the trust after the pet dies. If you intend the trustee to also serve as custodian of the pet, then you can ask the beneficiary to regularly check on the pet to see to it that the pet is treated humanely, if not benevolently. If you don’t have the resources for this type of arrangement, other good plans might include asking a fellow pet lover to care for your pet, or possibly a family member. Another good resource might include asking your veterinarian. In any case, I find it preferable to the "all too common" practice of having the animal euthanized rather than suffer the loss of its master.


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You bet! Not only are they amendable or changeable, but they are transferable and in most cases revocable. A funeral, or prearranged funeral, like any other sale for services and merchandise is a simple contract, the breach of which may involve liquidated damages. For instance, if you contract with a funeral home to prearrange and even prepay a funeral, then let’s say you move or simply change your mind about either the services or the selected funeral home or both, you may, at any time, amend, change, switch, or even cancel your "plans." Be mindful, your specific contract may obligate you to "administrative fees" sometimes collected in the form of the interest on the original prearrangement balance. These are essentially the "liquated damages" I was speaking of. Realize though, that if this prearrangement/prepayment is subject to, or made under the regulations of medicade or public aid then there exists salient reasons for it to be irrevocable. However, this would have been explained to you at the time the prearrangements were made. In regards to an actual funeral situation itself, a person always has the right to change their mind at use other facilities or change their type of service. But, it’s important to remember that the original funeral director that provided some of the services would be due her reasonable charges for their services and merchandise up to the point where you changed your mind. Most funeral directors would rather waive "fees," personally arbitrate, or allow a family to leave on good terms, than to risk ill will with his client and community.


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In short, no. However, read on. Under 225 ILCS 41 Sec. 1-10 embalming is defined as “the means of processing and sanitizing a deceased in order to reduce the presence of microorganisms, to retard decomposition, and render for safe handling while retaining the naturalness and restored physical appearance for funeral viewing purposes.” Embalming may be required if the deceased has died from
certain types of contagion, where remains are transported via common carrier, or transportation to states that specifically require it under similar circumstances, and when exercising due diligence because of family member contact. A funeral home may require it if there is protracted viewing or formal visitation, but a funeral director may not require it or refuse family members to ability to see the deceased based solely upon their election not to embalm. It‘s often best to defer to the discretion of the funeral professional, however, bear in mind, where not wanted or needed, you should not have to pay for it.


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Many. Primarily it’s intended to save time & money. Like any advanced planning it functions to allow the purchaser & beneficiary the ability to make clear, qualitative decisions. Generally, the death of a loved one means the immediate answers to dozens of lasting and irreversible consequence. Under stress, it’s easy to see how those could be answered unwisely, costing you needlessly or at worse, not giving you and your family the quality service you deserve. Many plans allow you to pay for a funeral service incrementally or in to guaranteeing tomorrows funeral at today’s prices. Plans can be insured or place funds in trust, survive changes in ownership, etc., all good plans allow for changes and even dissolution. Almost all funeral homes recognize and incorporate some type of funeral pre-arrangement/funding in their service plans. Call your funeral director they will be pleased to discuss it.


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