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  • At Cremation Society of America, we see all-too-often clients who had failed to properly plan for the day that is inevitable for all of us: the day that we pass away. It’s never a pleasant subject and one that most of us would prefer to address at a later date. What happens if that “later date” never arrives?

    Sound Estate Planning and gathering of your important documents might very well be the most appreciated final act that you could do for your family. Let’s explore some Estate Planning steps that you can take.

    The Need for Estate Planning

    Much like a Will, Estate Planning organizes the financial, legal and medical aspects of your life for those who will survive and succeed you. As a matter of fact, a Will is a component of a well-rounded Estate Plan.

    As with anything pertaining to legal documents, we at Cremation Society of America strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning and probate issues. This attorney has a fiduciary duty to give you the guidance and representation that you will need to put your estate in order.

    Where to Begin?

    The best place to start your estate-planning project is to take an inventory of everything of value that you may own,  possess or of which you have a stake or interest. Here are some items that you should include in your list:

    • Your Home/Deed
    • The Deeds to any properties/real estate that you Own
    • Retirement Plans, including 401(K), Pensions, Individual Retirement Accounts (“IRAs”), Social Security benefits, Stock Holdings, etc. – be sure to include any online login credentials needed to access these accounts online
    • Life Insurance Policies or any other vehicles that may pay out benefits upon your death – be sure to include any online login credentials needed to access these accounts online
    • Health Benefits including private insurance, pension benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration Benefits – your spouse or family may be entitled to these benefits in the event of your death
    • Bank Accounts, Investment Accounts, Stocks, Bonds, etc. – be sure to include any online login credentials needed to access these accounts online
    • List all valuables – jewelry, art, etc.  Be sure to take pictures and keep the pictures in a safe deposit box or in a cloud storage solution that a family member can access.
    • All liabilities such as mortgages, loans, credit cards, anything for which you owe money and may lead to a creditor seeking repayment from your estate

    Create or Update Legal Documents

    Meet with your attorney to create or update legal documents that will further protect your estate upon your passing. Your attorney’s recommendations may include the following:

    • A Will – include an updated list of beneficiaries
    • Healthcare directives/documents such as Power-Of-Attorney and/or a Living Will
    • Creation of a Trust(s)

    Arrange for Long-Term Care

    Most people forget that you can also plan for your long-term medical care as part of your estate planning. YOU can set aside assets to pay for your medical, housing, nurse care and related costs up to point of your passing. Be sure to contact a health care planning professional to review your options.

    Arrange for End Of Life

    Pre-plan your end-of-life arrangements, whether burial or cremation, services, location, cemetery plot – everything that you want in place upon your death because these are questions that only YOU can answer.

    Click the link below to download the Cremation Society of America Cremation Planning Guide

    Make Sure Your Family can Access Everything that you Collected

    All of the work you’ve done above will be for naught if you did not make arrangements for your loved ones to access all of the information that you’ve gathered in your inventory. Here are a few steps to keep in mind:

    • Maintain a list of all current usernames and passwords. Then, make sure that you place that list somewhere where your family or attorney can access it
    • Keep important and legal documents in a secure location such as a safe, vault or safe deposit box. You may also keep these documents with an attorney. Regardless of where you store the documents, be sure to give your family a way to access them
    • Periodically review your documents to keep them up-to-date

    As you can see, Estate Planning is another way for you to enjoy peace of mind that your wishes will be honored after you’ve passed away. This is much the same way as how Pre-planning your Direct Cremation delivers peace of mind during a troubling time for your family and friends.

    Please contact CSA for more information regarding our Cremations services as well as family resources. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

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  • At Cremation Society of America, we’re often asked by the families we serve, how long will it be for their loved one’s ashes or “cremains” are returned to them after the Direct Cremation process is complete. It takes CSA 7-10 business days to perform the cremation from the time we receive all necessary approvals.  Then in 1-2 days, the urn containing cremated remains is delivered via United States Postal Service Express Priority Mail.  Within 8-12 business days your loved one’s Urn will be returned home to you.

    However, some families prefer a more dignified and personal form of delivery: Hand Delivery. We at Cremation Society of America offer a Hand Delivery* service for an additional fee of $100 when you arrange your Direct Cremation with us.

    *Please note that our Hand Delivery Service is currently available ONLY in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida. More delivery areas are planned.

    When you choose to have your loved one’s cremains delivered by hand, an adult will need to be present at the delivery address with photo-identification in order to accept and sign for the ashes.

    Visit us at cremationsocietyofamerica.com/pre-planning/ to begin the simple process of pre-planning today.  Cremation Simplified.

     

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  • A loved one has passed away and you are the parent, guardian or family friend of a child who is grieving the loss of the same loved one, be it a sibling, parent, grandparent, or other person close to the child. You are faced with the daunting task of not only coming to terms with your grief but also with helping the bereaved child come to terms with such a life-changing event.

    In cases where your loved one is to be cremated (which is happening more and more in today’s society), you should take steps to explain what cremation is to the child in your care. Here are some helpful steps when seeking to comfort a child and to help with the healing process:

    Understand Cremation

    Believe it or not, many adults have never been taught what happens during cremation. The process of Cremation includes:

    • Cremation takes place at a building called a crematory or crematorium.  Sometimes crematories are adjacent to funeral homes, but often they are stand-alone operations not affiliated with a specific funeral home. There are more than 1,000 crematories in the United States and Canada today
    • Within the Crematorium is a special stainless-steel vault called a cremation chamber, or retort.  The body is placed in a sturdy cardboard container and the container is moved into the cremation chamber. The body may also be cremated in a casket. After the container or casket is placed in the chamber, the chamber door is tightly sealed and the licensed operator turns on the heat
    • This process can take 2-4 hours, until such time as only calcium bone fragments remain
    • Upon completion of the cremation, the remains are collected in a metal tray.  At this point, the remains are small pieces of bone. To further reduce them, the remains are placed in a processor and refined down to the consistency of coarse sand
    • The white or grayish remains (called ashes, cremated remains or cremains) are then sealed in a transparent plastic bag along with an identification tag.  The bag weighs about 5 lbs. and is similar in size to a 5-lb. bag of sugar. Often the family requests that the cremated remains be placed in an urn, which can then be buried, placed in a columbarium (which is a special above-ground structure at a cemetery), taken home or transported for scattering.
     Encourage Questions from the Child

    Children are naturally curious about everything, including death but death is an uncomfortable subject for most adults because we all have suffered loss at some point in our lives. Such a discussion can unearth painful memories – and this is natural. However, you can be a resource for the child at a critical moment by being someone the child can turn to with death and cremation questions. Remember: Most young children assume that “grown-ups” have all of life’s answers. Encourage the child to ask you anything about the death and the funeral. Give the child honest answers – but in words and concepts that the child will understand.

    Use Simple Explanations

    Armed with your understanding of the cremation process, you need to plan which information to share with the child and how to share it. Take care to use words and concepts that the child can grasp and understand.  This depends not only on the age of the child but on the child’s personality, developmental level and vocabulary. If your words and your tone convey command of the information and familiarity with the cremation process, the child will likely feel the same way.

    Try to provide as much information as possible. Children have an amazing ability to cope with life-changing events. Don’t withhold facts in an attempt to spare a child what you consider to be disturbing details. Often, a child’s imagination can conjure up explanations much scarier than reality if the child is denied the facts. Be the compassionate adult who furthers the child’s understanding.

    Her are some child-friendly answers to questions often asked about cremation:

    • Cremation has been used for thousands of years.  The ancient Greeks and Romans built funeral pyres – stacks of wood with the loved one place atop. The wood was set afire and the body burned, too.  Funeral pyres are still used in some countries today as a tribute to the deceased
    • Cremation doesn’t hurt.  The person is dead, which means the body doesn’t work anymore.  The body’s heart doesn’t beat, the body doesn’t breathe, the brain has stopped working and it doesn’t feel anything anymore.
    • There is no smell and no smoke when a body is cremated.  The process is very, very hot—many times hotter than your oven at home or a campfire.  The heat burns away all the parts of the body except for some pieces of bone.
    • After cremation, what’s left of the body looks like kitty litter or beach sand, although it’s white in color because it’s bone.  It’s put in a clear plastic bag so you can see it if you want to.
    • When a body is buried in the ground in a grave, it breaks down after months and years and just a skeleton is left. Cremation is the same process except cremation makes this happen much faster.
    • The people involved in the cremation process handle the body with dignity and respect.

    Some final thoughts: Where possible, include the child in the cremation and services planning. Let the child feel part of the process of honoring your loved one. Much like many of us want to feel useful and needed during times of stress, so do children. Also, simply being available to the child in the days, weeks and months after the cremation will make for a path to healing. Whether sharing funny stories or expressing how much you both miss your loved one, simply being “someone to talk to” goes a long way to providing a healthy grieving process.

    Please contact CSA for more information regarding our Cremations services as well as family grieving resources. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

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  • We at Cremation Society of America are often asked what is a Direct Cremation and why Direct Cremations have become the preferred choice of an ever-increasing number of Americans.

    Direct Cremation is not just about cost savings. It’s well-established that Direct Cremation is much more affordable than burial – and the cost gap will only widen as time goes on. However, Direct Cremation enjoys other benefits when compared to burial:

    • Acceptance by Many Faiths and Religions: With few exceptions, most faiths and religions have embraced Cremation as an acceptable service for loved ones. The dignity and reverence for loved ones as part of a sanctioned religious ceremony is often the primary concern of families after the passing of a loved one. Cremation is an option for such ceremonies.
    • Flexibility: By choosing Cremation, you avoid the stresses of scheduling your service around the logistics inherent to burials such as the gravesite itself, motorcade/escort, etc. Cremation enables you to literally schedule your service at the time and place of your choosing, including a “Destination Service” in the locale that your loved one truly enjoyed. This includes burial at sea.
    • Distributed Presence of Loved One: Whereas burial in a cemetery requires family in friends to visit the site to pay respects to a loved one, a family can distribute ashes to multiple family members in a solemn way so that the loved one can be in constant remembrance. Decorative Keepsake Urns often become moving tributes to the loved one. In addition, many families are spread across the United States in pursuit of careers and some family members may be unable to travel to the ceremony. Cremation enables multiple ceremonies to be performed so that no family member is prevented from paying respects.

    Why Choose Cremation Society of America?

    Cremation Society of America (“CSA”) is your trusted provider of Cremation services. Since we at CSA focus solely on Cremation – and leave funerals, burials and ceremonies to others – we can offer cost-effective Cremation services without sacrificing the dignity or solemnity of your love one.

    We offer the most efficient online process in the industry as well as 24 x 7 Cremation Consultants who are ready to answer any and all questions during such a troubling time for your family.

    Please Contact CSA for more information regarding our Direct Cremation services and our industry-leading identification protocols to provide you with peace of mind. CSA can also help you Pre-Plan all of your Direct Cremation services to meet your needs. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

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  • So long as you use a licensed and reputable crematory or Cremation Service, you can assume that the ashes or cremains placed in your urn are indeed your loved one. However, many of us have asked ourselves the question “Is he or she REALLY in there? How would I really know? Did the crematory make a mistake?”

    At Cremation Society of America, you receive our Cremation Integrity Promise that our specially-trained team strictly follows our established protocols for ensuring that your loved one is positively identified throughout the cremation process.

    Our industry-leading chain-of-custody procedures include the following:

    Step 1: Before your loved one is removed from the place of death, a sealed identification band is placed on your loved one’s ankle. The placement of the band is certified and witnessed. Your loved one is then transported to our location in a solemn and dignified fashion.

    Step 2: Upon arrival at our location, the information on the identification band is confirmed a second time to be true and correct. A second identification band is then created with a barcode and placed on the wrist of your loved one. The barcode is then scanned and your loved one’s identification is entered into our system for validation and tracking. This ensures that we know the name of your loved one and your loved one’s precise location anywhere within our facility.

    Step 3: Once the designated family members make positive identification of your loved one by viewing or providing a photo ID, your loved one is then moved to the crematory.

    Step 4: Upon arriving at the crematory, identification and verification is confirmed once again and witnessed. Your loved one is then placed in the cremation chamber. An indestructible identification disk is placed in the chamber with your loved one. The disk is approximately the size of a quarter and is made of stainless steel. It will not melt despite the intense heat of the chamber. Unique identification numbers are stamped onto the disk for future verification. The disk will remain with the ashes (cremains) and we will keep a record of the unique identification numbers indefinitely. You are welcome to review the identification numbers upon request.

    Step 5: Once the cremation process is complete, the cremains – including the disk – are then placed into the container or urn selected by the family. The disk remains in the run with the cremains to provide an ironclad method of ensuring that your loved one’s ashes are indeed inside the urn.

    Please Contact CSA for more information regarding our Direct Cremation services and our industry-leading identification protocols to provide you with peace of mind. CSA can also help you pre-plan all of your Direct Cremation services to meet your needs. We look forward to being of service to you and your family.

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