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The Real Responsibilities of the Best Adelaide Funeral Directors

ff9-300x215It’s become such a given fixture of hosting and putting on a funeral that it’s now nearly an afterthought: there will be a funeral director helping out during your funeral in Adelaide. Funeral homes always bring a funeral director with them, and they’re all different, but what do they really do?

If you’ve found yourself wondering this, you may be surprised to find the vast array of responsibilities a funeral director in Adelaide has to take on, but it’s often a profession of passion, so you can expect the best service from them as a general, particularly at Fulham Funerals.

Emotional Responsibilities

This may be the biggest one.

A funeral director is there to manage emotions in a healthy, helpful manner. These professionals are experts on grief and know when to reach out and when to pull back. Managing grief is what a funeral is all about.

Well … Directing

Maybe it’s obvious, but it’s the foremost responsibility of a funeral director to direct a funeral. In some ways a funeral is akin to a performance, and the director has to ensure that the schedule is met, the setting is up to specifications, the service is organised and basically everything you see (and don’t see) during a funeral goes smoothly.

Informing Clients

It all starts with setting up the service and specifications. A director is responsible for ensuring that those who come in requesting a funeral service know what their options are and know what they should expect.

Mediating

There are more people and organisations involved in putting on a funeral service than just the funeral home. The director acts as medium between the cemetery or burial site, lawyers, driving services and any conceivable third party offering a service or product the client may want to include.

Embalming

This is a big part of a funeral director’s job. Embalming is an art form, and a difficult one at that. He/she has to take the considerations and specifications of the survivors into consideration while providing an embalming service that they will all appreciate.

Explaining Responsibilities

This goes for the director and those involved in the funeral service alike. The director will explain all that he/she will be doing and is capable of doing for you, as well as well as what people like the pallbearers, drivers and ushers will have to do during the service.

And More

An Adelaide funeral director is a valuable resource during the funeral service process, and he/she will take on many more responsibilities than just these to ensure everything goes well.

4 Tips for Doing Your Own Funeral Planning

ff82-300x216It’s a macabre proposition to think about, but it’s a necessary part of life: planning what happens after you die.

We all have to face this at some point, and while it’s possible you’re too young to consider a lot of the legalities involved (as well as a generally disconcerting thing if you’re quite young), but if you’ve got any preferences as to what happens with your estate or body postmortem, it’s never too early to get things lined up by being your own funeral planner.

Take these tips to heart to ensure that once things are out of your control, you’ve already applied your control to it.

1. Your Estate

Think about your possessions, both strictly physical and nonphysical. We don’t mean ideas or something abstract when we say nonphysical, we mean money stored in banks and bonds, stocks, titles, leases and anything you own in legality but may not physically be in possession of.

Then think hard about how they would be best distributed among those surviving you, and don’t be afraid to get into the minutiae.

Also consider charities and other organisations you’ve always supported or appreciated. You may want to donate some of that money or those physical items to places they can be guaranteed to be put to good use.

2. Your Body

You may want to donate your body to science, but those surviving you may disagree.

It’s not our place to say to what extent you should do only what you want for your funeral, but do consider the emotions, finances and beliefs of those surviving you, to some extent what happens to your body includes them, so take all your options into consideration. Cremation? Traditional burial? Something else?

If you’re doing cremation, be specific about what you’d like done with your remains, as well.

3. Your Service

There are unlimited possibilities for how to put on a service, so make sure you’re clear on what would be apt for you and how you lived your life.

Do you want it to be more like a celebration, with food and bright colors? Maybe stipulate that no one wear black to promote positivity. Also note if you’d like any sort of music or presentations to be made.

Religious considerations are big, as well. If you prefer a certain type of religious service (or non-religions), make sure that’s known.

4. Paying for the Service

Do you have a prepaid plan? Maybe this is the time to look into one.

You don’t want your family to carry the burden of paying for an expensive funeral on their own, so take all things into consideration with how much it’ll cost and how you can help relieve some of that stress with your estate or your preferences.

If money is a big issue, maybe stipulate a modest service to go along with it if you won’t have the resources to help out after you’ve passed.


5 of the Cheapest Ways to Memorialise a Death

ff61-300x178Whether through cultural differences, reduction of faux pas or just plain financial savviness, there are numerous ways to take from the examples of others to find less expensive ways of memorialising the recently deceased. If you’re facing down expensive funeral plans for your Adelaide funeral, consider taking a page from these books to cut costs. Some of them may be in a bit poorer or different taste than what you’re looking for, but there’s certainly something to be learned here.

Space Burial … Sort Of

As discussed in the previous post on five of the most expensive ways to memorialise a death, having cremated remains literally shot into death can be expensive or cheap, depending on how you look at it.

Per volume, the expulsion of remains into space is quite expensive, rocketing up to $15k, but compared to the cost of a funeral, it’s actually pretty cheap. Lesser options can run in the low $1k’s, so compared to a full-blown funeral ceremony, it’s quite an inexpensive option. What you do with the remaining majority of the remains is up to you and your budget, though.

Hindu Funeral Pyre

The Hindu culture is well-known for having reductive and natural incorporations, and the Antyesti or Antim Saskar funeral rites are no different.

These traditional funeral practices involve, among other things, the inclusion of a funeral pyre rather than a casket for burial or urn for cremated remains, as many are accustomed to today. During this process, the deceased is placed on a pyre near a river with his or her feet facing south. The body is then “cremated” on the pyre, with the fire beginning in the mouth of the deceased. The remains are collected days later in an urn for immersion in a river, the specifics of which can vary based on finances.

Spreading the Remains

This may be the simplest, most agreeable solution for an inexpensive memorial, as well as the most apt.

While this still requires cremation costs to be paid, spreading remains is a way to circumvent the cost of an urn or casket/burial. It also allows the unique opportunity to do something that’s truly fitting to the personality of the deceased. For instance, if he or she loved the sea, there’s always the “burial at sea” thing. If the person liked gardening, the remains can be buried in a garden. If the person liked illicit substances, like Tupac Shakur and his surviving loved ones, the remains can be incorporated into a type of material that can be ingested respirationally. I think you get the idea.

A Braveheart Service

If the deceased loved Scottish lore, Medieval ways or just Mel Gibson, there’s always the William Wallace method.

During the movie, upon the death of the beloved protagonist, Wallace’s body was sent off in a pyre made of simple, highly flammable substances on a body of water, and then received a flaming arrow. Not sure how this compared with the real William Wallace funeral that was held centuries later, but it’s probably much cheaper and more dexterous to pull off.

BYOC

Build your own coffin.

This final possibility is great for the die-hard do-it-yourselfer or the family who loves a bargain. It even aligns with many religions’ calls toward simplicity and humility, such as that of the Jewish faith, which typically calls for simple pine boxes to be used for burial.

With this one, be sure to consult local regulations, as well as the advising of your funeral home, as it’s not uncommon for funeral directors to take adverse stances on this.

5 of the Most Expensive Ways to Memorialise a Death

ff7-300x140Funeral plan management got you down when it brings you to see the price tag involved? For those suffering from the prospect of funeral planning for an expensive funeral, consider some of the world’s most incredibly expensive ways to honor the deceased. It’s incredibly unlikely that you were actually considering any of these options, but seeing how other peoples and cultures put on funeral ceremonies could provide some interesting food for thought and new perspectives on how we do it over here.

Gold, Gold and then Some More Gold

Considering how much it’d cost to have a body buried in a solid gold sarcophagus, then have that sarcophagus encased in a dense gold casket then have that big burrito of gold and remains transported by a carriage that’s also made of, you guessed it, pure gold? Alexander the Great had his lifeless body encased as such but probably didn’t consider it much, but why would the conqueror of the near entirety of the known world have to worry about such trivial things as half a billion dollars after he died?

Experts speculate that the price of a funeral like this would register at about $600 million today, not to mention the two years of planning. Personally, I think if you can afford that much on a gold sarcophagus, you should think about sending at least a few dollars to charity.

A Plot near Marilyn Monroe

We talked about this a bit in the last two posts on expensive and inexpensive funerals, but now let’s look at it as an option for the consumer.

If you love Monroe as much as the likes of Hugh Heffner, consider dropping over a million dollars for the honor of taking a plot adjacent to hers. Someone actually bid over $4 million for one, won the plot and then realised it was a lot of money and recanted.

Get Buried in Japan

The Japanese funeral industry is notorious for hiking prices for funerals seemingly without scruples.

While it’s quite common for our traditional funerals to run into four figures, the average Japanese funeral jumps up to five. This may in part deal with the limited burial space for the incredibly high population and its unfavorable ratio or the high cost of living (and thus, dying) in cities like Tokyo, but the fact of the matter is it’s just really expensive to have even an average funeral in an already famously expensive country.

Cryogenic Freezing

Want to live forever? While we just don’t have any hint of a notion as to how to pull off regeneration today, it’ll cost you well over $100,000 dollars to even get an outside shot at it through soliciting the help of scientists of the future.

By having your brain and/or body frozen by experts for six figures, you allow the chance that one day scientists will figure out how to bring people back to life (and also possibly transplant brains into new bodies) and use their resources, for some reason, to bring the hordes of wealthy eternal optimists into new existence.

Space Burial … Sort Of

This is only in comparison to having simple cremation done, but is actually not incredibly expensive.

All those cosmophiles out there can have their bodies cremated after death and have a small portion of those remains shipped off in a pinky-sized capsule to be held in the nether-regions of the great beyond. Sound great? A private company does all this for the modest fee of up to $6,000, or $20,000 for a larger portion.

5 Funny Gravestone Epitaphs

ff5-300x163Death may commonly be seen as the most serious, depressing or bleak subject there is, but people cope with things in different and often strange ways. These gravestone epitaphs range from the satirical to the downright witty and exemplify how sometimes making light of the dark situation can be helpful. If your funeral planning may not include such a brash sense of humour as what’s seen here, maybe your funeral in Adelaide should feature some levity.

Here lies an Atheist. All dressed up and no place to go.

Dedicated religious followers often use death as a time to witness to others about the afterlife. Atheists may be well-known for vehement religious opposition, but this person decided to play off of that religious propensity and say something spiritually profound that may actually be a better case against Atheism than for it.

I told you I was sick.

This shtick seems to be relatively common in the realm of tongue-in-cheek epitaphs. A William H. Hahn, Jr., one B. P. Roberts, the tandem Juan Jose Laureano and Maria Arroyo as well as unnamed others have all offered the same final I-told-you-so.

I will not be right back after this message.

So states the headstone of American comedy icon Merv Griffin, who wanted to make one final joke that riffed on his career as a late night talk show host. Not sure what the message is, but you can’t help but appreciate the idea.

Let ’er rip

This classy line came from an American funnyman of the highest order, Leslie Nielsen. Famous for slapstick/pun-centric comedies like Airplane! and Dracula: Dead and Loving It, this epitaph’s brilliance is its play on RIP to bring a fart joke to a cemetery in only three words.

ONE HELL OF A WOMAN

This punny little quip is another riff on common cemetery associations, using “hell” not as the place bad people go when they die, but a commentary on her personality. What actually makes this a double joke, is her name, B. “Snooty” Lockwood. Even her name is a telling pun.

MA LOVES PA – PA LOVES WOMEN / MA CAUGHT PA, WITH 2 IN SWIMMIN / HERE LIES PA…

This popular epitaph of one Lawrence L. Cook Jr. makes use of poetry to tell the brief story of an entire marriage, which culminated in a death. The comma splice and dropped g in “swimmin” also indicate the dialect of the man involved, showing this to be an astoundingly complete story and characterization. The added playing card graphic doesn’t hurt, either.

A Lesson in Frugal Funeral Planning: 5 Surprisingly Inexpensive Funerals

ff4-300x195If you think Adelaide funerals have to be expensive, check out these 6 memorials for famous world figures that cost way less than you might imagine. If you read our recent post on the incredibly expensive funerals, you may be thinking that having a lot of money requires a funeral service that costs a lot of money, but the modesty displayed by these people in passing may show otherwise. Maybe we can all take a lesson from them when planning a funeral and spare the costs of city-wide processions, mahogany caskets, rhinestone adornments and thousands of bouquets of roses.

Marilyn Monroe … Sort Of

If you read the aforementioned post on pricey funerals, you may be wondering how the funeral of the world’s most famous sex symbol can qualify for both lists, but it only sort of fits on both.

The high expense of Monroe’s service wasn’t the service itself, but the money involved in what came afterward: the plots, the flowers etc. Her service itself was actually quite a modest affair closed off to the public and only attended by those close to her. It’s likely her service looked very much like ones you’ve been to or plan for, just with Joe DiMaggio confessing his love for the departed.

Whitney Houston

The world-renowned soul diva lived a life that was both glamorous and tragically bleak, but her service was simple, elegant and heartfelt.

The relatively small ceremony, held in a Baptist church, didn’t call much attention to itself. However, that doesn’t mean that the attendance wasn’t something akin to a world hunger charity benefit concert, with the likes of Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder in the crowd alongside non-musical stars like Kevin Costner, Tyler Perry and Oprah. But just having people worth millions at a service doesn’t make the service worth millions.

Elvis Presley … Sort Of

One of the world’s most famous, most industry-changing performers and icons brought in huge money over the course of his career, but his funeral service turned out to be quite low-key and even a bit controversial.

The small, private ceremony may have drawn countless hordes to try to catch a glimpse of the procession, but the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s service was lightly attended by mostly his family and close friends. Of course, the ceremony was basically the only modest part; the procession and burial were a completely different story.

However, it did yield one of the most expensive (and lucrative) photographs of all time, as his cousin took a surreptitious photo of his face and sold the exclusive image (press was not allowed in) for huge bucks. The issue of The National Enquirer that featured it was one of the best-selling magazine features of all time.

John Lennon … Sort Of

This one’s a bit complicated.

The international icon of peace and rock didn’t actually have a service to commemorate his death. Instead, his wife Yoko Ono decided it would be better to have everyone in the world pray for his psychedelic soul at the same time. Interesting choice for commemorating the guy who imagined a world with no religion.

Graham Chapman

The Monty Python alum’s service wasn’t only modest, but didn’t even bring out many of his comedy troupe’s big names. In their stead, they sent a wreath featuring the iconic foot and the message, Stop us if we’re getting too silly.

Of course, this didn’t stop longtime friend John Cleese from delivering one of the most famous – and entertaining – eulogies ever recorded.

3 Casket Scam Tactics and How to Avoid Them

ff3It’s common knowledge for most all of us that funerals are expensive, and caskets can be one of the most expensive aspects of anyone’s funeral.

While we’d all like to believe that all Adelaide funeral homes and funeral planners are trustworthy and have every client’s best interests in mind, there’s no way to know that for sure. While we have no direct evidence or reason to believe that any specific Adelaide funeral director has a mind to scam anyone at all, it’s still valuable to be aware of the possible scams out there so you can be protected with knowledge when the time comes to plan the event.

Casket scams are surprisingly not too uncommon in the funeral industry, particularly in that the line between what’s a scam and what’s simply savvy salesmanship is so fine. But even aside from reducing the risk of casket scam, knowing what to look out for can even serve to simply save you hassle and money when considering the right casket for the person. Take these tips to heart to avoid some of the most common casket scams out there.

Casket Bargains that Aren’t Really Bargains

Always be wary – when buying anything, really – of an exceptional bargain. Since it’s such a common perception that caskets are expensive features of an expensive service, some funeral directors may take advantage and offer misleading sales.

If you’re looking through caskets at a funeral home and are offered an incredible deal, learn as much as you can about it before making any commitments. Check the fine print and ask questions. Don’t let yourself get fooled and end up finding out after you paid for it that there’s an exorbitant fee.

Look Out for Financing

Financing scams are some of the most common scams in any industry. Consider credit cards. While they’re not scams, per se, they are often misleading to the uninitiated so as to take advantage of those who don’t understand the rules of interest.

Financing such a big purchase may seem like a good idea at the time, but be sure to check the fine print and make sure that if you’re being offered great financing it’s not because there’s a late kick-back of interest that’ll end up doubling the price of the casket in no time.

You’re Shopping, so Shop Around

Here’s a tactic often seen in retail, particularly in car dealerships. Salesmen like to show you the top of the line first, the expensive stuff that they make seem completely essential, and then everything you look at thereafter pales by comparison and you’re left thinking you’re missing out on something important by not going with the first thing you were offered.

Don’t feel embarrassed to look through the cheapest options or specify a low price range. No matter what you’re offered first, make sure you see the whole inventory, and then make the decision for yourself based on your budget.

In General

In general, go with what fits your budget and the deceased. Don’t let anyone push you around or make you think that they know the person better than you do. This goes for novelty caskets as well; who’s to say that it would or wouldn’t be best to bury the deceased with his or her favorite ball club’s logo staring back at them for eternity? We can’t say either way.

The key here is know what you can afford and what you can’t from the outset and don’t be
“guilted” into any rash decisions by a complete stranger.

Not Even Pre-paid Funerals Could Help: 5 Pricey Funerals

ff2-300x174Everyone’s looking to save money in this economy, and with the price of many types of funerals being relatively high, saving on funeral costs is common today, with pre-paid funerals being a popular option. But these celebrities and famous historical figures had no expenses spared in their memorialisations; not even pre-paying could have made these services affordable for the remaining 99% of us. Funeral planning itself for these events probably cost several times what the average wealthy person’s entire funerals cost today.

Michael Jackson

The king of pop and one of the most heavily scrutinized public pop-culture icons of the past century was famous for not only making big money, but also for spending it extravagantly. His funeral was no exception.

Like an MJ performance, the service was something of a spectacle. Held on July 7, 2009, the service was broadcast on TV for a world-wide audience to mourn his loss, pay tribute or just enjoy as a showcase. The event, though only barely topping ten figures, featured big name musicians, athletes, actors and other performers giving eulogies and even putting on performances for the occasion. By the standards of the following funerals, however, MJ’s service may have been lush, but it wasn’t excessive.

Princess Diana

The death of “Lady D” became less a matter of loss and more a matter of novelty over the months – and even years – following.

The procession was a grand one, traversing the streets between Westminster Abbey and Kingston Place with those fancy British royal guards promenading all the way. Topping around $5,000,000, the event was similar to Michael Jackson’s funeral in that it became a worldwide spectacle. About two-and-a-half billion people watched the ceremony on television across the globe, no matter what time zone they were in.

But the event turned out to be a force of good as well. Elton John famously performed a re-adapted song of his own during the ceremony, which would eventually become the highest grossing song world-wide, and the proceeds all went to various charities Lady D was actively involved in during her life.

Pope John Paul II

This one cost the Vatican over nine million euros, vastly overshadowing pretty much any funeral ever.

The service required almost a week of funeral planning following the death of one of the most canonised religious figures in modern history, and brought together not only just about every political figure you’ve ever heard of short of King Nebuchadnezzar, but around 4,000,000,000 regular people in Rome, plus about half that in broadcast viewers. The attendance was double the television audience. And to align with Catholic ideals for humility, he even requested to be buried in a modest casket, showing how much the rest of the world thought of him above how he thought of himself.

Anna Nichole Smith

The former Playboy model and media object suffered a troubling death, but her funeral turned out to be something akin to an excessive circus event.

Buried in a rhinestone blanket within a casket constructed of rich mahogany, the event of her funeral seemed largely a media event as even cameramen were charged four figures just to be there.

Marilyn Monroe … Sort Of

While Monroe’s private funeral in a relatively unknown cemetery in LA wasn’t extravagant on its own, the aftermath has proven to be exceedingly more expensive than the average person’s.

It’s well-known that her second husband, Yankee Hall of Fame and general baseball hero Joe DiMaggio had three bouquets of roses sent to her resting place every week for 20 years, while long-time admirer Hugh Heffner reportedly continues to have roses delivered to her plot daily, though he never actually knew her personally. Considering the quality of flower the two of them likely deemed fitting for the star, these costs probably run up to some people’s total yearly salaries.

Additionally, as the cemetery only became a coveted resting place after her death, there were a number of plots available surrounding Monroe’s, which come with ten-figure price tags. Heffner already has his.

Are Pre-paid Funeral Plans Worth the Money? A Definitive Answer

ff1-300x173It’s not the simplest answer, but we can arrive at relatively definitive conclusion for many people.

We’ve already talked pretty extensively about the benefits and the essential precautions that should be taken when considering pre-paid funeral plans, as well as the ideal circumstances for considering them, so we’ll round out this series with a third post on pre-paid funerals.

For this installment, we’ll take a closer look at all the risks, benefits and other factors involved in Adelaide funeral pre-planning and hopefully arrive at a helpful conclusion for those who are still doubtful of their stance on an important issue.

The Risks

In our pre-paid funeral precautions blog we touched on the risks involved, but are they really factors for most people?

There certainly are funeral directors and funeral homes out there that don’t always operate with their clients’ best interests in mind, but they’re definitely not the majority. If you feel you’ve found a trustworthy institution to take on your service (through research, word-of-mouth, past experiences etc.), chances are their pre-paid funeral options are trustworthy, too.

So what remains at this point is the risk of the individual. There’s no way for us to assess how well any readers may be able to read into the fine print of a pre-paid contract, so you’ll have to take this one on yourself or hire a legal professional to help out. Read carefully, ask questions and be sure to follow through with everything asked of you. It’s very likely that moving to a new city will not work out with the contract, so take those considerations before signing anything.

The Benefits

Remember, what you’re looking at with a pre-paid funeral plan is essentially a bond that’s protected, certified and guaranteed to cover a value that increases over time.

At Fulham Funerals, for instance, we take our clients’ pre-paid investments and place them either in Funeral Plan Management Pty Ltd or Catholic Funeral Trust. From there, interest accrues, meaning what you pay now will grow to align with inflation to ensure it covers potentially higher funeral costs down the road.

But what may be more important than saving money on your Adelaide funeral is saving stress. Paying for a funeral is a huge commitment, and one no one would want to leave to the surviving family members. Taking care of the financial specifics now can save your family from an incredible burden.

Who Should Consider Pre-paid Plans

So, then, who should consider this? Quite simply, those who know for sure where they’ll be buried. If you can find a funeral home you trust and know you’ll go with when the time comes, there’s virtually no reason not to. Be sure that the pre-paid plan, like Fulham Funerals’, only invests in government-approved areas to reduce risk.

Who Shouldn’t Consider Pre-paid Plans

If you’d like to keep the option of moving open, it’s best not to consider this. Also if you’re genuinely still uncomfortable with the idea of having others handle your investments, there’s no reason to add the stress of uncertainty. Finally, if money is just not an issue whatsoever, there’s really no reason to take one of these on.

Tips for Planning a Funeral

Tips-for-Planning-a-FuneralWhether someone you love has recently passed or you are just a forward-looking planner, if an exceptional funeral service is important to you or a loved one, detailed planning is extremely important.

Death is a trying, complex time. If you neglect planning a funeral and informing others of those plans or wait to plan a funeral until death has occurred, not only can financing be difficult, but the resulting service may do a disservice to the deceased.

Why You Owe It to Your Loved Ones to Plan

Remember, things like funeral planning don’t get clearer when death has occurred. The deep emotions of grief cloud judgment, and having to take on the role of funeral planner can be detrimental to those who are grieving.

Also they may worry about “getting it right.” Make your funeral plans known to your loved ones so that when the time comes, they have the comfort of knowing your wishes are being fulfilled.

Financing

Financing can be very tricky in funeral planning. Funerals can be expensive, and if you have no financial options set in place, you could leave a heavy financial burden on those who survive you.

One way to simplify this immensely is through enlisting a prepaid funeral plan. This option can be cost efficient, locking in a low, current price in a market that may grow more expensive over time. It’s also convenient and comfortable, allowing you and your family the peace of knowing that when the time comes, costs are taken care of.

If prepaid funerals don’t seem like a good idea for any reason, try setting up a savings account for it with someone you trust.

The Estate

Do you know where your estate is going? Be sure to set up a will, even if you don’t foresee death in the near future. If an accident should occur or complications begin to cloud your judgment, you’ll take comfort in knowing what will come of your possessions.

Talk about It

If someone you love may be facing death soon, talk to him or her about what he or she wants. There are lots of variables to any funeral, so be sure to find out what he or she wants in terms of burial and service. Will they want cremation? Will they want to be buried out of state? Is there a particular plot they have in mind that means a lot to them? Factor in all these things.

It may help to consult a professional funeral planner as well to make sure all angles are covered. If you have a funeral home in mind, consult the funeral director to see what arrangements should be made.

For your Adelaide funeral, consult Fulham Funerals to see what should be done to make sure your funeral or the funeral of a loved one is exactly what is hoped for.