“If only I had known.” Cremation planning.
How many times have you said, “If only I had known.” I said this last week when my children talked me into riding the Iron Rattler at Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. My regret wasn’t riding the “best roller coaster ever,” it was not asking how long the wait would be. An hour and 45 minutes later we enjoyed a 2 minute, 40 second thrill. However, if I had known the “thrill-to-wait” ratio, I would have done things differently.
So what does this have to do with cremation planning or funerals? Technically, nothing. But the idea of asking the important questions does.
It’s about the, “If only I had known”
Many life experiences are evaluated in hindsight. There are families that are surprised when their specific situation and funeral law collide resulting in a more complicated cremation arrangement process. For instance, in the State of Texas, adult stepchildren are not considered legal next of kin (unless they have been legally adopted). As a result, they are unable to sign final arrangement documents. The good news is that if you are aware of this prior to the death, a simple form can be completed to ensure your wishes are followed and that whoever you designate can handle your arrangements.
Don’t be alarmed – Just be prepared
I don’t want to be an alarmist. The vast majority of cremation planning goes smoothly without any concern, especially when there is a living spouse or single next of kin. But if your situation is a little different, it’s best to make a phone call to ensure no additional paperwork is needed prior to a death occurring.
Avoiding potential issues
The most common complications can be avoided by pre-planning. During the arrangement process potential concerns are almost always identified – and can be resolved by completing a Texas Appointment of Agent form (authorizing a specific person to make arrangements) and/or a Texas Body Disposition Authorization (written instrument declaring final wishes).
Licensed funeral homes / cremation service providers are accountable to several agencies and their regulations including OSHA, the Federal Trade Commission and the Texas State Funeral Commission. Each has regulations that must be followed. Unfortunately, very few consumers are aware of them – even though they have the potential of greatly affecting end-of-life planning.
You don’t need to be an expert
Licensed funeral directors and arrangement counselors are trained to identify any concerns that could affect the process. By consulting with a funeral home or cremation provider, you can feel confident you have the information you need.
Making arrangements is free
Funeral homes do not charge to make arrangements in advance. The process involves gathering the basic information that will be needed at the time of death (including vital statistics and next of kin information). The information is typically entered into the company’s files or electronic system for when death occurs. Not only does this make it less stressful on loved ones at the time of death, but ensures all the important questions get answered in advance.
As we begin the New Year, start off with peace of mind by making a phone call and visiting with a funeral director or arrangement counselor. It’s simple, and smart.
aCremation is a licensed funeral establishment specializing in direct cremation throughout North, Central and South Texas. We have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Our team of dedicated, compassionate professionals are available around-the-clock to assist with making cremation arrangements and to answer any questions. aCremation currently serves Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Tyler and Waco. We invite you to call us, toll-free at 877-353-3626.
Photo from MySanAntonio.com