Welcome to the Swartz Family Community Mortuary and Memorial Center. Here you will find information regarding funeral issues, guidance, where to turn, local cemeteries and church listings and a growing number of community support links.
Bluff Creek Cemetery
W. State Road 144 Greenwood IN 46143
Forest Lawn Memory Gardens
1977 S. State Road 135 Greenwood IN 46143
620 W. Main Street Greenwood IN 46142
Mount Pleasant Cemetery
734 N. Morgantown Road Greenwood IN 46142
E. Rocklane Road Greenwood IN 46142
1510 Centennial Road Martinsville IN 46151-8230
Mount Nebo Memorial Park
3295 State Road 252 Martinsville IN 46151
Clear Creek Cemetery
W. Church Lane Bloomington IN 47403
Flatrock Baptist Cemetery
550 N. River Road Columbus IN 47201
First Mount Pleasant Cemetery
W. State Road 44 Franklin IN 46131
100 W. South Street Franklin IN 46131
Union Township Franklin IN 46131
RR 7 Franklin IN 46131
Hurricane Road Franklin IN 46131
Second Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Franklin IN 46131
Forest Hill Cemetery
704 Morris Avenue Shelbyville IN 46176-1516
Holy Cross / St. Joseph Cemeteries
2446 S. Meridian Street Indianapolis IN 46225
Oaklawn Memorial Gardens
9700 Allisonville Road Indianapolis IN 46250
Alternate Phone: 877-773-7526
Round Hill Cemetery
Epler Avenue & S. State Road 135 Indianapolis IN 46227
Washington Park East Cemetery
10612 E. Washington Street Indianapolis IN 46229
Alternate Phone: 877-773-7526
Washington Park North Cemetery
2702 Kessler Boulevard West Drive Indianapolis IN 46228
Alternate Phone: 877-773-7526
Memorial Park Cemetery
919 Willow Road Vincennes IN 47591
5894 W. 900 South Edinburgh IN 46124
Resthaven Municipal Cemetery
650 S. Eisenhower Drive Edinburgh IN 46124
Nineveh IN 46164
Rochester IOOF Cemetery
620 W. 3rd Street Rochester IN 46975
All Occasion Flowers & Gifts
107 E. Main Cross Edinburgh IN 46124
Contact: Sheila M. Simpson
Edinburgh Flower, Gift & Bridal Shop
119 W. Thompson Edinburgh IN 46124
Phone: (812) 526-5717
Bud & Bloom South, Inc.
355 N. US 31 (Morton Street) Franklin IN 46131
Phone: (317) 738-3330
Contact: Jim Myrick
J. P. Parker
377 E. Jefferson Street Franklin IN 46131
Phone: (317) 738-9837
Fax: (317) 738-9806
Contact: Karen Morgason
Cattleya Flower Garden
223 W. Main Street, Greenwood, IN 46142
Phone: (317) 704-4535
105 S. Madison Avenue Greenwood IN 46142
Phone: (317) 887-2777
862 S. SR 135 Greenwood IN 46143
Phone: (317) 881-8877
Steve's Flowers & Gifts
2900 Fairview Place Greenwood IN 46142
Phone: (317) 888-7531
Flowers by Valerie
8053 S. Madison Avenue Indianapolis IN 46227
Alternate Phone: 877-664-2835
Contact: Michael J. Poore
8540 S. Madison Avenue Indianapolis IN 46227
Phone: (317) 885-8200
Contact: Nancy Matthews
Critser's Flowers & Gifts
59 W. Washington Street, Morgantown, IN 46160
Phone: (812) 597-4551
Fax: (812) 597-5744
Reflections Flowers & Gifts
8012 S. Nineveh Road Nineveh IN 46164
Phone: (317) 933-9400
Fax: (317) 933-4867
Best Western Shelbyville
68 E. Rampart Shelbyville IN 46176
Phone: (317) 398-0472
36 W. Rampart Shelbyville IN 46176
Phone: (317) 398-8044
2122 Holiday Lane Franklin IN 46131
Phone: (317) 736-0480
2180 E. King Street Franklin IN 46131
Phone: (317) 736-8000
150 Lover's Lane Franklin IN 46131
Phone: (317) 346-6444
Country Inn And Suites
4325 Southport Crossing Way Indianapolis IN 46227
Phone: (317) 859-6666
Fairfirld Inn By Marriott
4504 Southport Crossings Drive Indianapolis IN 46227
Phone: (317) 888-5535
Hampton Inn South
7045 McFarland Boulevard Indianapolis IN 46227
Phone: (317) 889-0722
Hilton Garden Inn
12210 Executive Drive Edinburgh IN 46124
Phone: (812) 526-9337
Alternate Phone: (812) 526-8600
Holiday Inn Express Hotels & Suites
1180 Wilson Drive Greenwood IN 46142
Phone: (317) 881-0600
Lee's Inn & Suites
1281 Southpark Drive Greenwood IN 46142
Phone: (317) 865-0100
Red Carpet Inn
1117 E. Main Street Greenwood IN 46142
Phone: (317) 882-2211
Community Congregational Church
4592 N. Hurricane Road Franklin IN 46131
Fair Haven Christian Church
1476 W. 300 S Franklin IN 46131
First Mount Pleasant Baptist Church
952 W. State Road 44 Franklin IN 46131
First Presbyterian Church
100 E. Madison Franklin IN 46131
First Separate Baptist Church of Franklin
300 Ohio Street Franklin IN 46131
Franklin Assembly Church
201 E. Madison Franklin IN 46131
Franklin Christian Fellowship
2800 N. Graham Road Franklin IN 46131
Franklin Church of Christ
3600 N. Morton Street Franklin IN 46131
Franklin Church of The Nazarene
140 W. Branigan Road Franklin IN 46131
Franklin Community Church
2005 Upper Shelbyville Road Franklin IN 46131
Franklin Memorial Christian Church
1720 N. Graham Road Franklin IN 46131
Friendship Baptist Church
1600 Westview Drive Franklin IN 46131
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
1300 S. Morton Street Franklin IN 46131
Grace United Methodist Church
1300 E. Adams Franklin IN 46131
Hopewell Presbyterian Church
RR 7 Franklin IN 46131
New Life Baptist Church
751 Nineveh Street Franklin IN 46131
Second Baptist Church
400 W. Madison Street Franklin IN 46131
Second Mount Pleasant Baptist Church
1540 N. 800 E Franklin IN 46131
St. Andrew's Anglican Catholic Church
920 N. Main Street Franklin IN 46131
St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
114 Lancelot Drive Franklin IN 46131
St. Thomas Episcopal Church
600 Paul Hand Boulevard Franklin IN 46131
Tabernacle Christian Church
198 N. Water Street Franklin IN 46131
Union Christian Church
1267 E. 300 S Franklin IN 46131
N. Morton Street (US 31) Franklin IN 46131
Phone: (317) 736-7101
Monuments By James Hayworth
734 N. Morgantown Road Greenwood IN 46142
Phone: (317) 881-1895
Alternate Phone: (317) 370-5244
Contact: James Hayworth
Alzheimer's Foundation of America
322 8th Avenue, #700 New York NY 10001
American Cancer Society
5635 W.96th Street, Suite 100 Zionsville IN 46077
American Diabetic Association of Indiana
6415 Castleway West Drive, Suite 114 Indianapolis IN 46250-1989
American Lung Association
115 W. Washington Street, Suite 1180 Indianapolis IN 46204
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Indiana Chapter
941 E. 86th Street, #100 Indianapolis IN 46240-1842
Make A Wish Foundation
7330 Woodland Avenue, #201 Indianapolis IN 46278
Riley Children's Hospital
P.O. Box 660243 Indianapolis IN 46209-0631
Ronald McDonald House
435 Limestone Street Indianapolis IN 46202
Visiting Nurse Association
2915 N. High School Road Indianapolis IN 46224
American Heart Association
3816 Paysphere Circle Chicago IL 60674
Humane Society of Johnson County
3827 N. Graham Road Franklin IN 46131
In practice, donations cannot be carried out without the consent of next-of-kin. Advance discussion of donation with family members is just as important as signing a card. In a time of extreme stress and grief, a signed donor card and knowledge of the individual's wishes will help families make their decision about donation.
organ and tissue
Anyone who is 18 or older and of sound mind may become a donor when he or she dies. Minors may become donors with a parent's or guardian's consent.
No. Medical personnel must follow strict guidelines before they can pronounce death and remove the donor's organs and tissues. Organ and tissue donors receive the same health care as non-donors
Medical personnel will know by your carrying of a " Donor Card". You should distribute copies to your family, doctors, funeral home that holds your pre-arranged services and attorney.
The organ donation programs, funded through health care, pay for all costs involved in the organ donation and recovery.
The distributions of organs is handled by regional organ banks which are linked to a national computer network that allows them to speed the process of matching organ donors and recipients. Tissue distribution is coordinated by various tissue banks throughout the country.
Although most programs do have age restrictions for organs, it should not influence your decision to become a donor. The transplant team will decide at the time of donation whether the organs or tissues are useful for donation. If the organs or tissues can't be transplanted, it is possible that the organs or tissues may be helpful in medical research.
Within reason, organ donation does not delay funeral arrangements or disfigure the body, so no changes will be needed in your funeral plans. If you plan to donate your body for medical research, you should be sure to arrange all of the details with your local anatomical board.
Absolutely, simply tear up your donor card. Anyone that you have told about your donation request should be notified of this change. Tell family members, doctors, funeral home, and if you have made arrangements to have your status indicated on your driver's license be sure to contact the driver's license office to have your status changed.
HOW WILL I KNOW DEATH OCCURRED
Even though death is expected, you may not be prepared for the actual moment it occurs. At the time of death:
There will be no response
There will be no breathing
There will be no pulse
Eyes will be fixed in one direction
Eyelids may be opened or closed
There may be loss of control of the bladder or bowel
The procedures followed prior to and after death by nurses, physicians and funeral directors will be different from county to county, province to province and state to state. If your loved one is living with a terminal disease you should ask your physician and funeral director what the procedures are in your area.
Remember: This is an expected death and no further medical intervention is required.
Do not call 911, the police of the fire department.
AFTER DEATH HAS OCCURRED
If you have health care professionals involved in the care of the dying person they should be notified of the death. They are available to provide you with emotional support and assistance regarding phone calls to the physician and the funeral home.
A physician must be called by the nurse or the family so that the death can be certified.
At the same time, it is necessary to call the funeral home to inform them that your loved one has died.
You may spend as much time as needed with the deceased person. Do not be afraid to touch, hug or kiss the person. Some people may wish to lie down beside him/her.
A health care provider may also help with the safe, responsible way of storing and disposing of medication and equipment, but it is the family's responsibility to do so.
You may have dealt with many intense emotions and challenges in your journey through the loss of your loved one.
It is important to realize that grief is a highly personal response to life losses. Grief may last longer than society recognizes, so be patient with yourself and allow for the expression of feelings that you are feeling.
WHO TO CALL FIRST?
Whether you received a 2 a.m. phone call with news of an unexpected death or shared your loved one's final moments of a long illness, your initial reaction to the death was likely shock. It doesn't seem to matter how prepared we are - or aren't - a loved one's death often leaves us feeling numb and bewildered. If you're responsible for making the funeral arrangements or executing the will, shock and grief can be immobilizing. Even simple decisions can be overwhelming.
Making the first phone call
What to do first depends on the circumstances of the death. When someone dies in a hospital or similar care facility, the staff will usually take care of some arrangements, such as contacting the funeral home you choose, and if necessary, arranging an autopsy. You will need to notify family, friends and clergy. It may be easier on you to make a few phone calls to other relatives or friends and ask each of them to make a phone call or two to specific people, so the burden of spreading the news isn't all on you. If you are alone, ask someone to keep you company while you make these calls and try to cope with the first hours after the death.
Call a funeral director
Whatever the circumstances of death, one of your first calls should be to a licensed funeral director. We are here to help you:
transport the body obtain a death certificate select a casket, urn and/or grave marker arrange the funeral, memorial and/or burial service
prepare the obituary help you notify the deceased's employer, attorney, insurance company and banks offer grief support or direct you to other resources
Call the employer
If your loved one was working, you'll need to call his or her employer immediately. Ask about the deceased's benefits and any pay due, including vacation or sick time, disability income, etc. Ask if you or other dependents are still eligible for benefit coverage through the company. Ask whether there is a life insurance policy through the employer, who the beneficiary is and how to file a claim.
Call the life insurance company
Look through the deceased's paperwork for the life policy. Call the agent or the company and ask how to file a claim. Usually the beneficiary (or the beneficiary's guardian, if a minor) must complete the claim forms and related paperwork. You'll need to submit the death certificate and a claimant's statement to establish proof of claim. Remember to ask about payment options. You may have a choice between receiving a lump sum or the having the insurance company place the money in an interest-bearing account from which you can write checks.
Even though common sense and good discretion are always the best guides to proper funeral etiquette, a few principles still apply.
It is a common gesture for close friends of the bereaving family to visit the family's home to offer sympathy and assistance - this is sometimes referred to as a condolence visit. With the bereaving family having to ensure that all the arrangements are looked after, a close friend(s) may become very helpful with food preparation and childcare. The visit can take place any time within the first few weeks of death, and may be followed with one or more additional visits, depending on the circumstances and your relationship with the family.
In addition to expressing sympathy it is appropriate, if desired, to relate to family members your fond memories of the deceased. In some cases family members may simply want you to be a good listener to their expressions of grief or memories of the deceased. In most circumstances it is not appropriate to inquire as to the cause of death.
If you attend a wake you should approach the family and express your sympathy. As with the condolence visit it is appropriate to relate your memories of the deceased. If you were only acquainted with the deceased (and not the family) you should introduce yourself.
It is customary to show your respects by viewing the deceased if the body is present and the casket is open. You may wish to say a silent prayer for, or meditate about, the deceased at this time. In some cases the family may escort you to the casket.
The length of your visit at the wake is a matter of discretion. After visiting with the family and viewing the deceased you can visit with others in attendance. Normally there is a register for visitors to sign.
As with other aspects of modern day society funeral dress codes have relaxed somewhat. Black dress is no longer required. Instead subdued or darker hues should be selected, the more conservative the better. After the funeral the family often receives invited visitors to their home for pleasant conversation and refreshments.
You can send flowers to the funeral home prior to the funeral, or to the family residence at any time. In some cases flowers may also be sent to Protestant churches. (Flowers generally are not sent to Jewish synagogues and Catholic churches.) Florists know what is appropriate to send in the funeral context.
Gifts in memory of the deceased are often made, particularly when the family has requested gifts in lieu of flowers. The family is notified of the gifts by personal note from the donor or through the donee, if the donee is a charity or other organization. In the latter case the donor provides the family's name and address to the charity at the time the gift is made.
Even if you don't make a gift, a note or card to the deceased's family expressing your thoughts of the deceased is a welcome gesture, especially if you weren't able to attend the funeral.
The funeral is a ceremony of proven worth and value for those who mourn. It provides an opportunity for the survivors and others who share in the loss to express their love, respect, grief and appreciation for a life that has been lived. It permits facing openly and realistically the crisis a death presents. Through the funeral the bereaved take that first step toward emotional adjustment to their loss. This information has been prepared as a convenient reference for modern funeral practices and customs.
THE FUNERAL SERVICE
The family specifies the type of service conducted for the deceased. Funeral directors are trained to assist families in arranging whatever type of service they desire. The service held either at a place of worship or at the funeral home with the deceased present, varies in ritual according to denomination. The presence of friends at this time is an acknowledgment of friendship and support. It is helpful to friends and the community to have an obituary notice published announcing the death and type of service to be held.
This service is by invitation only and may be held at a place of worship, a funeral home or a family home. Usually, selected relatives and a few close friends attend the funeral service. Often public visitation is held, condolences are sent, and the body is viewed.
A memorial service is a service without the body present and can vary in ceremony and procedures according to the community and religious affiliations. Some families prefer public visitations followed by a private or graveside service with a memorial service later at the church or funeral home.
Friends, relatives, church members or business associates may be asked to serve as pallbearers. The funeral director will secure pallbearers if requested to do so by the family.
When the deceased has been active in political, business, church or civic circles, it may be appropriate for the family to request close associates of the deceased to serve as honorary pallbearers. They do not actively carry the casket.
A member of the family, clergy, a close personal friend or a business associate of the deceased, may give a eulogy. The eulogy is not to be lengthy, but should offer praise and commendation and reflect the life of the person who has died.
Wearing colorful clothing is no longer inappropriate for relatives and friends. Persons attending a funeral should be dressed in good taste so as to show dignity and respect for the family and the occasion.
FUNERAL PROCESSION / CORTEGE
When the funeral ceremony and the burial are both held within the local area, friends and relatives might accompany the family to the cemetery. The procession is formed at the funeral home or place of worship. The funeral director can advise you of the traffic regulations and procedures to follow while driving in a funeral procession.
The time of death is a very confusing time for family members. No matter what your means of expressing your sympathy, it is important to clearly identify yourself to the family.
Sending a floral tribute is a very appropriate way of expressing sympathy to the family of the deceased. Flowers express a feeling of life and beauty and offer much comfort to the family. A floral tribute can either be sent to the funeral home or the residence. If sent to the residence, usually a planter or a small vase of flowers indicating a person's continued sympathy for the family is suggested. The florist places an identification card on the floral tribute. At the funeral home the cards are removed from the floral tributes and given to the family so they may acknowledge the tributes sent.
Mass cards can be sent either by Catholic or non-Catholic friends. The offering of prayers is a valued expression of sympathy to a Catholic family. A card indicating that a mass for the deceased has been arranged may be obtained from any Catholic parish. In some areas it is possible to obtain mass cards at the funeral home. The mass offering card or envelope is given to the family as an indication of understanding, faith and compassion. Make sure that your name and address is legible and that you list your postal code. This will make it easier for the family to acknowledge your gift.
A memorial contribution, to a specific cause or charity, can be appreciated as flowers. A large number of memorial funds are available, however the family may have expressed a preference. Memorial donations provide financial support for various projects. If recognized as a charitable institution, some gifts may be deductible for tax purposes. Your funeral director is familiar with them and can explain each option, as well as supply the donor with "In Memoriam" cards, which are given to the family.
Sending a card of sympathy, even if you are only an acquaintance, is appropriate. It means so much to the family members to know they are in good thoughts. The card should be in good taste and in keeping with your relationship to the family of the deceased.
A personal note of sympathy is very meaningful. Express yourself openly and sincerely. An expression such as "I'm sorry to learn of your personal loss" is welcomed by the family and can be kept with other messages.
Speaking to a family member gives you an opportunity to offer your services and make them feel you really care. If they wish to discuss their recent loss, don't hesitate to talk to the person about the deceased. Be a good listener. Sending a telegram expressing your sympathy is also appropriate.
Your presence at the visitation demonstrates that although someone has died, friends still remain. Your presence is an eloquent statement that you care.
Visitation provides a time and place for friends to offer their expression of sorrow and sympathy, rather than awkwardly approaching the subject at the office, supermarket or social activities. The obituary/death notice will designate the hours of visitation when the family will be present and will also designate the times when special services such as lodge services or prayer services may be held. Persons may call at the funeral home at any time during suggested hours of the day or evening to pay respects, even though the family is not present. Friends and relatives are requested to sign the register book. A person's full name should be listed e.g. "Mrs. John Doe". If the person is a business associate, it is proper to list their affiliation, as the family may not be familiar with their relationship to the deceased.
Friends should use their own judgment on how long they should remain at the funeral home or place of visitation. If they feel their presence is needed, they should offer to stay.
When the funeral service is over, the survivors often feel very alone in dealing with their feelings. It is important that they know you are still there. Keep in touch.
When a person calls at the funeral home, clasping hands, an embrace, or a simple statement of condolence can express sympathy, such as:
"My sympathy to you."
"It was good to know John."
"John was a fine person and a friend of mine. He will be missed."
"My sympathy to your mother."
The family member in return may say:
"Thanks for coming."
"John talked about you often."
"I didn't realize so many people cared."
"Come see me when you can."
Encourage the bereaved to express their feelings and thoughts, but don't overwhelm them.
The family should acknowledge the flowers and messages sent by relatives and friends. When food and personal services are donated, these thoughtful acts also should be acknowledged, as should the services of the pallbearers. The funeral director may have available printed acknowledgment cards that can be used by the family. When the sender is well known to the family, a short personal note should be written on the acknowledgment card expressing appreciation for a contribution or personal service received. The note can be short, such as:
"Thank you for the beautiful roses. The arrangement was lovely.
"The food you sent was so enjoyed by our family. Your kindness is deeply appreciated."
In some communities it is a practice to insert a public thank you in the newspaper. The funeral director can assist you with this.
CHILDREN AT FUNERALS
At a very early age, children have an awareness of and a response to death. Children should be given the option to attend visitation and the funeral service. The funeral director can advise you on how to assist children at the time of a funeral and can provide you with additional information and literature.
It is healthy to recognize death and discuss it realistically with friends and relatives. When a person dies, there is grief that needs to be shared. Expressions of sympathy and the offering of yourself to help others following the funeral are welcomed. It is important that we share our grief with one another. Your local funeral director can help family and friends locate available resources and grief recovery programs in your area.
Writing and delivering a eulogy is a noble gesture that is worthy of thought and effort. It is an opportunity to make a contribution to a memorial service, a contribution that your friends and family will remember for a long time.
Writing a eulogy, a tribute, a letter, or keeping a journal represents another equally valuable opportunity for you. The ability to use the writing process as a therapeutic tool to help you deal with your grief. The power of writing is undeniable and there is no better time than now for you to discover and take advantage of this.
What a eulogy should accomplish
There are two common misconceptions about the purposes of a eulogy. Some people think: 1) it should be an objective summation of the deceased's life; or 2) it should speak for everyone who is present at the memorial service. Both of these assumptions are unrealistic.
A eulogy is much more simple. It should convey the feelings and experiences of the person giving the eulogy. The most touching and meaningful eulogies are written from a subjective point of view and from the heart. So don't feel compelled to write your loved one's life story. Instead, tell your story.
Clearly, the burden of the eulogy does not have to be yours completely. If you have the time, ask friends or relatives for their recollections and stories. In a eulogy, it is perfectly acceptable to say, for example, "I was talking to Uncle Lenny about Ron; he reminded me of the time Ron came to our Thanksgiving dinner with half of his face clean-shaven and the other half bearded. It was Ron's funny way of showing that he had mixed feelings about shaving off his beard."
Honesty is very important. In most cases, there will be a lot of positive qualities to talk about. Once in a while, however, there is someone with more negative traits than positive qualities. If that is the case, remember, you don't have to say everything. Just be honest about the positive qualities and everyone will appreciate the eulogy.
Remember, you do not have to write a perfect eulogy. Whatever you write and deliver will be appreciated by the people at the funeral. If you are inclined to be a perfectionist, lower your expectations and just do what you can given the short time frame for preparation and your emotional state.
Tips for delivering a eulogy
If you decide to write a eulogy and deliver it, realize that it may be the most difficult speech you will ever make; and it may be the most rewarding. It is important to realize that people are not going to judge you. They will be very supportive. No matter what happens, it will be okay. If you break down in the middle of your speech, everyone will understand. Take a moment to compose yourself, and then continue. There is no reason to be embarrassed. Remember, giving a eulogy is a noble gesture that people will appreciate and admire.
If you can, make the eulogy easy to read. On a computer, print out the eulogy in a large type size. If you are using a typewriter, put extra carriage returns between the lines. If you are writing it by hand, print the final version in large letters and give the words room to breath by writing on every second or third line.
Before the service, consider getting a small cup of water. Keep it with you during the service. When you go to the podium to deliver the eulogy, take the water with you in case you need it. Sipping water before you start and during the speech if needed, will help relax you. If you are nervous before delivering the eulogy, breath deeply and tell yourself that everything will be fine. It will be. Look around at your relatives and friends and realize that they are with you 100 percent. Realize that it is acceptable to read the eulogy without making eye contact with the audience, if that would be easier for you. Take your time. Do the best you can. No one expects you to have the delivery of a great orator or the stage presence of an actor. Just be you.
WRITING AN OBITUARY
What is an obituary?
More than merely a 'good-bye' to the deceased, this is a farewell which can, in chronological order, detail the life of the deceased. An obituary also serves as notification that an individual has passed away and details of the services that are to take place. An obituary's length may be somewhat dictated by the space available in the newspaper it is to appear in. Therefore it's best to check how much room you have before you begin your composition. Remember that the obituary needs to appear in print a few days prior to the memorial service. There are some cases where this may not be possible, therefore give some consideration to the guidelines below when composing the obituary.
What to include?
Naturally, it is vital that the full name, along with the location and date of passing is included so that there is no confusion over whom has died. You may wish to consider placing a photograph (which can appear as black & white or in color depending on the newspaper's layout) with the text. There are usually extra charges applied if you are thinking of using a photograph. If you wish, mention where the deceased resided. This will normally only include the street, city and region/state/province/county. The street number is not normally included for reasons of security.
In a concise manner, write about the significant events in the life of the deceased. This may include the schools he or she attended and any degrees attained; you may also include any vocations or interests that the deceased was involved with.
It is common to include a list of those who have survived the deceased. The list should include (where applicable):
Spouse and children
Half & step children
Half & step siblings
The surviving relatives listed above may be listed by name. Other relatives will not be mentioned by name but may be included in terms of their relationship to the deceased. In other words, the obituary may mention that the deceased had 5 grandchildren; 7 nieces etc. However, exceptions to the above rule can be made if, for example, the deceased only had one grandchild or a nephew who was the only person living in the newspaper's distribution area. These exceptions are obviously made based on each individual case.
Also, anyone listed as a special friend or companion is not normally included amongst the list of survivors unless the deceased's blood relatives request that it be so. The obituary's traditional purpose is to list survivors either related through the bloodline or marriage.
Additional information such as where the body will be laid to rest and any pallbearer's names or names of honorary pallbearer's may be mentioned.
At this point list the details of the time and location of any services for the deceased: these may include the funeral, burial, wake and memorial service where appropriate.
Do's & Don'ts
If you don't know where to start, do read other obituaries to gain an idea of how personal and touching an obituary may be.
Do use such terms as "visitation will be from" or "friends may call from". Do not utilize the phrase "lie in state" as that only applies to a head of state such as the prime minister or president.
Don't use the phrase "in lieu of flowers“¦" when memorial donations are to be requested. Instead merely start the final paragraph of the obituary with the words "Memorial donations may be made to“¦"
Do consider if you wish to send the obituary to newspapers in other cities e.g. to a town where the deceased may have resided previously. Obtain copies of the obituary to send to distant relatives and friends.
Any and all information to be included in the obituary should be verified with another family member. A newspaper will have to verify with the funeral home being utilized that the deceased is in fact being taken care of by that funeral home.
Seeing as most newspapers charge by the word when placing an obituary, it may not always be feasible to mention everything that we have stated in our guidelines. Use your own discretion and do not put yourself under any financial hardship. Your loved one would understand.
Here you will find a growing list of legal considerations to consider before and after the death. By visiting the Community Links Section within our site you will be directed to the closest lawyer or law firm that is known in the areas of estate planning and settlement legal matters. Our legal team in this area continue to provide informational input within our site for families seeking answers to their unresolved questions.
While there is no requirement to use a lawyer, probate is a rather formal procedure. One minor omission, one failure to send Great Aunt Tillie a copy of the petition, or a missed deadline, can cause everything to come to a grinding halt or expose everyone to liability.
The death of a family member or friend sometimes tends to bring out the very worst in some people. Experience shows that even in close families there is a tendency to get overly emotional about relatively trivial matters at the time of a loved one's death, such as who gets the iron frying pan and who gets the kettle. Such minor matters, or any delays or inconveniences can be upsetting, pose issues of fairness, and create unfounded suspicion among family members. Thus it generally is a very good idea to "let a lawyer do it".
Locate as many of the following documents as possible: Wills, Deeds, Bank Books, Stock Certificates, Military Discharge Papers, Social Security/Insurance Card, Tax Forms, Vehicle and Boat Titles, Insurance Policies, etc.
Because banks are subject to both state and federal regulations, procedures can vary greatly from bank to bank and state to state. Some states have been known to automatically freeze joint bank accounts when one of the joint owners dies. To avoid problems, contact your bank directly, to determine the amount of money accessible and learn the procedures for releasing these funds, and to establish a new account for funds received after the death.
At least one joint checking or savings account should be left open for at least six months. This will allow you to deposit any checks that you are entitled to but are in the deceased's name. For instance, "Insurance Reimbursement Check". This check would be endorsed on the back as follows: "Deposit Only" with the deceased's name PRINTED underneath, followed by the bank account number.
If after six months you want to take the deceased's name off the account, the bank will want to have a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate.
A Certified Copy will also be necessary for any accounts that are left "In Trust For" someone. (I.T.F.). Your bank can advise you regarding IRA's or CD's (Certificates of Deposit). Both will need a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate before they are released.
If the safety deposit box is in the sole ownership of the deceased. Banks will require a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate and Letters of Administration to gain access to the contents. On co-owned safety deposit boxes, the rules vary from state to state. Call your attorney or bank for their requirements.
Wills are simple, inexpensive ways to address many estates. But they don't do it all. Here are some things that may not be accomplished in a will.
Named Beneficiaries for Certain Kinds of Property
A will can't be used to leave:
- Property you held in joint tenancy with someone else. At death, the deceased's share will automatically belong to the surviving joint tenant(s).
- A will provision leaving the deceased's share to someone other than the surviving joint tenant, would have no effect unless all joint tenants died simultaneously.
- Property that was transferred to a living trust.
- Proceeds of a life insurance policy for which there is a named beneficiary.
- Money in a pension plan, individual retirement account (IRA), 401(k) plan or other retirement plan.
- Money in a payable-on-death bank account.
Probate is the process that transfers legal title of property from the estate of the person who has died (the "decedent") to their proper beneficiaries.
The term "probate" refers to a "proving" of the existence of a valid Will, or determining and "proving" who one's legal heirs are if there is no Will. Since the deceased can't take it with them, probate is the process used to determine who gets their property
Property left through a will usually must spend several months or a year tied up in probate court before it can be distributed to the people who inherit it.
Probate is not cheap or quick. Because probate requires a hearing in over-burdened courts, the process can tie up property for a year or more. In addition, probate may be expensive. Estate attorneys, who sometimes charge a flat percentage or a high hourly rate, usually handle probate. Their fees and court costs may cost 5% of the estate's value. A will is a very personal document, and may reveal private family and financial issues and concerns. But once it is entered into the court record, it becomes public, and can be inspected by anyone.
Why is Probate Necessary?
The primary function of probate is transferring title of the decedent's property to their heirs and/or beneficiaries. If there is no property to transfer, there is usually no need for probate.
Another function of probate is to provide for the collection of any taxes due by reason of the deceased's death or on the transfer of their property.
The probate process also provides a mechanism for payment of outstanding debts and taxes of the estate, for setting a deadline for creditors to file claims (thus foreclosing any old or unpaid creditors from haunting heirs or beneficiaries) and for the distribution of the remainder of the estate's property to ones' rightful heirs.
Who is responsible for handling probate?
In most circumstances, the executor named in the will takes this job. If there isn't any will, or the will fails to name an executor, the probate court names someone (called an administrator) to handle the process -- most often the closest capable relative, or the person who inherits the bulk of the deceased person's assets.
If no formal probate proceeding is necessary, the court does not appoint an estate administrator. Instead, a close relative or friend serves as an informal estate representative. Normally, families and friends choose this person, and it is not uncommon for several people to share the responsibilities of paying debts, filing a final income tax return and distributing property to the people who are supposed to get it.
Wills, probate, administrator, social security benefits, veterans benefits, insurance benefits, joint property, estate taxes and other issues may appear overwhelming after the death of a loved one. Sorting and settling all the details may be confusing because many of the terms are unfamiliar. Please feel free to print this document. This guide is not intended to be a substitute for specific individual tax, legal, or estate settlement advice, as certain of the described considerations will not be the same for every estate. Accordingly, where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consultation with a competent professional is strongly recommended. Most of all keep in mind that while it is important to take care of all of these activities, it's more important to move slowly at a pace that is comfortable for you during your grieving process.
Before the business and legal issues of the estate can be pursued, it will be necessary to obtain certified copies of the death certificate. You can order them from the Funeral Director or directly from the Registrar of Vital Statistics in your area. It is always better to order a few more than what you think you will need. Most agencies will only accept certified death certificates and not photocopies.
In some cases, there may be a need to obtain a certified copy of the death certificate without a cause of death. These certificates are needed to transfer the title on a house, mobile home, and automobile or in some cases for court procedures. You should make this request when ordering the certified copies.
Your executor has full resposiblility with regards to your funeral arrangements. If so desired your executor can change anything with reference to those arrangements. This is the person all funeral homes take direction from.
Since your Personal Representative is given access to all property in the probate estate, the selection of a competent and trustworthy person is very important. It is wise to nominate someone who has business experience, intelligence, and the utmost integrity and honesty to serve as your Personal Representative. Your nomination of Personal Representative, (along with Alternatives who are asked to serve in the event that the prior nominee is unwilling or unable to act), should appear in your Will. This is your chance to tell the court whom you think is best to do this job for you (since you can't speak to the court in person).
Most jurisdictions require the Personal Representative to post a surety bond covering their actions. This requirement can be waived if your Will states that you want your nominated Personal Representative to serve without bond.
Creditors should be notified promptly following a death. If there is to be a delay in meeting debts or installment payments, you may be able to file for extensions. Many creditors are sympathetic to these situations and are willing to grant your requests. If credit insurance or mortgage insurance policies were in force, purchases made on credit (vehicles, furniture, etc.) or the home mortgage may be paid off by the insurance. Ask your lending institution.
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