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Funeral Planning: It’s Not As Difficult As You Think

The internet has become a vast, digital universe bursting with factoids, memes, merchandise and gluten-free paleo recipes that can be made in the microwave. This intangible space not only keeps us entertained, but it allows us to flex our independent muscles when it comes to almost everything.

We can shop, ride, evite and explore from sitting on our couch, and we feel con

fident planning a trip without a travel agent or buying a car without a dealer.

When it comes to planning a funeral, we’re a little less confident.

We feel like we NEED someone to tell us how to navigate the situation because chances are, it’s a situation we have not been in before.

But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With Krowicki Gorny Memorial Home, it’s actually quite simple.

Build and Price a Funeral

Our funeral home uses an intuitive web interface that is designed for you to review the options available to you from the comfort of your own home, at your own pace, anonymously.

You start by answering a series of simple questions:

  • Has a death occurred or are you planning a future funeral? Click.
  • Are you interested in cremation or a burial? Click.
  • Would you like to gather with family and friends? Click.

As you click through the process, your answers are compiled to build an estimated funeral arrangement. Once you finish, you are presented with a summary outlining all the services and merchandise affiliated with the selections you have made. Each selection is clearly displayed with an explanation about what it is, and why it was included. And the best part is: PRICES.

You can see in real-time the costs affiliated with your selections. This is an easy way for you to fine-tune the funeral you are planning, get familiar with the arrangement process, and understand the costs.

After you are done building a funeral, you have the option to print out your price estimate and/or share it with family or friends via email. You can even compare funeral home prices to help you select the right funeral home to meet your needs and budget.

The process is free to use. All pricing and services are transparent with no hidden surprises. If you wish to remain anonymous, no worries. The only time you will be requested to give contact information is if and when you choose to finalize your selections.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? Build and price a funeral, yourself, online, anywhere, at any time.

See? Planning a funeral isn’t as difficult as you thought.

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Who Will Control My Funeral? 

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Along with many other states, New Jersey has what is called the Right to Control Law (N.J.S.A. 45:27-22).

The law outlines a family-tree hierarchy that determines who has control over the funeral and disposition (cremation, burial, entombment or donation) of a deceased person, and is ordered as follows: 

  • Court Order
  • Funeral Agent or designee of an active duty service member
  • Legal spouse, NJ registered domestic or civil union partner
  • Majority of children (over the age of 18)
  • Parent(s)
  • Majority of siblings (over the age of 18)
  • Other relatives
  • Other interested parties (if there are no known living relatives)

Now a distinction must be made here. Having the right to control the funeral and disposition of a deceased person does NOT mean having authority over the estate of the deceased, or any other business or financial matters. That person would be the executor, and they are not necessarily the same person.

What if there is no one to authorize?

“Eleanor Rigby died in the church and was buried along with her name, nobody came.” The Beatles sang about a lot of things, even inadvertently addressing an important challenge in funeral arrangements in their song, Eleanor Rigby—what happens when there is no one to make the decision?

With an average life expectancy of age 79 for men and 81 for women in the United States, there is a good possibility that individuals who exceed that age will outlive their family. In cases where there are no blood relatives remaining, an individual classified as an “other interested party” may authorize the funeral and disposition. The category would include any friend, neighbor, care worker or other person willing to take on the responsibility.

In situations where an individual does not have family or close relatives, it is highly recommended that a funeral prearrangement be made. Helpful online tools like the interactive Funeral Matters builder can help you go through the process of choosing the service and disposition options you prefer, getting prices along the way. You can then share your selections with a funeral director.

As part of the process, it is encouraged that individuals inform the funeral director of all relatives who fall within the right to control hierarchy. Names, addresses and telephone numbers should all be provided whenever available. If there are no relatives, giving contact information for friends or neighbors will also be helpful. Then, at the time of death, the funeral director would contact the person designated to carry out those prearranged wishes.

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6 Things You May Not Know About Funerals

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Most people never think about funerals until it’s time to attend one. Understandable, but not very helpful when you unexpectedly find yourself faced with the responsibility of planning one.

We’ve put together 6 interesting facts about funerals that you may be happy to know if you’re ever in an arrangement room.

1.) You cannot authorize your own funeral.

In New Jersey, you have the option to prearrange and prepay for your funeral. You can purchase a grave or tell your family where you would like your remains to be scattered. However, you cannot sign the final authorization for your own burial or cremation. New Jersey, as well as other states, has what is called the Right to Control Law. The law, absent what is called a “funeral agent designation,” outlines a family hierarchy depicting who  the right to authorize the funeral of a deceased person. It is those within the hierarchy, sometimes as a collective majority, that will determine your funeral arrangements.

2.) You can have a funeral wherever and whenever you wish.

Funerals have evolved. No longer must they conform to some prescribed format that your grandfather or great aunt may have followed. Funerals can take whatever shape you believe best reflects you or your family’s lifestyle.

For example, you can have a simple memorial service at your favorite restaurant with a certified celebrant. The body does not even need to be present if you do not want it to be. You can have a religious mass in a church for immediate family and a memorial service in a funeral home six months later for out-of-town guests. Or, you could gather at sunset on your favorite beach for a candlelight vigil or in the local park at a barbeque with fireworks. The choice is yours and any funeral home you choose can help facilitate your wishes for honoring the life that has ended.

3.) A casket and coffin are not the same thing.

People tend to use the words interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. A coffin has six sides and is most often seen in American horror movies as what Dracula climbs out of each night. Shaped like a hexagon, coffins are designed to follow the lines of the human body, tapered at the head and foot with a wider construction at the shoulder. A casket is rectangular with four sides adjoined at right angles. It was once believed that caskets were more acceptable than coffins since, when closed, the morose reminder that there was a body inside was masked by the more appeasing fundamental shape. Sorry Dracula.

4.) You can still have a funeral if you choose cremation.

Not many people know this. Funerals are not off limits just because you want to be cremated. You can have a viewing with an open casket prior to the cremation or a memorial service with a commemorative video at anytime. Some people have services with an urn on display rather than a casket. You can even have a funeral a year after the cremation if you wanted. Your funeral options are not restricted simply because you choose cremation.

5.) You don’t have to be embalmed.

You may be surprised to learn that except in certain special cases, embalming is not required by law. You can choose not to be embalmed, be embalmed with eco-friendly preservatives or not care either way. If you do not want embalming, you usually have the right to choose an arrangement that does not require you to pay for it. Some funeral homes may require embalming if you wish to have a public viewing of the body or if it does not have refrigerated facilities. It is also worth noting that New Jersey health laws do require bodies be either embalmed or refrigerated within 48 hours after death if the body is not cremated or buried within that time frame.

6.) You can compare funeral home prices.

Prices vary from funeral home to funeral home. You have the right to call and ask what the costs are. All funeral homes have what is a called a General Price List outlining their pricing, and are required by law to share it with anyone who asks for it. Many funeral homes even have prices available online. Krowicki Gorny Memorial Home actually allows you to build and price a funeral online using an interactive builder. Do your homework. Get the facts. This way, you will have information if and when it comes time to plan a funeral.

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