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Boom and gloom

By Terri Dugan

The Post-Bulletin

The baby boomers are at it again.

The National Funeral Directors Association reports an increase in the number of people choosing to preplan their own funeral.

After experiencing the emotional stress of burying their parents, many boomers are making the necessary decisions now and personalizing the ritual to celebrate their lives.

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Begin planning for the inevitable by gathering information. You can call funeral homes and request information packets which often include funeral-planning guides, itemized price lists for services as required by federal law, and invitations to meet the funeral directors and tour the facilities.

People often choose a funeral home recommended by family and friends, but consumers should become familiar with the differences in facilities and service charges.

Talk with your loved ones and learn what aspects of the service are important them. A funeral ritual not only celebrates your life, but is also a large part of the grieving and healing process for those closest to you.

A traditional funeral, which most still choose whether the deceased is buried or cremated, includes visitation, a funeral service at church or funeral home, transportation by hearse to the cemetery in a procession that includes family and friends and a graveside service.

A catered lunch afterward eases the emotional stress and allows more time to reminisce. Direct burial or direct cremation, with no embalming, public visitation or service staffed by the funeral home, are the minimal alternatives. The law states that, if not embalmed, a body must be interred or cremated within 72 hours of death. The family makes all arrangements for the memorial service. A funeral home will handle everything needed for a funeral service and burial.

Costs include basic services, optional services and merchandise and cash advance items. The service charge is the basic fee for funeral director and staff for providing services common to all funerals. Charges for such things as caskets, hearses and clergy are added to that.

Personalize your service with selected readings, favorite music, picture boards, eulogies by friends and have the event recorded on video.

Decisions about burial clothing, pallbearers, memorial contributions, and funeral luncheon can be filed and updated over the years.

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