Survivors of employees of the federal government may be eligible for a wide range of benefits including group life insurance, annuities and health insurance continuation. For answers to specific questions, you can contact the Office of Personnel Management at (888) 767-6738 or visit their website at http://www.opm.gov/.
A document in which you specify what is to be done with your property when you die and name your executor, or personal representative. You can also use your will to name a guardian for young children. Wills must be handled through a process known as “probate.” Please contact your lawyer to establish a will.
- Simply stated, probate is the court process following a person’s death that includes:
- Proving the authenticity of the deceased person’s will
- Appointing someone to handle the deceased person’s affairs
- Identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property
- Paying debts and taxes
- Identifying heirs, and
- Distributing the deceased person’s property according to the will or, if there is no will, according to the state law.
A trust you can set up during your life. Living trusts are an excellent way to avoid the cost and hassle of probate because the property transfer into the trust during your life passes directly to the true beneficiaries after you die. The successor trustee – the person you appoint to handle the trust after your death – simply transfers ownership to the beneficiaries you named in the trust.
Power of Attorney
A document that gives another person legal authority to act on your behalf. If you create such a document, you are called the principal, and the person to whom you give this authority is called your attorney-in-fact. If you make a durable power of attorney, the document will continue in effect even if you become incapacitated. Please contact your lawyer to establish a Power of Attorney.
A legal document in which you state your wishes about certain kinds of medical treatments and life-prolonging procedures. The document takes effect if you can’t communicate your own healthcare decisions. A living will may also be called a healthcare directive, advanced directive or directive to physicians. Laws vary from state to state. Check with your state authorities for specific laws related to living wills. You can contact the Spiritual Care Department at the local hospital for help with completing a living will.
A contract in which an insurance company agrees to pay money to designated beneficiary upon the death of the policy holder. In exchange, the policy holder pays regularly scheduled fee, known as insurance premiums. The purpose of life insurance is to provide financial support to those who survive the policy holder, such as family members or business partners. When a policy holder dies, the insurance proceeds pass to the beneficiaries free of probate, though they may be counted for federal estate tax purposes.
Whether you choose to be buried in a casket or cremated, the funeral service itself is the first step in overcoming the grief of the loved ones left behind. Although an immediate cremation without any form of gathering or service is an option, it ignores the need of your survivors for closure. And a funeral brings together friends and relatives in mutual support at a time when it is most needed. The ritual can be as meaningful as a baptism or wedding, helping loved ones to move ahead with their lives following a loss.
Due to the many details and decisions that must be made when a death occurs, these arrangements are usually more satisfying when made in advance. For example, you may dislike the idea of a viewing but can probably recognize there is value in a gathering for close friends and relatives. You can plan where you funeral will be held and the style of the ceremony. You may prefer for friends and family to gather informally and share their feelings and memories. Favorite music selections can be identified, and photographs are sometimes a very important part of the event.
Some circumstances are handled best by a memorial service. The only difference between a funeral and a memorial service is that the body of the deceased is not present, possibly the body was buried at another site or was cremated.
Final arrangements for yourself or a loved one involve some personal decisions you will make. The only thing that matters is that you and your family are pleased with your decisions. For questions you may have consult your funeral director or funeral planning professional.
Pre-Arranged Funeral Plan
A contract in which a funeral establishment agrees to provide merchandise and services upon the death of the contract beneficiary. This plan is funded using a life insurance policy specifically designed to keep pace with inflation and is part of the contract. The plan provides not only the funding of the funeral, but allows individuals the opportunity to specify their own wishes for the funeral ceremony and merchandise. Those who have chosen to pre-arrange their funeral have expressed a deep sense of satisfaction knowing that they have relieved their family of the task of making emotional decisions at a difficult time.
Things to Remember
When someone dies you should contact us immediately. We will assist in making all arrangements.
If someone dies away from home – in another city, state or country – call us immediately. We will coordinate arrangements with a local mortuary on your behalf.