Tag Archives: cremation

Do you know where your parents’ important information is? 

do you know whereIt may seem morbid but have you asked them?  

This article from a New Zealand website is very applicable to us in the United States.  It’s a topic most of us don’t want to broach with our parents but it’s one that’s necessary to address.

Do you know how to get into your parents safe if necessary?

Knowing where their important documents and valuables are located in the event of an unexpected health crisis will give you, and them, peace of mind – especially if a parent is hospitalized and is unable to tell you where things are.

So before anything happens, it’s a good idea to talk to your ageing parents about what you may need to get one day; you may also want to consider letting your own children know where your key information is located as well.

You should ask your parents for the locations of the following items: 

1. Medical records 

If your parents find themselves in an emergency medical situation, doctors will want to know if they have any existing conditions, previous surgeries and any medications they’re currently on. If they have a spouse, that person probably knows the answers but it’s still a good idea for someone else (i.e., you or your siblings) to know just in case both of your parents are unwell or injured. 

2. Health insurance and life insurance information

It’s important to know where your parents keep their health and life insurance info, including any extras. You’ll also need to know where those cards are and you should ask to see their life insurance policies to double check their premiums are up-to-date.

3. Advance healthcare directive

This is a legal document that is also known as a living will and usually includes your parents wishes in the event of a major medical emergency. For example, they may have a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order or a health care power of attorney (POA) which differs from a general power of attorney. A POA allows a person to make decisions on behalf of another regarding his or her healthcare or medical treatment – this becomes active when a person is unable to make those decisions on their own or can’t communicate what they want. That’s why it’s important to talk to your parents about what they want to do if they find themselves in a situation where they’re no longer able to speak for themselves. 

4. Banking information 

This is a touchy subject but if a parent is suddenly out of commission, bills still have to be paid so find out where your parent’s bank is and get their account numbers, online access codes and PINs. It’s also important to learn how your parents pay their bills. Do they pay online, by check or direct debit? Ask them if they’ll add your name or one of your siblings to their bank accounts so someone else can access the account to make payments and manage it. 

5. Investment information 

This is information that cannot be ignored. Find out not only the location of your parents’ investments, but also the name and contact information of their advisor. You’ll also need to know what fees, required distributions and withdrawal penalties are. 

6. Deeds and titles 

Your dad may have kept the deeds and titles to your parents’ property in a box somewhere when you were a kid but do you know where those documents are now? Find out where the deeds to houses and land are as well as titles to their cars and/or recreational vehicles are. You may need them in order to liquidate their assets should a health crisis or sudden move to a care facility occurs.

7. Safe deposit box

Do you know if your parents have one? If yes, find out where they keep it and the keys and ask them what steps need to be taken to access the box. They may need to put your name on file so check with their bank. 

8. Hidden valuables

It’s been three years since my grandma died and my mum is still finding money and jewelry Grandma hid around her granny flat. Grandma lived through the Great Depression and had apparently stashed anything of value in the most curious places: money wrapped in plastic tucked inside the toilet cistern; jewelry hidden in the freezer, between her mattress, and even shoved deep inside the toes of some of her shoes – so it’s important to know if, and where your parents have hidden things. If they don’t want to tell you while they’re still alive, ask them to make a list and keep it with their wills. 

9. Wills, birth certificates, marriage licenses

Asking your living parent about their will may seem morbid and highly uncomfortable for everyone but dying without a will can be a costly affair and could start family infighting. It’s important to know if their wills are up-to-date. You’ll also need to know where their birth certificates and marriage license are located.

10. End-of-life decisions 

My father’s been telling me for years that if Mum dies, to put him in a boat and push him out to sea. While that seems rather melodramatic, it is important to know what your parents would like you to do after they die – do they want to be cremated? Buried at a cemetery? Have a huge party or somber church service? Find out what their end-of-life preferences are and let them know you intend to honor their wishes. 

For more information on this topic, check out our website, www.diesmart.com.


Want to come back as a tree?

170424132824-capsula-mundi-three-eggs-exlarge-169The traditional coffin litters the earth.  It is not biodegradable and remains buried in the ground for thousands of years.  The same can be said for the tombstone which stands above it.

Now there’s a new option.

Capsula Mundi is a project out of Italy, “which envisions a different approach to the way we think about death. It’s an egg-shaped pod, an ancient and perfect form, made of biodegradable material, where our departed loved ones are placed for burial. Ashes will be held in small egg-shaped urns while bodies will be laid down in a fetal position in larger pods. The Capsula will then be buried as a seed in the earth. A tree, chosen in life by the deceased, will be planted on top of it and serve as a memorial for the departed and as a legacy for posterity and the future of our planet. Family and friends will continue to care for the tree as it grows. Cemeteries will acquire a new look and, instead of the cold grey landscape we see today, they will grow into vibrant woodlands.”

The urn for ashes is available now.  The one for the body is still in development.

For more information about green burial options as well as other funeral choices, go to www.diesmart.com.



A unique way to preserve your loved one…

holding_heart-300x214 img_1179-768x1024I came  across a company in Seattle, Washington called Artful Ashes.  They have come up with a unique way to hold the memory of a loved one – a piece of glass art.  All you have to do is send them about a tablespoon full of ashes and they will turn it into art.  Their designs are in the shape of hearts or spheres, measure approximately 3 ½ by 3 ½ inches and weigh about 14 ounces.  The ashes you provide are swirled through the design and can be seen in the finished piece.  If you like, you can include a short inscription on the memorial.

Some people I mentioned this idea to thought it was creepy; others liked it.  Regardless, it’s a beautiful piece of art and something to be considered.  There are many unique ways to preserve the ashes of a loved one.  This is just one more new one.

For more information about cremation and funeral planning, check out our website diesmart.com.

Prince’s Urn – Totally Unique 

princeThis past week, People Magazine revealed the first photos of Prince’s urn, one that is a totally unique as the man was himself.

While alive, Paisley Park in Minnesota was Prince’s home; as of last Thursday, it became a museum and memorial to him.  At that museum, his ashes are on display in a one of a kind urn that was designed by his sister, Tyka Nelson and his nephew President Nelson.  They partnered with Foreverence, a company that developed a scale model of Paisley Park itself.  It’s 14 x 18 inches and decorated with Prince’s famous symbol in his signature purple.

His ashes are sealed in the front column and, though it can’t be seen by the public, the facade “opens to reveal a miniature replica of Paisley Park’s grand atrium, including the singer’s signature purple Yamaha piano, white ornamental doves and decorative tile floor. The interior even includes real working lights.”

According to its website, Foreverence designs urns and memorials that “celebrate life, passion, and legacy”.  They’re “a timeless tribute as unique as the life it represents.” They certainly managed that for Prince.

You may not want such a unique resting place but you may want information about options that are available to you.  To find out more, go to www.diesmart.com.






Dinnerware made from your loved one’s ashes!

cremation-designsLast week, I wrote about glass art that can be fused with ashes from a deceased loved one.  This week, I came across something even more bizarre.

Chronicle Cremation Designs has launched a range of custom ceramic dinnerware glazed with the cremated ashes of dead loved ones.  Here’s what it says on their website.

Justin Crowe, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, mixes cremated human ashes into a glaze which he uses to coat bowls, vases, candle holders, coffee cups, urns and other ceramic items. Once they’ve been fired in a kiln, the glaze becomes food- and drink-safe, which means you could perhaps drink a coffee with an aura of grandma, or use something of old uncle Bernard to serve roast potatoes.

The idea developed out of an art project in which Crowe used the mixed ashes of more than 200 people to create a dinnerware collection called Nourish, and then used it to serve food at a party.

“I wanted to create a dinnerware set that infuses a sense of mortality into everyday life,” he said, explaining that he bought human remains from bone dealers (who typically sell to medical professionals, students and oddity collectors) and then turned them into ash in the kiln before grinding them up with a mortar and pestle. He then mixed the powder into a glaze.

Now, you can send in about a cup of ashes from the remains of your loved one and have it made into an item that you can use every day.

This is definitely something for everyone, but….

For more cremation and funeral ideas, go to our site diesmart.com.