Funeral Planning Doesn’t Have to be Creepy

By Roz Jones

In many cultures, funerals are a joyous occasion. Sure, it’s sad to lose someone you love and depending on the circumstances, it might be more intense, but funerals are a celebration of life as well as an opportunity to say goodbye. 

Funeral planning doesn’t have to be creepy. People don’t have to dress in black and cry the whole time. Funerals should be a reflection on the life of the person who has passed and an honorable yet celebratory, way to remember them. 

Here are some non-creepy ways to plan a funeral:

Create a slide show or video- Gather an assortment of pictures, video clips, and other images put to music for an entertaining and positive way to celebrate life. Life is all about making memories and those memories become more precious after someone dies. 

Share stories that are funny- There’s nothing wrong with laughing during a funeral. Encourage guests to share funny stories that everyone can enjoy during the service. Making things lighter in the room can offset the heaviness of the occasion. 

Create a theme for the funeral- Families have themes for all sorts of gatherings, why not for a funeral? If your loved one adored something specific, make it part of their funeral. Celebrating something a deceased person loved is another way of honoring how they lived. If your loved one loved boats, racecars, or the color purple – incorporate their love into the celebration of life. 

Give back in their honor- A funeral for a teacher included bringing backpacks filled with school supplies in lieu of flowers. A funeral for a child who dies of kidney disease included friends and family registering to be donors for other children in their honor. It’s always a good thing to do something to help ease grief and loss. Giving people something to focus on can make attending a funeral easier. 

Leave a message for those you love- Your funeral can be special by leaving a video, letter, or recording sharing how much you love and appreciate them. Not everyone knows when they are going to pass on but sometimes there is a general idea. Your messages can soften the blow and make the funeral an opportunity to share your thoughts, hopes, and dreams for the people attending in your honor. 

Funeral planning isn’t something people usually think about until it happens. When emotions are running high, it can make planning hard. There are no rules for a funeral but there certainly isn’t a rule that they must be heavy and burdensome. Funeral planning doesn’t have to be creepy. It can be free and easy like the life you are ready to celebrate. 

2 Legal Documents Everyone Needs Before They get Sick

By Roz Jones

Being ill is no fun. Neither is being unable to participate in making personal medical decisions. If you are unconscious or unable to articulate your consent for treatment, a medical provider or next of kin may have to make them for you. Preserving life is always the plan, but sometimes, believe it or not, you may not want that to be the plan. 

Here are a few scenarios where life-saving measures might not be your first choice: 

Scenario #1. A terminally ill patient with a disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s may not want to be fed through a tube or given antibiotics after a certain stage of their disease. 

Scenario #2. A brain-damaged individual who will have to live indefinitely outside of their home in a facility may not want to be on a breathing tube or dialysis or other artificial life-saving machines. 


Scenario #3. Someone with a pacemaker or other device may want it removed if their condition worsens to a certain point. 

Under certain circumstances, life-saving measures make perfect sense. When recovery is likely and quality of life is high, it is worth the effort and time it takes to recover or endure life-saving measures. However, there may be times or circumstances when you want to draw a line in the medical sand. 


There are two legal documents that will make it clear to providers and your family that you do not want measures taken and if you do, what they are and when they stop. 

An advance directive 

A DNR or Do Not Resuscitate 

An Advance Directive: An Advance Directive is a tool used to make end-of-life decisions ahead of time, alleviating medical staff and your family from having to make them. Your Advance Directive is a legal document that you can add to your will or trust so it is easily accessible if it needs to be enforced. 

A DNR or Do Not Resuscitate is a document that denies life-saving measures if your heart stops beating or you are unable to breath on your own. 

These documents will help you prevent life-saving measures that might prolong suffering or low-quality living. Consult your primary care physician to learn more and make the decisions that are right for you. 

What is an Estate and How Do You Protect It?

By Roz Jones

An estate typically refers to your personal property which may include but isn’t limited to: your real estate, business assets, investments, bank accounts, and personal property such as art, antiques, and jewelry. These are important assets that you worked to acquire and are part of your legacy for your family. 

Every estate is unique because people are different. Your estate will look nothing like your neighbor’s because you have different assets. Regardless, it is important to protect your estate and make certain it is safe in the event of your death. 

Protecting your estate isn’t hard, it just takes some time and effort. Once you’ve secured your assets you can rest easier knowing you are protected in the event you are incapable of managing your assets or you die. Additionally, being organized and taking the time to legally protect your assets makes it easier for your estate to be managed during probate. 

Here are some ways to protect your estate:

Get an appraisal- Assets have value but the value must be validated and proven. Appraisals are a great way to make sure your assets are valued at their maximum potential. Real estate, antiques, and other personal property can be assigned a value by an appraiser. You can include the appraisals with your will or trust information.  

Provide proof of ownership- A clean record of ownership is important. Being able to prove you are the legal owner of an asset can reduce disputes and streamline your estate. Provide bills of sale, pink slips, deeds, and other proofs of ownership with your will and trust information.   

Get a will or living trust- The ultimate way to protect your estate is through a living trust or a will. This document will include a legal record of your assets in your estate and directives for disbursement and distribution in the event of your death. 

You’ve worked hard to create a life filled with the things you love and have invested in. It’s important to protect your estate and make sure it isn’t lost to taxes or worse after you die. Take the time to organize your estate and legally protect it for your beneficiaries. An attorney will have even more ideas on how to protect your estate and can help you organize and strengthen it to serve you while you are alive and after you are gone. 

Protecting Yourself Legally, Financially, and Medically for the Future

By Roz Jones

Thinking about end-of-life matters generally brings to mind thoughts about funerals and final resting places. That’s certainly part of the equation but outside of sudden death, there’s probably going to be more to face before you die. Preparing for your end-of-life needs happens long before you are sick or have an accident. 

In the same way that you value having medical insurance and retirement plans, you should also value things like: 

A will or trust

Life insurance

An advance directive 

A designated medical decision-maker

Additional income sources outside of retirement

Successor guardians for dependents 

These are simply a few of the important safeguards that should be in place to protect you and your loved ones if something happens to you and you can’t care for them.

Protecting yourself legally, financially, and medically is an important step towards making sure things are in order and you benefit from your pre-planning. How? 

  • By avoiding burdening your family with making difficult decisions for you
  • By preventing your estate from going into probate
  • By securing care and comfort for an illness, accident, or hospice
  • By ensuring your children or dependents are protected and provided for if you die
  • By providing income to your family for their wellbeing
  • By making sure someone you trust manages your health care if you are injured or sick

This is not an exhaustive list of benefits that planning provides but it does give a healthy snapshot of how many things you can protect and provide by taking time to do some planning.  

You don’t have to make these decisions alone 

While these are personal and important decisions that you must ultimately make, you don’t have to make them alone. There are professionals whose job it is to help you make and solidify your decisions as well as legally bind them so you are sure to be protected if/when you need them. 

Here’s an idea of who can help: 

Generally, you can make a lot of decisions on your own but you may want some advice from a professional before making a final decision. 

Legal help: 

Will and probate attorneys

Trust attorneys

Financial help:

Retirement planners

Investment planners

Insurance agents

Medical help: 

Primary care physician 

Funeral/Burial planning professionals

These providers can help you sort through the choices available to you for your legal, financial, and medical needs. From preparing for retirement and earning and saving money to cover care and end-of-life expenses to making sure your wishes are carried out and your estate and your healthcare are managed in the way you desire. Each of these issues can be managed and coordinated with the help of a professional.