Monthly Archives: October 2020

cremation services in Chesterfield Township, MI

Debt and Death

After cremation services in Chesterfield Township, MI, families of the deceased have to take care of all of the affairs of their loved ones. Among these are dealing with financial matters, and that will very likely include debts the deceased owed to creditors.

If you die and you have life insurance or valuable assets, then your family will be in a good financial position and will be able to take care of all your affairs. However, it’s important to know that any debt that you have accrued will not die with you.

If you die with a substantial amount of debt, then paying those off could erase all the financial security that you intended to leave so that your family could be taken care of.

If you do not have life insurance or any valuable assets that can be sold, then your family members may have to take on the responsibility of paying off all of your debts. This will be a tremendous financial burden for them and could easily make endanger them financially, both now and in the future.

Approximately three-quarters of American adults have outstanding debts that must be paid after they die. The average amount of debt that includes a home mortgage is $61,554. The average amount of debt without a home mortgage debt averages is around $12,875.

The question arises as to whether your loved ones will inherit your debt when you die. In most cases, your individual family members do not have the responsibility for paying off your debts. However, your estate, which includes life insurance, physical property, and financial assets, is responsible paying off all the debt that you owe.

If some of your debt is secured, such as debt from a car loan or a mortgage, then the car or home can be sold and the money from the sale can be used used to settle the loans. If the property is not sold to pay off the loans, then the financial lenders can repossess or foreclose on it to recoup some of their money.

In the case where a family wants to keep the family home that everybody grew up in, the person in the family who gets the house will have to finance a new loan in their name, making them liable for the debt that they are incurring.

If your debt is unsecured (as with credit cards or unsecured personal loans), then your estate has the responsibility to pay unsecured debt off with any money that it has before your beneficiaries receive their inheritances.

However, if your estate does not have enough money to pay off all your unsecured debt, then your estate will be declared insolvent. Your executor will have to go through the legal system – probate – to get a determination made as to which debts should be paid.

Debts that are not secured or unsecured debts are your sole responsibility, so they will be discharged when you die. This means they do not have to be paid.

If you leave debt with a cosigner who is still living, then your debt will be the cosigner’s responsibility to pay. On some cosigned loan agreements, lenders require that the debt be paid in full immediately after you die.

cremation services in Chesterfield Township, MI

This can put your cosigners in a financial bind, especially if they are not beneficiaries of your estate and they don’t have the money needed to pay the debt in full.

For joint loans, like that of a married couple who have a home mortgage together, the borrower who survives becomes responsible for the remaining amount of debt.

For information about cremation services in Chesterfield Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral is here to assist you.

funeral homes in Chesterfield Township, MI

Do You Have an Ethical Will?

Before planning funerals at funeral homes in Chesterfield Township, MI, many people are deciding to leave ethical wills to their surviving family members. As people start to contemplate the end of their lives, they also begin to think about what they want to leave for their families, including their children and grandchildren.

Usually people start by getting their medical, financial, legal, and digital affairs in order to ensure that everything transpires as easily as it possibly can when someone is facing the end of life, and then dies. That is an awesome gift to leave your family members, because it makes sure that the practical parts of the end of life and dying are taken care of.

However, we have other intangible things that are important to pass on to future generations. One of these things is the moral code that we live by. These are the principles we believe in and practice as best we can everywhere in our lives.

All the physical things and financial things we leave behind will eventually disappear, either because they break, they get old, or they simply get depleted. Things are finite and always come to an end.

However, our moral code, also known as our ethical legacy, is a gift that we can give to our families that won’t break, won’t get old, and will never run out. An ethical legacy might be the most valuable thing that we leave to our families after we die.

You know people who lived by an ethical code, but who didn’t pass an ethical legacy on to their families, so the ethical code died with them. Many of the scandals, disasters, and even total ruin we too often witness in famous families happen because they didn’t have an ethical legacy to live up to and to pass on to their descendants.

This should inspire you to envision how you want future generations of your family to live and prompt you to consider writing an ethical will. An ethical will is not a legal document. However, it is an explanation of how you’ve tried to live and how you would like your family to live after you die.

It’s your personal code, which involves relationships and ethics. One of the greatest examples of an ethical will is the book of Proverbs in the Bible.

What do you include in an ethical will?

First, you need to explain the code you have tried to follow in life. Included within that explanation should be the lessons you’ve gleaned from your relationships, your life experiences, your greatest successes, and your greatest failures.

Your life is full of lessons. One of the benefits of an ethical will is that it lets you take stock of the lessons you’ve learned while you are passing on practical wisdom to future generations of your family.

An ethical will should also be clear what you consider to be most valuable and important in life. It should detail what things you stand for and what things you will not turn from nor compromise on.

Although the term ethical will is fairly new, people have leaving ethical wills for a very long time. They may have consisted of a single letter written shortly before a person died or they may have been a string of conversations with family members in the days or weeks leading up to death. While not everyone has left an ethical will, many people have viewed this as the last gift they could give to their families.

For information about planning funerals at funeral homes in Chesterfield Township, MI, our compassionate and experienced staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home can help.

cremation services offered in Washington Township, MI

The Cremation Process

Cremations are one of the cremation services offered in Washington Township, MI. While cremation is a very popular funeral option, many people don’t really know what happens during the cremation process.

Here is a brief overview of what steps take place during the cremation process.

With cremations becoming a very popular choice among Americans as a final disposition instead of the traditional underground burial, it’s important first to understand why. There are a few reasons.

Many funeral directors have noted a rise in the number of cremations since the Great Recession of 2008, while they have seen the number of underground burials go down, so there is likely an economic component to why cremations are more popular than ever.

In addition, cremations are considered to be more environmentally friendly than underground burials, so many people are choosing cremation as a way to help protect the environment. A third reason is that there are a myriad of things that families can do with their loved one’s cremated remains, and people like the increased flexibility cremation offers.

The practice of cremation has a history almost as long as that of humans themselves. In the ancient Greek and Roman cultures, cremations were grand celebratory fetes that honored brave, famous, or heroic people.

Additionally, militaries that were fighting in far away from home cremated their dead, and then took the cremation remains back home to be buried in elaborate ceremonies.

The majority of people who died were cremated, until Constantine adopted Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine felt strongly that he needed to draw clear distinctions between Christianity and pagan religions.

Because many pagan religions incorporated burning people alive as part of their worship to their gods, Constantine essentially banned cremations and replaced them with underground burials.

Underground burials remained as the traditional final disposition method in the Western world until religions began removing their prohibitions of cremations, enabling Christians to make their own choice as to whether they wanted to be cremated or buried.

There are some interesting things about cremations that you may not be aware of.

Cremation containers don’t contain ashes. The remains of cremations – what is left after the cremation process – are bones. The bones are pulverized to the consistency of sand, giving them the appearance of being ashes, and they are returned to the deceased’s family.

Bodies are cremated one by one. Cremation units, which perform the cremation process, can hold just one casket or cremation container at a time.

Crematories have the responsibility to make sure the family gets the correct cremation remains. All crematories follow the same procedure to ensure that this happens.

Each body to be cremated is tagged with a flame-retardant tag as soon as it arrives at the crematory. The family identifies the body either with a current photo or in person. The tag remains with the body throughout the cremation process and is attached to the container with the cremation remains that is given to the family.

cremation services offered in Washington Township, MICremations generally take between two and three hours because of the intense heat sources applied that allows a body to burn that quickly.

You can have funeral services for someone who is being cremated. Funeral homes routinely arrange funeral services for people who are being cremated. The funeral service can be held with or without the body of the deceased present.

Cremation remains can be buried in cemeteries. Approximately 10% of cremation remains are buried underground in cemeteries. Many cemeteries are now created landscaped urn gardens for the burial of cremation remains.

For more information about cremation services in Washington Township, MI, our caring and knowledgeable staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral is here to assist you.

funeral homes in Washington Township, MI

What Some Famous People are Buried With

When you attend funerals at funeral homes in Washington Township, MI, you may see family members of the deceased place things in the caskets of their loved ones, or there may already be personal items that have special meaning in the casket with their deceased loved one.

Famous people have also been buried with some of their favorite things or things that they were identified with.

When composer Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story) died, he was buried with a baton, a lucky penny, a copy of the book Alice in Wonderland, and a pocket score of Gustav Mahler’s “Fifth Symphony.” The Mahler symphony was place directly over Bernstein’s heart in his casket, because he loved the work so much.

Actor Humphrey Bogart was cremated, but along with his cremation remains, a small gold whistle that was inscribed with “If you want anything, just whistle” was placed in his urn. Bogart had given the whistle to his wife, Lauren Bacall, as a gift many decades before.

The inscription on the gold whistle referred to the 1944 movie “To Have and Have Not,” which both Bogart and Bacall had starred in. It was the first movie they appeared in together.

When comedian George Burns was buried, his family placed three cigars in his jacket pocket. Cigars were one of Burns’ comedic props, and he was seldom if ever seen without one in his hand. The brand of cigars was El Producto Queens. Burns’ favored this brand over Cuban cigar brands, because the tobacco was wrapped more loosely, ensuring that the cigar stayed lit through his performance.

Escape artist Harry Houdini was buried with his head laying on a packet of letters that were written to him by his mother, Cecilia Weiss. Houdini was devoted to his mother and he never recovered from her death thirteen years before his own death.

Houdini’s coffin was one that he had used for underwater escapes in his act. It was solid bronze, with a hermetically sealed inner liner. According to Houdini, his fondness for this casket came from his quest to prove that “anyone could live without air for an hour if they did not let fear overcome them.”

President John F. Kennedy was a collector of engraved pieces of whale bones and ivory. After his assassination in 1963, he was buried with a 9 ½ inch long whale tooth that was engraved with the presidential seal.

The piece had been commissioned by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy as a Christmas gift, which she gave to the president in 1962. In addition to the engraved whale tooth, President Kennedy was also buried with a pair of gold cufflinks and several letters his wife and his children had written to him.

When singer Frank Sinatra was buried, his casket included a bottle of Jack Daniels, a pack of Camel cigarettes, a Zippo lighter, and a dollar’s worth of dimes.

Jack Daniels had been part of Sinatra’s life on and off the stage since it was introduced to him by fellow comedian Jackie Gleason. Sinatra famously quipped to writer Gay Talese that he was “for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniels.”

funeral homes in Washington Township, MI

The dollar’s worth of dimes that were buried with Sinatra were a nod to the fact that in life he always carried a dollar’s worth of dimes with him in case he needed to use a pay phone.

For information about planning funerals at funeral homes in Washington Township, MI, our compassionate and experienced staff at Lee-Ellena Funeral Home can help.