Dear Friends,

What should you do when a loved one passes?

I found a wonderful checklist, “The Complete Checklist for when a Loved One Passes Away”. This is a free download from, after entering your name, phone, email, zip code and answering whether a passing has occurred in the last 24 hours.

In the table of contents you will find guidance on what to do immediately, what to do within a few days and what to do 15 days or more after a loved one passes.

Our goal today is to make this task easier. Clark Howard advises us not to pay in advance but rather to “plan in advance“ for this inevitable event. Clark also recommends that we join a non-profit organization to get a great deal on burial or cremation through group buying power.  The one available in Georgia is the Memorial Society of Georgia. The society requires a one-time $35. fee to join. A new member submits a “Pre-Arrangement Form” to indicate his/her preferred end-of-life choices, including the type of arrangements (cremation or burial) and selection of a Funeral Director.

Okay, if you are going with the traditional funeral we can stop here.

But what about cremation? The current president of The Memorial Society of GA, John Lantz, was asked for a recommendation of what to do in the case of a deceased person who could not afford the basic cremation offered by the society. He suggested in the 2020 Memorial Society newsletter to call Leaf Cremation in Acworth, where the cost would be $695 plus an additional $50 to draft and file the death certificate and communicate this information with the proper authorities.

But wait, what if I die in a different state? Your responsible person goes on-line and does a google search on direct cremation (state). Choose a crematorium in that area to handle the body. After cremation, someone picks up the ashes in a biodegradable container. Then the family can schedule a memorial service with your church. By the way, you can buy urns at Walmart, Costco and Amazon. I have chosen to have my ashes scattered, thus no plot, no marker or the associated expense.

If you are okay with direct cremation, (no funeral home involved), then how do we communicate this decision to our loved ones? The answer is to have an Advanced Healthcare Directive or “Living Will” in the persons hands who we have asked to handle our affairs. I found a free download of the document on the AARP website. Download it, print it out, fill it out in pen and sign it in front of two witnesses and it becomes a legal document. On page 13 of this document, space is provided for your instructions concerning Hospice care and burial wishes.

Life is uncertain, don’t put this off.

Stewardship Committee