Wills - or the lack thereof - are many times the bone of contention for families when a loved one dies.
Who is responsible for taking care of the Funeral planning? Simply stated there is a legal order of priority.
I have a will.
I have a Will and have designated a Power of Attorney and Executor. Who will call the shots?
A Power of Attorney can make pre-need arrangements for you but cannot make at-need (after death) arrangements. The reason for this is that the Power of Attorney document becomes null and void at the time of your death.
Your Executor has responsibilities such as arranging the funeral, paying bills and settling the estate. After you die, your Executor is responsible for carrying out the wishes set out in your Will.
I'm married but my executor is not my spouse.
If you have a Will and have designated someone other than your spouse as your Executor, the Executor legally is entitled to decide (or carry out your wishes) for your funeral arrangements.
The only time the spouse is legally entitled to make these decisions is if you do not have a Will - the order of priority states next-of-kin will make these decisions if a Will and designated Executor is not made. Your spouse or interdependent partner are first on the list when it comes to order of priority after your Executor.
I am not married.
Whether it be that you were never married, you and your spouse are divorced or your spouse has passed on before you - order of priority states that any adult children that you have will become your next-of-kin. If you have multiple children, then your oldest child becomes the decision maker for your funeral arrangements. Any child who is to make funeral arrangements for you must be an adult.
I do not have a spouse or adult children.
If you never married (or you are divorced or your spouse has passed before you) and you did not have any children or your children are still too young - who would take care of your funeral arrangements?
Simply stated one of your parents. They can choose to make these decisions together or have only one of them make the decisions.
Who is next on the order of priority?
There are several other people listed on the order of priority if you do not have Will with an Executor, a spouse or partner, children or living parents.
Things get a little trickier if you do not have anyone left from the lists above.
make a will and pre-plan your funeral.
On the planning side, making a Will and designating an Executor should be first on your plan. Pre-paid funeral arrangements will decrease the amount of family disputes and eliminate the financial strain on all involved.
As an Executor or family member taking care of a loved one's funeral arrangements, keep in mind how much they would have wanted to spend on their arrangements and do your best to stick to their wishes.
You have experienced the loss of a loved one and are inundated with a wide variety of feelings and emotions.
You will need a support system to help you travel through your journey with grief. Family and friends will be there to support you along the way, but unless they have experienced a close personal loss they just won't "get it". That is where a grief counselor or support group become amazing resources.
What is a Bereavement counsellor or mentor?
When we lose something that we love, due to various reasons such as death, divorce, job loss, we lose a part of ourselves, of our identity. These losses can completely crumble our vision of the world and our place in it.
A Grief Mentor helps you navigate through these losses and find meaning again. Sometimes it can be difficult to work on your own "stuff" and having someone who's been there and understands the full process can really help you make sense of your new world.
A Grief counsellor or mentor works with you on a one-on-one basis which allows you to be fully open with your thoughts and feelings. Grief mentors help facilitate ways to learn how to cope with the stressors associated with the loss and manage symptoms with different tools and techniques.
What is a bereavement support group?
It is a group that meets regularly that consists of other people who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Bereavement support groups offer companionship and understanding from others who have gone through similar experiences.
In a culture that often discourages us from talking about our feelings, these support groups offer an opportunity to do so openly and guilt-free.
You will also hear other peoples stories, experiences and journeys through grief. Learning from others as to what worked for them for coping and hearing about different stages of their grief journey.
local support groups.
The Zenful Goddess saw a need for a Bereavement Support Group in the area and decided she would be the person to facilitate it. Kirsten - the Zenful Goddess - approached all local Funeral Homes about the group and it was well received as something that was very much needed in the area.
Kirsten wanted to provide a safe space where people could come together in their grief. A place where there is no such thing as age, gender, race, sexuality, or specific faith. A place where all those attending can feel connected to others through experiences and where everyone knows they are not alone in the journey through grief. These meetings are a place that surrounds all those who attend with love, compassion and empathy. These meetings are meant to be a place of hope.
The meetings will have different topics in each session, but remain flexible in case someone attending is really struggling and looking for guidance. The group will consist of people who are wanting or NEEDing to express the hurt in their hearts. By helping others through their grief, they will also begin to heal.
Everyone is free to attend one meeting or all of them. Each person will intuitively know what they need. This is why Kirsten did not want to make this a "program" - the group will be focused on talking, sharing and exploring different tools and strategies to help all involved move forward in life.
Ultimately Kirsten would like the Bereavement Support Group to be a beacon of light in the otherwise dark world of grief and mourning.
These groups will take place weekly on Thursday evenings starting at 7pm and will be hosted at the Celebrate Life Funeral Services office. You can contact us or Kirsten with any questions.
Check out the Zenful Goddess Facebook Page or Website for more information.
The most important thing is taking care of yourself. Whether you chose to seek the help of a support group or an individual one-on-one counsellor or mentor. Grief is a life long journey. Remember to continue to take the necessary steps to live a healthy, happy life.
What is grief in relation to love?
Quite often when people think of love they think of hearts, warmth and good things, but love is far more complicated than just that.
When you open yourself up to love, you also open yourself up to a wide range of emotions. One of those is grief. Grief can only exist where loved lived first.
You must have loved someone deeply to grieve their loss so intensely. When someone we love dies, grief takes over but the love for them continues on.
When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.
Grief is really just love. It's all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.
Underneath the stress, frustration, anger, disappointment, despair, loneliness, guilt and sorrow - there is love. It may take a while to find it, but it is there.