Choosing Lower-Priced Funeral Options

Choosing certain types of funeral or cremation arrangements can eliminate many unnecessary funeral costs.  Choosing wisely will prevent you from being charged for lots of “extras” no one told you about.

Since most families do not plan funerals very often, they usually don't realize what's included (or excluded) in the decisions they make.  All too often a family simply agrees to the funeral director's recommendations - only to end up surprised when their final bill is 30% higher than expected.

Even though many of the goods and services offered by a funeral home are priced on an individual basis, certain selections you make will automatically trigger additional costs.  Unfortunately, most families don't find out about these additional costs until after the service is over and they get the funeral director's bill. Read more...

Donating Your Body to Science - What You Need to Know

Many people consider donating their body to science in lieu of choosing a funeral followed by cemetery burial.

Donating your body to science:  a basic description

When you choose to donate a deceased body to science, you are essentially donating the body to aid medical research - usually to teach medical students about anatomy.

When you donate a body, a representative from the medical school picks up the body and takes it to back to the school school where it's embalmed and stored.  The body is used to teach anatomy to medical students during the following semester's classes.  After the semester ends, the body is cremated.

The cremated remains (i.e. cremains) are either returned to the family or buried in communal plot in a cemetery near the medical school.

Families choosing to donate a body to science can still choose to hold their own memorial service after the death; however, in cases of body donation, the cremains will not be present during the memorial service (because the body needs to be transported to the medical school immediately following death).

The medical school usually holds a single memorial service for all of the bodies used during the previous semester's classes, and surviving family members are invited to attend the ceremony.   The medical school's memorial service occurs approximately two years after the date of death.

After the school holds their memorial service, the cremains are usually buried in a cemetery near the medical school.  However, the family can also request the cremains be returned to the family.  Again, this occurs nearly two years after death. Read more...

Body Donation: The Advantages and Disadvantages

Many people consider donating their body to science in lieu of choosing a funeral followed by burial in a cemetery.  Body donation (or medical donation, as it is sometimes called), has advantages and disadvantages

Advantages of donating your body to science

One of the chief advantages related to donating your body to science is that this option is often considerably less expensive than other funeral options.  By donating your body to science, you avoid costs associated with body burial in a cemetery.  You may also be able to lower or reduce costs related to the headstone or memorial marker.

A body donation can also be fairly simple to arrange: normally you file basic paperwork with a donor program (usually a medical school) and then notify the donor program immediately following the death.  Representatives from the medical school will dispatch professionals to pick up the decedent and transport the body back to the medical school.

Moreover, the donor program or medical school accepting the body usually takes full responsibility for handling the eventual cremation and burial tasks.  Families are usually given the option of having cremated remains buried at the school site or returned to the family once the school is finished using the body for teaching purposes.

Donating your body to medical science also has an altruistic advantage in that your donation helps train future doctors and surgeons and may help find cures to a variety of diseases.  While this may not be a high priority in some families, other families take solace in the fact that they are able to make a positive impact on future generations. Read more...