see this brochure Funeral Consumer Rights http://www.funeralethics.org/KSCR.pdf
WHAT CAN BE DONE PRIOR TO DEATH OCCURRING?
Record your wishes, advise family members (specifically the legal next of kin) and even pre-arrange your funeral with the funeral home of your choice.
No one likes to think about death, let alone plan for it. In many families, discussing one's mortality is an extremely uncomfortable topic. By pre-planning your funeral, you relieve your family of having to make important financial decisions during a period of great stress and grief.
Pre-paid funds may be placed in a trust or used in an insurance policy with the funeral home as beneficiary. Deanna Webb is licensed to provide this option. The differences and advantages are explained below and on FAQ page.
You may transfer pre-paid arrangements. For example, if you have $5,000 pre-paid at another funeral home, and we can provide the same services and merchandise for $4,000, then you have the excess funds to use or be refunded. We accept all.
Why Pre-arrange? Pre-arranging is an important step in overall estate planning, an additional means of protecting your loved ones. By pre-arranging you will:
- Have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved ones will be spared from having to make difficult decisions at a time of deep personal loss, a time when you are not prepared.
- Establish a fund to help pay for expenses at the time of need.
- Protect life insurance and additional assets for uses other than funeral expenses.
- Select the quality of service that you feel is most appropriate for you. Just about everyone can benefit from pre-planning for their funeral, but it is especially important for people in these situations:
- Retirement or about to retire
- Living Alone
- People concerned with providing for their parents or other relatives
- Those who will be living on a fixed income, such as Social Security Medicaid Benefits or Public Aid.
- Those planning on entering a nursing home or other long term care facilities.
- Those who wish to remove the burden of decision making from their family
- and those with strong preferences.
What Are The Types Of Pre-arrangement?When you pre-arrange, you have two options. You can either establish a fund to help pay the cost of the servies at the time of need. (With an insurance policy or a bank account.) Or, you can simply have your wishes on file and leave the financial responsiblity to your family. The funeral home does not keep your pre-arrangement money. The law in the State of Kansas requires that the pre-arranged funds be placed in a trust that meets all legislative requirements. This protects you, the consumer. For example, if a funeral home goes out of business, or if you move, your funds are safe and secure and you may have the trust assign your funds to another funeral home of your choice.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO PRE-FINANCE MY FUNERAL PRIOR TO DEATH OCCURRING? Yes, it is. Pre-financed funeral agreements can be financed by a funeral trust or through life insurance products.Once established, funeral trusts protect consumers 100% in the state of Kansas. There are many different circumstances, but a revocable funeral trust is usually in the form of a savings account or certificate of deposit. You, the consumer, control the money and interest earned. You may withdraw the money anytime prior to death, but you automatically cancel the agreement by doing so. The interest earned on these trusts is taxable to yourself, although some are tax exempt. Trust agreements do not normally guarantee funeral prices, but they do allow you to keep control of your money. While in years past the interest earned may have kept up with funeral cost increases, this is not necessarily true today. All irrevocable funeral trusts are non-refundable. Your money becomes locked in as payment for your funeral expense. Irrevocable trusts can be advantageous if you are receiving financial assistance (an example would be assistance from the Kansas Department of Social & Rehabilitation Services) as the money in these trusts does not count as a resource, OR if the funeral provider will agree to guarantee prices based on accumulating interest. Remember, revocable trusts are refundable. Irrevocable trusts are not, but in either case you still control which funeral home you want to use. A letter is all that is required should you decide to use a different funeral home prior to death. While the funeral trust may not yield a particularly high interest rate, it does allow you to retain control of the money (including interest) prior to death when done revocably. Please note that in almost all instances the contract will be declared null and void should you choose to withdraw any of the money (principal and/or interest) prior to death.Another method used in pre-financing funeral agreements is insurance. Funeral homes and third-party sellers employing licensed insurance agents can use approved life insurance products to pre-finance a funeral agreement.
There are many different kinds of policies available in the state of Kansas, so please BEWARE! Some are non-refundable (irrevocable or irrevocable assignments) or only partially refundable-unlike the revocable 100% trusts previously mentioned. The good news about insurance funded pre-need agreements is that they generally will guarantee the funeral for a set price, and you are not normally taxed on interest earned as it goes to the seller. Be sure and ask if all prices are guaranteed at the time you are making pre-arrangements and ask about any penalties imposed for transfer or withdrawal. If funeral prices are not guaranteed, then you may want to consider other options. Make sure that any guarantees are in writing and spell out which products and services are covered. Generally, cash advance items (items not controlled by the funeral home - such as newspaper obituary notices, flowers, cemetery costs...) are not guaranteed. Before canceling an insurance product, be sure and get (in writing) what the cash value/refund will be.
GRIEF - RESOURCES & SUPPORT
Coping with Grief and Loss
"The best way to work through grief, is to grieve." --Rabbi Earl Grollman.
UNDERSTANDING THE GRIEVING PROCESS
Losing someone or something you love or care deeply about is very painful. You may experience difficult emotions and it may feel like the pain and sadness your experiencing will never let up. These are normal reactions to a significant loss. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can allow healing.
Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something is taken away. You may associate grief with death–and this type of loss often causes the most intense grief. But any loss can cause grief, including:
- A relationship breakup
- Loss of health, job, financial stability, pet, friendship, security
- A miscarriage or a loved one’s serious illness
The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief. Even subtle losses can lead to grief. Everyone grieves differently. Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried – and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. It’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
Stages of grief
In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief:
- Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
- Anger: “Why is this happening? Who is to blame?”
- Bargaining: “Make this not happen, and in return I will ____.”
- Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
- Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what happened.”
If you are experiencing any of these emotions following a loss, it may help to know that your reaction is natural and that you’ll heal in time. However, not everyone who is grieving goes through all of these stages. Even years after a loss, especially at special events such as a family wedding or the birth of a child, we still experience a sense of grief.
Common symptoms of grief
While loss affects people in different ways, many people experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving. Just remember that almost anything that you experience in the early stages of grief is normal.
- Shock and disbelief – Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth.
- Sadness – Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness.
- Guilt – You may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done.
- Anger – Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry at yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.
- Fear – A significant loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.
- Physical symptoms – We often think of grief as a strictly emotional process, but grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.
Coping with grief and loss tip 1: Get support
The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it’s important to express them. Sharing your loss makes the burden of grief easier. Wherever the support comes from, accept it and do not grieve alone. Connecting to others will help you heal.
Finding support after a loss
- Turn to friends and family members.
- Draw comfort from your faith – If you’re questioning your faith in the wake of the loss, talk to a clergy member or others in your religious community.
- Join a support group – To find a bereavement support group in your area, contact local hospitals, hospices, funeral homes, and counseling centers.
- Talk to a therapist or grief counselor – If your grief feels like too much to bear, call a mental health professional with experience in grief counseling.
Coping with grief and loss tip 2: Take care of yourself
The stress of a major loss can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time.
- Face your feelings - In order to heal, you have to acknowledge the pain. Trying to avoid feelings of sadness and loss only prolongs the grieving process. Unresolved grief can also lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems.
- Express your feelings in a tangible or creative way.
- Look after your physical health. Combat stress and fatigue by getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. Don’t use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of grief or lift your mood artificially.
- Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It's also okay to let go when you're ready.
- Plan ahead for grief “triggers.” Anniversaries, holidays, and milestones can reawaken memories and feelings. Be prepared for emotions and know that it’s normal.
When grief doesn’t go away
It’s normal to feel sad, numb, or angry following a loss. But as time passes, these emotions should become less intense as you accept the loss and start to move forward. If you aren’t feeling better over time, or your grief is getting worse, it may be a sign that your grief has developed into a more serious problem, such as complicated grief or major depression.
The sadness of losing someone you love never goes away completely, but it shouldn’t remain center stage. If the pain of the loss is so constant and severe that it keeps you from resuming your life, you may be suffering from a condition known as . Complicated grief is like being stuck in an intense state of mourning. You may have trouble accepting the death long after it has occurred or be so preoccupied with the person who died that it disrupts your daily routine and undermines your other relationships.Symptoms of complicated grief include:
- Searching for the person in familiar places
- Avoiding things that remind you of your loved one
- Extreme anger or bitterness over the loss
- Feeling that life is empty or meaningless
- Intense, pervasive sense of guilt.
- Thoughts of suicide or a preoccupation with dying.
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness.
When to seek professional help for grief
If you recognize any of the above symptoms of complicated grief or clinical depression, talk to a mental health professional right away. Left untreated, complicated grief and depression can lead to significant emotional damage, life-threatening health problems, and even suicide. But treatment can help you get better.Contact a grief counselor or professional therapist if you:Feel like life isn’t worth livingWish you had died with your loved oneBlame yourself for the loss or for failing to prevent itFeel numb and disconnected from others for more than a few weeksAre having difficulty trusting others since your lossAre unable to perform your normal daily activities
Needs of a Grieving Child
- Open, honest information regarding the death
- Saying good-bye to the deceased
- Participation in the funeral ritual, if they choose
- Reassurance that basic needs will be met
- Consistency and routine in day-to-day living
- An ongoing, loving and supportive environment where feelings and thoughts can be expressed
*Much of the information on this page can be found on the internet.
There are support groups in the area. Visit with the Webb Family. We will gladly assist you in finding support. Books regarding grief are also available in our flowers and gifts page.
Frequently Asked Questions
If a death has occurred, or is imminent, and arrangements were previously made at another funeral home, you can still use Webb Family Funeral Service. Simply call us at 620-331-3500. We'll take care of the details.
- Can I transfer plans?
- What do I do when death occurs?
- Donating a body to science
- Power of Attorney
- Social Security
- Veterans Benefits
- Death Certificates
- Difference in types of Service
- Children at Funerals
- Laws about Funeral Home Ads & Solicitation
- Burial on your own Property
- Do I have to use a Funeral Home?
- Scattering Ashes
- Do I need Embalming, Casket, Outer Container?
- Questions on Pre-Financed funds (refunds, taxes, revocable/irrevocable, guarantees, etc.)
- Funeral Home's acceptance and requiring payment
Can I transfer my prefinanced funeral agreement to a different funeral home? Yes, you can. Make sure that your agreement is with a funeral home--and not a cemetery, as trusting laws are quite different. If your prefinanced agreement is funded with insurance, then it will be necessary to obtain a change of beneficiary application from the insurance company holding the policy. If your agreement is funded via trust, certificate of deposit, savings account . . . then you (we will assist you) will need to write the financial institution to make your request known. They should then provide you with the appropriate documents to make such a change. If this request is made after death occurs, then it becomes more complicated -- but it is still possible (again, we will assist you).
WHAT SHOULD ONE DO WHEN A DEATH OCCURS? Arrangements for disposition of the deceased generally can be made by a spouse, next of kin or legal representative. K.S.A. 65-1734 lists the order of priority of persons authorized to dispose of decedent's remains.
(Who's in charge?)
1. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions
2. Spouse of the deceased
3. Children of the deceased
4. Parents of the deceased
KSA 58-625 is the law concerning the "durable power of attorney for health care decisions." KSA 58-629 addresses this authority - with section (f) stating: "Death of the principal shall not prohibit or invalidate acts of the agent in arranging for organ donation, autopsy or disposition of body." If you have this authority and are making funeral arrangements, bring along a copy of the paperwork as proof, to avoid any confusion. *With authority comes financial responsibility*.
The normal sequence of events for handling a death is as follows:
- Contact the funeral home of your choice;
- Death must be verified by a coroner, medical examiner or the last attending physician;
- Contact relatives;
- Locate deceased's letter of direction, prepaid funeral contract or prearrangement information, insurance policies or will;
- If death occurs out of state or country, it is advisable that you immediately contact a local funeral director of your choice who will know the requirements that must be met, as well as help prevent duplication of service costs.
Information on Scientific Donation
Advance Directive/Power of Attorney
Applying for benefits - Social Security Death Benefit of $255 applies only to the surviving spouse and qualifying dependent children.
Our staff will file a notice with Social Security that your loved one has died. Please provide your funeral director with your loved one’s Social Security number to begin the process.
After the notification, you should contact Social Security to discuss benefits for you and your family. They can be reached at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Benefits vary by a number of conditions, including the age and relation of the surviving family members, and can also change over time. Please review the information and instructions at the Social Security website, http://www.ssa.gov/pgm/survivors.htm for the most up-to-date information.
Veterans buried in a private cemetery may be eligible to receive a partial reimbursement for their burial costs (basically, the cemetery space). For non-service related deaths, a burial expense allowance (up to $300) and a plot allowance (up to $300) may be given. If a death is service related, benefits up to $2,000 may be paid for burial expenses. Honorably discharged veterans are entitled to a space, headstone, and outer container at a Veteran's or National Cemetery, as well as a flag. Keep a copy of your form DD-214 in a known place or on file at the funeral home. You can also call the VA at 1-800-827-1000 for more information. http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/bbene/
Information on cemeteries here: http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/listcem.asp
Certified Death Certificates
The funeral home constructs a death certificate and takes it to the doctor. After it is signed, the death certificate, a request form asking for certified copies and a check for $15 for each copy are sent to the Office of Vital Statistic in Topeka (or whatever state is applicable at their designated fee). They make a certified copy and send it back. This usually takes about two weeks. Certified copies are usually required with transactions involving insurance claims, titles, stocks, bonds, CD's, accounts and other legal and banking activities.
What is the difference between a Visitation, a Memorial and a Funeral?
A formal visitation provides a time and place for you to extend an expression of sorrow and sympathy. Visitation is typically held at the funeral home, and the deceased is typically present so that you can pay your last respects.A memorial service is a service without the deceased present. The deceased is present at a funeral service.
Children & Funerals
As part of the healing process, children should be encouraged to attend the funeral. However, they should never be forced or made to feel guilty if they choose not to attend. In most cases, they will attend if they are prepared for what to expect and given support. It is helpful to explain to the child why we have funerals. They can usually embrace that it is a time for good-bye. This may also be a good time to explain the spiritual significance according to your personal religious beliefs.If a child attends a funeral, an explanation of what will happen before, during, and after the ceremony is important. Children should also be made aware that they will see people expressing a wide range of emotions in expressing their feelings. If appropriate, children can also be encouraged to participate in the funeral process. Your funeral director can provide helpful information and answers to questions about children and funerals.
If your question is about the death of a child, you may call us, as Mr. Webb would prefer to speak with you personally.
IS THERE A LAW WHICH PROHIBITS FUNERAL HOMES FROM ADVERTISING?
No, but consumer protection laws require all advertising to be factual and clear in content. Any misrepresentations should be reported to the Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts.
IS THERE A LAW WHICH PROHIBITS FUNERAL DIRECTORS FROM SOLICITATION AT OR NEAR THE TIME OF DEATH?
Yes. "At-need solicitation" means any uninvited contact for the purpose of the sale of funeral services or merchandise to the family or next of kin of a person after the person's death or where death is imminent. This is against the law and should be reported to the Kansas State Board of Mortuary Arts. It is often impossible for a company soliciting a pre-need product to know if such a situation exists. Once you advise them that it does, they should no longer pursue a sale with you.
Is it possible to bury a loved one on family property?
Yes it is. Although the State of Kansas does not have any specific statutes or regulations allowing or prohibiting this, you should check with the county (possibly the county attorney or county clerk) or city (again, possibly the city attorney or city clerk) to see if there are any local ordinances that prohibit doing this where you live.
Do I have to use a funeral home in order to provide final disposition? Unless the person who passed away had an infectious or contagious disease, then state law does not require using a funeral home for final disposition purposes-with several conditions: Final disposition must occur within 24 hours of death, although this time frame can be extended if the remains are refrigerated or placed in a sealed container (as is specified by law.) If a funeral home is not used, then it becomes the family's responsibility to file a death certificate with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Division of Vital Statistics. Please note that it is against the law for anyone to hold themselves out as a licensed funeral director or embalmer, so only family members of the deceased should participate in the final disposition process without using a funeral home.
Is it possible to scatter remains (ashes) of a loved one anywhere--or are there specific restrictions?
It is illegal to scatter ashes at Federal parks and waterways. Although there are no specific state laws that address this issue, the best thing to do is to get permission to do this from the landowner of the property you have in mind. Another consideration should be given to the owners of adjoining property.
Do human remains have to be embalmed prior to burial or cremation?
No--as long as certain conditions are met, such as the 24-hour time frame previously mentioned and several other laws. Some funeral homes may not allow for a public visitation to take place at their facility unless embalming has taken place. This would be a funeral home policy--not a law. Generally speaking, embalming is relatively inexpensive compared to costs for caskets and services involved with traditional funerals.
Does a casket have to be used for burial or cremation purposes? No state law requires that a casket must be used. Many cemeteries require that an outer container be used at their facility, but that is a cemetery bylaw situation--and is not a state law.
Must an outer container be used for purposes of burial?
No state law requires that an outer container be used, although (as has been previously mentioned) many cemeteries will require that an outer container be used if burial is to take place on their property.
Can I receive a refund of my prefinanced funeral agreement prior to death?
Possibly so. While there are no provisions for a refund of an irrevocable funeral trust, revocable trusts can be refunded--at 100% with interest minus any justified administrative costs of up to 1%. Insurance funded products fall within the guidelines of the Kansas Insurance Department as do all insurance products. Concerns of this kind can best be asked prior to the signing of any such agreement, and I would suggest asking so in writing.
What happens should there be any money remaining from a prefinanced funeral product once death occurs and payment has been made to the funeral home? It belongs to the next-of-kin--except in cases of irrevocable trusts if the individual was receiving assistance at the time of death (where any remaining money would go to the agency providing assistance--such as the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, SRS.) The method of reimbursement would depend on the prefinanced product (insurance, trust . . .) and if an estate/probate court was involved.
What if there is not enough money in the prefinanced agreement to pay for funeral costs once death occurs?
It all depends on the contract/agreement to service the prefinanced agreement made with the funeral home. If certain merchandise or services were guaranteed, then you are not responsible for any increases in those areas. Many contracts financed with trust money will call for you to pay any difference in costs at the time of death. The idea, in those cases, is that the interest that accumulates in the account will offset any price increases in place at the time of death. Once again, this is a good thing to get in writing at the time such an agreement is made-and not once death has occurred and it is time to pay the funeral bill.
What is the difference in irrevocable and a revocable prefinanced funeral trust? While this has been touched on in previous questions, generally speaking an irrevocable agreement cannot be refunded prior to death--while a revocable agreement can be refunded. Irrevocable agreements should be used in cases where the individual is going under public assistance of some kind, as the prefinanced funeral agreement (up to a certain amount) does not count as an asset. The maximum amount of an irrevocable trust is $7,000, but this does not include merchandise such as the casket, outer container.
What does "guaranteeing" a funeral by purchasing a prefinanced funeral agreement actually mean?
Again, make sure that you understand the prefinanced contract before signing it. Usually, "guaranteeing the agreement" means that the interest generated will offset increased costs once death occurs. Even though you purchase a prefinanced funeral agreement prior to death, current prices of all merchandise and services as listed on the contract/"Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected" will apply at the time of death. What merchandise and services are guaranteed not to increase depends on the prefinanced funeral agreement originally signed.
Why do I have to pay taxes on the interest earned on my prefinanced funeral trust?
While this is not always the case (as there are some "tax free" trusts available--and in some cases the taxes are paid by the trust administrator), generally speaking you, the consumer, will be responsible for paying taxes on the earned interest. Again, this is something to ask prior to signing a contract. Generally speaking, the money in the trust belongs to you--which is why it is your responsibility to pay tax on interest earned.
What happens if there is no money available when death occurs--and no death benefits are available?
Possibilities include donating remains to science. If there are no living relatives, then generally the county coroner will direct final disposition--although there are several situations that can occur.
Does a funeral home have to accept a call from a family once death occurs? No, although it is against the law to prohibit providing services in cases of certain situations, such as: the American Disability Act (ADA) . . . General reasons that a funeral home may not accept a call from a family would include previous poor credit (such as a long standing unpaid bill from a previous death.)
Can a funeral home require that payment be made prior to providing any services/merchandise?
Yes, they can. The funeral home has bills to pay themselves, so requiring payment up front is not against the law. A family is free to change to a different funeral home at anytime, although the original funeral home will charge for any services provided up until the time that such a transfer was to take place. It is, however, against the law for a funeral home to hold a remains against the will of the family.