In today’s society, many options exist for families making plans for deceased loved ones. These plans take many factors into account: budget, religious affiliations, environmental concerns, and all with an eye to reflecting the wishes of the deceased.
Most people are familiar with traditional funeral services, although even these options can be customized to suit the needs of each family:
- Full Service – visitation with the deceased, funeral service, reception
- Memorial Service – reception and service
- Enbalming – preservation of remains in preparation for burial
- Cremation – burning of remains resulting in ashes, which can be kept, or disposed of, according to wishes
Donating To Science
Many clients include their wishes regarding cremation and/or burial in their Wills. Some people provide a wish regarding organ or tissue donation, which is also evidenced by an organ donor card. Still others decide to donate their bodies to science. What is the process?
Leaving your body to science requires planning. Your doctor and family members need to be informed of your decision, preferably in advance. By the time your Will is read, it is too late. Individuals, who wish to support teaching and research activities at a medical school and considering whole body donation can put these direction in their Power of Attorney as well as in their Will.
Despite the executor’s right to determine how to dispose of the body, some programs will not accept bodies if a family member objects to the bequest of their body.
It would be wise for individuals who are considering body donation to have alternative funeral plans in place, should the program decline the donation.
New Alternatives to Consider
Traditional funeral arrangements have in past been predicated by the religious affiliations and wishes of the deceased. As our world becomes a more diverse place, individuals are continually looking for new options that take into account the environmental and financial impact of funeral decisions. As a result, new options exist for those who want either a more unique or practical option. Some of these include resomation and an underwater memorial sea reef.
Resomation is the process of disposing of human remains through alkaline hydrolysis. In “resomation” the coffin is submersed in a vault filled with a water and alkali solution, then steam heated, resulting in 200 gallons of sterile liquid separated from bone ash, which can then be placed in an urn (as in cremation.) Unlike cremation and traditional burial, toxic chemicals such as mercury, dioxin, and formaldehyde are not released into the atmosphere or water supply, resulting in a lower carbon footprint.
Neptune Memorial Reef is a new underwater memorial reef off the coast of Florida that is part of an emerging trend to meet the demand for more unique alternatives to traditional burial practices. In addition to creating a unique way for loved ones to visit with a dive, the structures in the reef have created a marine habitat, and an accessible attraction for marine biologists, students, researchers and ecologists.
Preplanning? We can help.