Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Getting Rid of the Body? What Do YOU Say?

What would you like to happen to your body after your death? Would you prefer to be buried, cremated or have your body donated to science?

So...morbid I know, but timely. I recently completed the Last Will & Testament and Living Will I'd been putting off since, uh- we started breeding. I never gave serious thought to this sticky stuff before our children came into the picture. :::shudder:::
Photo Credit
Now that our lil' darlings are in the world, it's important to me to get all this icky biz outta the way. I'm shooting to leave some kind of a legacy instead of a hassle, for sure. Lofty goal, but anyway...

Obviously, when this legal mumbo jumbo comes up- well, I'd be DEAD, so- that will probably a drag for my family (she said with shifty eyes). Not trying to make die time any more of a downer, you know? I don't want to leave my sweeties with difficult decisions in regards to what to do with- the body.

When you complete your last wishes, there's a section to specify what you want done with your remains. This is a no-brainer for me- pun intended.
Photo Credit
I ain't goin' in no steel-lined wooden box! Ew.

It's a personal decision for everyone, but the notion of being stuffed full of carcinogenic chemicals (that will eventually leech into the earth), shoved in a box and left to take up space just doesn't sit well with me. Bleh.

I love the idea of a "green"or "natural burial," where you can go straight into the earth- to become food for living creatures, to become a TREE for Pete's sake. If you've never heard of this new movement, you've gotta check it out here. How COOL is this?!? That's what I'm talkin' bout!
Be a Tree
Instead of visiting ole' Ma at some creepy tombstone, go climb her- as a TREE! So rad. I even found this awesome Forest Cemetery here in Pennsylvania. What a beautiful concept- to walk among a forest of trees that have grown from the nourishment of those who have passed. That's just lovely to me, a lot more romantic than a bunch of space wasted with interred steel and bodies pumped full of formaldehyde.
National Resources Defense Council
So my personal choice is to donate all my organs to science, for research and education, and then to put the remainder straight back into the earth or have it cremated. I want my body to be used to give something back to the world that keeps on keepin' on.

It makes me happy to know that I can specify these wishes in the otherwise creepy Last Will & Testament. One less thing for my loved ones to stress about when the bell tolls. 

But they will have to organize the party I've requested instead of a somber funeral...
We'll save that discussion for another post.

What do you want done with your remains when the time comes? What do YOU say?
Write or link to a response below. We'd love to hear your take on the topic.

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours


Jenny Arndt said...

Ahhh Cally. I actually like this subject. I took 'Anthropology of Death' in college, and was intrigued. Cemeteries are costly and have a lot of problems with status. Status as in class status. Only the wealthy are buried on hills, overlooking the poor. The entrance/rich occupants are specially spaced and designed to display them, while the poor are kind of shoved to the side. A space along the pathway is usually more costly as well. I could go on... but the idea of planting something on top of your remains came up in that class as well. The circle of life - a lot of people find comfort in helping to create life after they pass, and it's a beautiful way to do so. My grandmother was cremated, and I take her ashes with me on my travels, on account of her many travels during her life. Her remains are spread from here in PA all the way to the French Polynesian islands. Quick side note: taking remains on planes is sometimes tricky!

Unknown said...

Very cool, Jenny!

I specified that, if my kids want to keep ashes, that they should be able to "split" Ma to keep or disperse me as they wish. My organs are going to science either way, because- WHY NOT?!?

Have you seen The Big Lebowski? Let's just hope I don't blow into their faces like the hysterical scene in that movie.

I was psyched to find that "green" burials are becoming far more commonplace now. I'm a Mommy, not hoping to be a well-preserved Mummy, right? :)

Your grandma would be happy to know a lil' bit of "her" is all over the world. Way to go!

Jenny Arndt said...

Yes, I have seen The Big Lebowski. I was very careful to NOT have that happen to me on ship in F.P.
"Green" burials are not only good for Earth, but your kids wallets, too!!
It's good to know there are conscious people out there :) Thanks for this post!!

Cfitzgerald0717 said...

Great post on a subject that is VERY important. People say to me all the time that they don't need a will because they don't have any assets etc. Even if this is the case, you still should have a will and living will. It is IMPORTANT for your family to know your wishes in the event that you are unable to make life and death decisions.

Further, while may not have a lot of assets, your family will still need to dispose of any assets you do have and deal with any creditors you may have had....And to do that without a will in New Jersey means that your family will have to post a bond, which can be costly depending on the size of your estate.

As you pointed out, having a family further complicates the matter. It is imperative that people go and have a will and living will prepared.

Finally, I urge you to seek an attorney to prepare your estate documents. The free or cheap forms online are not enough to make sure you are protecting your family and/or estate in the event of your death.

Thanks for posting!

Unknown said...

Ooooh! Thanks for this information!

Tell us more! A friend, whose husband is a lawyer, told me that using LegalZoom would be a good way to complete a will and living will.


What's the scoop?

Cfitzgerald0717 said...

Sorry for the delay. Work has been CRAZY. I personally do not like using legal zoom nor do I recommend it. Legal Zoom can't give you advice about the best way for you to leave your estate to your love ones.

For example, your estate is worth $700,000.00. I know, who has an estate worth $700,000?!?!?! Well more people than you know - especially if you own a house in New Jersey - I mean, your house alone could be worth that in Chatham. So back to the example, if your estate is worth over $700,000.00 your love ones may have to pay estate tax if you simply leave your assets to them via Will. The problem with Legal Zoom is that it won't ask you questions about your specific information and circumstances - it's a website so it can't tailor your estate planning to your specific needs.

In the example I gave, a lawyer would be able to tell you that you may want to think about executing a Trust instead... Legal Zoom will easy to use and very general cannot replace the advice or work product of an attorney. I am a little biased though - being a lawyer and all. With all that said, I know people will still use legal zoom to prepare their documents, but I urge you to seek legal advice from an estate planning lawyer if you can.

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