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Friday 31 August 2012

Princess Diana, 1961 - 1997

Princess Diana, 1961 - 1997 

“She is a part of our history, an incredible woman and fascinating but a tragic ending,” Naomi Watts who will be portraying the Princess in an upcoming biopic film - "Caught in Flight", which is directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, and due in cinemas in February 2013.

Today is Diana's 15th anniversary of her death and while her short life came to an abrupt end with a drunken driver, no seat belt and a paparazzi chase, her name is still remembered fondly worldwide as England's Rose and her legacy lives on.

There are some pieces of the funeral service that are often forgotten or maybe not as widely known. Her brother for example wrote his sister's eulogy himself and it was not shown to the royal family in advance of his public reading of it. He spoke from the heart, paid tribute to his sister but also put a slight dent in the Royal family's armor. He promised to protect the two princes, William and Harry, from the cold duty of the Palace so that they, like their mother would be able to live a life of their own. Then for the first time since 1065 in Westminster Abbey, applause erupted and was followed into Hyde Park where thousands celebrated.

By publicly holding the hand of someone with the Aids virus in the 80's, Diana did more to remove the distance and coldness that permeated from the Royal family than anyone had before or has since.

It was Diana who insisted the boys had a life outside the Palace walls and the impact on William today is clear as he stands with his wife Kate whom he clearly married for love. But determined to do his duty, he seems to follow in his mother's footsteps and will not expense of his private life or the love of his life to the role.

Even Prince Harry with his latest Las Vegas adventures showcase a young man who although a Prince, is a young man enjoying life and after being photographed topless in Spain, I'm sure the Princess could relate with him on intrusive media!

And this is where Diana's legacy still stands. No statue has been erected in her honor but her charity work, her efforts to humanize the royal family and most importantly her sons will survive longer and do more to warm hearts than any cold hardened statue ever could.

Diana's Burial place, Althorp, the Spencer-family estate in Northhampshire, England

Tuesday 28 August 2012

End of Life Planning

Death is one of those absolute certainties.  We constantly make plans for things that might never happen so why do we sometimes shirk planning for death? Something we know WILL happen.

Who do you want to inherit your house (and remember the mortgage protection policy will discharge the mortgage)?   Who do you want to be Guardians of your children?  Will your partner be adequately looked after?  Is your spouse adequately protected?  Have you make provision for that vulnerable child?  

It is up to you to answer these questions but your Solicitor can ensure that your wishes are given effect by including them in a properly drafted Will.

Where do you want to be buried?  What sort of funeral service do you want?  Do you wish to be cremated?  

When our clients are making their Wills, we also provide them with the option of contacting Jennifer at Farewell Funeral Planners to ensure that all their wishes are recorded and dealt with.

Discussing death does not need to be gloomy and depressing.  Knowing that your wishes will be respected can be soothing and even uplifting.

Thanks to Liam Keane of Liam Keane and Partners in Dunshaughlin for this blog entry.

Friday 24 August 2012

We will count no more..aa aa aa

Jerry Nelson has died aged 78. Jerry (July 10, 1934 – August 23, 2012) an American puppeteer, best known for his work with The Muppets also performed Gobo Fraggle on Fraggle Rock and on Sesame street. He voiced Mr. Snuffleupagus from 1971 - 78. He grew up in Washington, D.C.

Nelson worked with Muppet creator Jim Henson on TV's The Jimmy Dean Show, a program on which Kermit and the Muppets first became popular.  His began with Sesame Street in the '70s, and he continued to be the Count until his retirement in 2004. He also played the role of the telethon announcer in last year's big screen movie "The Muppets."

He is survived by his wife, Jan. Sadly their daughter, Christine, died of cystic fibrosis in 1982.

RIP Count.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

10 things to know about funeral planning

  1. Do a preplan. This puts in writing exactly what you would like and how you would like it, leaving loved ones burden free in deciding what song, flowers, poems they should choose to represent you. Saves money overall and puts the power in your hands. 
  2. Plan ahead of a Funeral home visit. Know what you would like ahead of time because more than likely the undertaker can and will oblige. Not knowing what you want could incur massive costs to you and your family.
  3. Compare prices. Funeral prices can vary hugely, even in the same county so don’t be afraid to ring up and ask for prices ahead of time. Unfortunately most funeral homes do not display their prices on their websites so a bit of research is required here.
  4. Know who you are dealing with. Like with most purchases you make, you choose to buy from a reputable company, you should do likewise with a funeral home.
  5. Think local and small. Small, independent funeral homes can often provide you with a better quality and more personal service at a cheaper price so don’t forget the little guy.
  6. Are they are member of the IAFD? Does this matter? It has an established Code of Practice which must be followed by all of it's members.
  7. Extra extra. Read all about the extra’s that you may incur if you are not careful. Only purchase what you need. Embalming, grave cover, and pallbearers are all extras that you may not need. 
  8. Inspect the products you are purchasing as much as is physically possible.
  9. Hire a funeral planner. An honest funeral planner will spend time with you and show you all the options available to you, both on cost and variety. But bear in mind that you are paying for their expertise and professionalism. If at any point this comes into question, you have the right to decline their services.
  10. Disbursements. Funeral Disbursements are fees that are paid on behalf of a client by a Funeral Director to third parties i.e crematorium, newspaper, clergy etc. 

Thursday 16 August 2012

Financial Support in Ireland Part 3

Another source of income when a bereavement occurs is the resources of the deceased.
  1. A Prepaid Funeral plan
  2. Their Bank Account - If money in the bank/building society is in the deceased's name only, then you usually cannot get access to it until a probate is taken out but if it is a joint account you may be able to access funds.
  3. A Post Office Account  - If the deceased had left instructions on a 'nomination form', the proceeds of the savings deposit account will be distributed according to those instructions. There are tax implications if the amount is more than 6,348.69 euro. If the investor had made a will, the proceeds will be distributed in accordance with the will. All you have to do is get a claim form from any post office and send it with the following: a death certificate, a Post Office deposit book and the original will or certified copy of the will.
  4. Credit union accounts - If the deceased had a credit union account and had completed a valid Nomination Form, when opening the account, nominating someone as next of kin, the proceeds of the account up to a maximum of €23,000 go to the person or persons nominated on the form. They do not form part of the deceased's estate. The balance of the account forms part of the deceased's estate.
  5. Life assurance - If an insurance policy names you as the beneficiary, then you may claim it directly from the insurance company. You need a death certificate. If there is no named beneficiary, then the proceeds form part of the overall estate of the deceased and are distributed with the other assets. Find out about different types of insurance here.
  6. Occupational and personal pensions. Find out more information about pensions here.
For Further information click here

Saturday 11 August 2012

Civil Ceremony

The Civil Celebrant holds no ideological or philosophical viewpoint but simply wishes to reflect the
desires of the family and loved ones of the deceased person. Traditionally funerals in Ireland have
been religious but with increasing secularisation people are moving away from old traditions and are
embracing new ways of mourning or celebrating the lives of their loved ones.

Civil Funeral Ceremonies are increasingly becoming the way to honour the life of the decease. The
Civil Celebrant will assist the family in creating the service, weaving the important and relevant
aspects, memories, music, poetry and prayers ( if wished for or an acknowledgement of a spiritual
dimension) of the deceased’s life into a memorable service which commemorates the loved one and
gives comfort to the mourners.

Thanks to Patricia Wojnar, fully accredited Civil Celebrant for this blog entry. 086 257 3539

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Death in South Africa

When someone dies in South Africa there is a ritual of visitation for at least a week to pay respects to the dead. Each of these visits brings with it the supply of food and drink for visitors. On the eve of the funeral, the family will traditionally hold a vigil where visitors can once again come to pay respect. Depending on how popular the deceased was, this can be hundreds of people.
One of the biggest funeral parlors will conduct a minimum of 40 funerals every Saturday so business is booming, so to speak.

Expensive caskets, catering for visitors, rental of chairs and tables and venues to hold vigils can squander most if not all life insurance payouts.

In South Africa, fashion and pride go hand in hand. People show up in bright oranges and yellows, with branded sunglasses and suits while arriving at the funeral in expensive cars to showcase their wealth. Once the funeral rites have been uttered, it is a fine feast next. Three to four courses is standard and then a drinks reception follows to give the deceased a fond farewell.