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‘Tis the Season

This season is about Peace on Earth, but what about Peace of Mind?  Believe it or not, talking about, or even better, writing down your wishes about your care after you pass, can contribute towards one’s peace of mind, the issue is breaking through our unease when we confront the idea of death.

Ultimately the issue at the end of the day is that we do not know what we do not know.  It might seem easier to just to “let your family handle your arrangements” or to “just toss you to the curb.”  While in writing that seems harsh, people have been saying this to funeral directors for years.  The hard truth is that this approach fails, that this approach can cause emotional harm, financial issues, and create additional stress for those you leave behind.

Did you know that a Power of Attorney expires upon death, and if you did not leave written authorization, that it falls to your next of kin (a spouse with dementia, or biological children that were disinherited or can’t get along, or someone further removed from you) to make your funeral arrangements?  This can lead to days turning into weeks, sometimes month, and a judge making the decision – this can drain your family emotionally and the finances of your estate.  Or perhaps a disinherited biological child will step forward and make the choices that they want and choices that probably won’t mirror what you would have wanted.  Designating an “agent of disposition” will alleviate this quandary.

Did you know that cremation is more legalistic in the state of Texas than burial?  You can be buried within 24 hours and without a signed death certificate in the State of Texas.  However, there is a 48 hour waiting period for cremation, the doctor must sign the death certificate and has up to 10 days in order to do so, your immediate next of kin has to sign a cremation authorization, and depending on the county you die in, there could be other required permits.  This means that it can take 2-10 days, or even more, to be cremated, especially if your family disagrees as to burial or cremation.  And don’t forget that you must either be embalmed or refrigerated within 24 hours.  However, if you provide self-authorization in writing that you want to be cremated, then your next of kin does not need to sign a cremation authorization which has the potential to speed up the process.  And if you include your wishes on refrigeration or embalming, that also removes a decision from the shoulders of your grieving family.

In my experience, families that preplan give a huge gift to the ones they leave behind.  Now those family members might not want to wake up on Christmas Day to a stocking stuffed with prearrangements, but when the time comes to use them, they will understand and be immensely grateful.

2019 Reader’s Choice and Locals Love Us Awards

The Putnam Family of Funeral Homes (Bertram Funeral Home in Bertram, Cremation Advocates by Putnam in Marble Falls, and Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory in Kingsland) continues to win the local awards for Best In Class. We do so by going above and beyond and because we understand that we have only one opportunity to make this right. Remember our billboard – #YODO? From writing the obituary to personalizing memorial folders and celebrations of life, to introducing grief therapy dogs in training, and offering different funeral home concepts (traditional, contemporary, and familial), and even offering different funeral planning products from final expense policies to prepaid funeral contracts, we do everything we can to advocate for you before, during, and after your time of loss and help you make meaning out of an emotional time. Every employee is also a community volunteer and Putnam supports several local causes and organizations as we believe that investing in our community keeps our community strong. It also enables us to build relationships to better serve you when you need us the most. We are local and family-owned with the ONLY on-site crematory in the Highland Lakes area. Not only do we Keep Your Loved Ones Close and provide Excellence in Remembrance, but Putnam also Cares!  We provide cremation and burial services, celebrations of life, and preplanning services to Horseshoe Bay, Spicewood, Lakeway, Austin, Liberty Hill, Temple, Bertram, Oatmeal, Burnet, Tow, Kingsland, Llano, Highland Haven, Granite Shoals, Cottonwood Shores, Marble Falls, Meadowlakes, Double Horn, Round Mountain, Johnson City, Blanco, Boerne, San Antonio, Fredericksburg and beyond.

Putnam Preplanning and Bereavement Guide

Putting Your House in Order

Preparing for death is not something most of us want to do.   We know it is inevitable, but sometimes we hope that it won’t happen or we just choose not to think about it.  The thing is though, that if we do not put some sort of order to our affairs before we die, then we are forcing those we love to put order to possible chaos at one of their most vulnerable and emotional moments, potentially creating an unnecessary hardship or worsening the grief they feel.

Some things to consider:

  1. Make a will and select an executor who is trustworthy and will use sound judgement in making decisions.
  2. Create a record of personal affairs that lists contacts and relevant account information for your attorney, CPA, financial advisor, realtor, executor, banks, insurance, retirement, credit cards, debt, property owned, safe deposit box, automobile registration, etc.
  3. Sign and notarize a written authorization stating whether you want to be cremated or buried and with which Funeral Home (if already selected). On another page, provide information (if applicable) on cemetery plot, disposition of ashes, service or celebration of life requested (church, synagogue, funeral home, or other), and what music, readings, photos, videos, etc. you might want utilized.
  4. Provide biographical information such as education, religious affiliation, employment history, fraternal, service, social, and/or union membership, boards served on, positions held, special recognition, family information (next of kin, children, etc) and/or your veteran’s service record, as this information will be needed for the death certificate, veteran’s benefits, and/or an obituary.

Whether you feel overwhelmed or are ready to act – call or email us at Putnam Funeral Home and Crematory in Kingsland, TX (325-388-0008, staff@putnamcares.com) or Cremation Advocates by Putnam in Marble Falls (830-798-8413, staff@cremationadvocates.net) – to schedule an appointment to discuss how you can help your loved ones tomorrow by being proactive today.

The Race to the Bottom: Is Price the Only Consideration When Choosing a Funeral Home or Cremation Provider?

Knowledge, quality, service, personalization, legally compliant, going above and beyond, time spent with the family – these are the qualities that people take for granted that they will receive when choosing a funeral home or crematory.  However, there appears to be a race to the bottom in the funeral industry that is negatively impacting the ability of funeral homes and crematories or cremation providers to meet these expectations and many families are walking away from the burial or cremation of a loved one – disappointed.

With on-line options touting cheap cremations and some funeral homes BOLDLY UNDERLINING IN ITALICIZED CAPS THAT THEY WILL PRICE MATCH,  it is clear that the funeral industry incorrectly believes that the number one priority to someone shopping for a funeral home or crematory is price.   And by trying to be the cheapest, many in the funeral industry have initiated a race to the bottom by cutting corners.  Some families tell stories of illegal solicitation efforts, of being offered “Factory Second” urns, being rushed through their initial meeting, receiving the cremated remains of their loved one in the mail, or not being provided options for a service or help with insurance or the option to purchase death certificates, just to name a few.

The final disposition following a death is just that – final.  Families only have one opportunity to have it done right.  There are no do-overs.  So while consumers and funeral homes have been trained to buy and sell solely on price, the race to the bottom, to be the cheapest, has the potential to leave a family bereft and unhappy with how the final disposition of their loved one has been handled.

What can you do to ensure that your expectations are met?  When shopping for a funeral home, crematory, or cremation provider, look beyond the price.  Ask yourself, what am I giving up by going with the cheapest option?  Am I missing out on using a local business who hires locals and volunteers time and money to the community?  Am I missing out on knowledge, or quality, or service?  Am I using a funeral home that engages in shady or illegal practices or finds other ways to cut corners?  And if a funeral home is visibly cutting corners, how might they be cutting corners with my loved one when I am not in the room?  Am I missing out by using a funeral home or cremation provider that really cares and is going to take time with me and help me build a positive foundation for grief?  Am I using a middleman who is going to ship my loved one hours away to be cremated?

In other words, look beyond price and ask questions about what makes a funeral home or crematory or cremation provider different and ask questions about things that are important to you.

You can no longer expect a certain level of service when contracting a funeral or cremation – the race to the bottom, to be the cheapest, has created an environment in which funeral homes and cremation providers are doing whatever they can to cut costs, doing whatever they can to provide a consumer with the cheapest funeral or cremation out there, when maybe what the consumer really wants is for their loved one’s funeral or cremation done well and done right.

Changing the Face of Funeral Homes in Burnet

Cremation Advocates by Putnam is introducing an exciting new concept to Burnet, Horseshoe Bay, Marble Falls and the surrounding areas – an event approach to cremations instead of a traditional funeral home experience.  Not only do we have the only crematory in the Highland Lakes Area, but we have the only licensed funeral establishment in Burnet and Llano counties and beyond that eschews the traditional funeral home setting for a contemporary office setting especially designed to host intimate life celebrations, receptions, gatherings, and functions with the technological capability to include remote friends and families.  Our cremation advocates are ready to help you navigate the cremation process and make meaning out of an emotional time.