A death is not the extinguishing of a light, but the putting out of the lamp because the dawn has come.
Handling the death of a loved one is never an easy task. Many people may have questions which they need answered. We have put together some of the important information you’ll need to know when making the initial decisions. Remember that, as you begin to cope with your loss, it’s often a good idea to enlist the help and support of a trusted friend in making the necessary arrangements.
No one wants to arrange one – and you will be concerned with them only at infrequent intervals in a life time.
Reason, then to know about funerals so as to act intelligently when you must make that purchase. What do you do when a friend, relative or neighbor becomes desperately ill? You probably telephone family and offer help with the children, prepare covered dishes for meals, send flowers to the sickroom or visit the hospital. You offer the gift of your presence and solace. When death strikes you can express your sympathy in much the same way. If you have ever face a death in the family or stood by a close friend in time of bereavement, you know the many decisions that must be made under great emotional strain. A sense of helplessness and loss confuses action. In the days of grief we may act in haste or turn to inexperienced but well meaning friends to make the necessary funeral arrangements. When someone turns to you in time of need, or you are suddenly faced with a death in the family you can be prepared. This booklet sets down the main points to be considered when selection a qualified funeral director and arranging the service.
Who Can Help?
What To Do?
Any death creates an emergency. You may find yourself in the midst of an emotional crisis. A Funeral Director must be called and he should be the one in whom you have complete confidence. This is NO time to allow even the most kindly friends, neighbours, clergymen, doctors, or nurses to call a Funeral Director without consulting you. Contact the Funeral Director of your choice and exercise your choice wisely. For so much depends on his ability to anticipate your needs and carry out your desire.
Coroner Or Medical Examiner
In the event a doctor was not attending the deceased, or if death was from violence or could have been the result of a criminal act, the Coroner or Medical Examiner must investigate the circumstances to determine the cause of death and to certify it to the proper authorities. The police have to be notified and they will get in touch with the proper authorities. If not, your Funeral Director can handle the situation. Regardless of how the death occurred neither the Coroner nor Medical Examiner has any authority to designate or in a way engage a Funeral Director for you. What they can do is recommend if you desire a Funeral Director. If it should be necessary that the body be temporarily removed t a mortuary, that establishment acts only until you have made you free choice of a Funeral Director. You have the sole right to choose your Funeral Director. No public official has any authority to interfere or intrude in this personal relationship.
Funeral Customs And Traditions
All religious aspects of the funeral should be discussed with your clergyman and determined in accord with his counsel, your Funeral Director should know the customs, traditions and teachings of your church. But he will not, nor should you expect him to presume to speak for your church or interpret its teaching. He works very closely with the clergy and always observes the principles that the clergyman must be in charge of all religious aspects of the funeral. One of your Funeral Director’s most important function is coordinating the practical consideration of the funeral with the proper religious expression.
What The Funeral Director Will Do For You!
There are a multitude of things to be remembered and accomplished in connection with a funeral. These are quite often different, for individuals needs and desires vary, so the following list is intended only to suggest some of those things which he may be able to do to help.
♣ Assist you in notifying your friends and relatives.
♣ Secure necessary burial permits and death certificates.
♣ Counsel with you regarding your funeral plans.
♣ Call the clergyman of your choice if you desire although your personal call to your clergyman is more appropriate arrange for hymn sheets to be printed.
♣ Assist you in arranging for a burial site or cremation. If you wish and will handle all details after your decision is made. Will assist you in completing Insurance claim forms.
♣ Will unless you prefer to do this personally call a list of friends and ask them to serve as pall bearers.
♣ If so desire meet or arrange t pick up family and relatives coming from abroad.
♣ If the deceased is to be sent abroad for burial the Funeral Director will make all necessary arrangements, not only for transportation but for the funeral service and burial at the destination.
♣ Will provide or arrange for certified copies of the death Certificate if you have need for them.
♣ Will refer you to your parish proper source of assistance if death resulted from an industrial accident.
♣ He will assist in every and any way to make this funeral your expression of your personal sense of the appropriate, within the teachings of your church and at a list that you determine to be proper.
If Death Occurs Away From Home
Such an occurrence is no longer the problem that it once was. Today you need only contact La Qua Brothers Funeral Home and they will be able to arrange all details for you in any locality across the continent and around the world. Your Funeral Director can serve as your agent to see that your wishes are carried out. He can have the deceased returned home for burial. There is no necessity for you to make a long trip deal with strangers or otherwise add to anxiety.
Burial Away From Home
La Qua Brothers can make all necessary arrangements for burial in a distant city. We can arrange all details for a funeral service to be held in that city, for the necessary cemetery space, and in fact, the transportation and all other requirements. It is not necessary for you to go to that city to complete arrangements you can place the burden of all necessary details in the hands of our funeral homes. You will find everything in order on your arrival or if it is impossible for you to be present at the burial you will be assured that your instructions will be followed.
Your Friends And The Public Are Interested
We should always remember that a funeral service is “a service for the living”. In a broad sense, this means that the ceremony is not for the family of the deceased alone. His memory also belongs to his friends and his associates. It does not seem kind to exclude them from participating in the funeral service. A “Private Service” tends to ignore long time friends. Remember, all that you have material or social, might not exist had it not been for your husband’s activities, friends and associates. There are exceptions, of course, but before making definite plans you should talk with your Clergyman and your Funeral Director.
Authorities on etiquette are agreed that a proper acknowledgment for a flora offering, mass cord, or donation to charity in memoriam is a personal note. In instances when the number of such acknowledgments would cause difficulty in the writing of personal notes, acknowledgments cards or folders, personally signed are quite acceptable. All notes of condolences should be answered personally and a note of appreciation should also be written to the clergyman, to each of the pall bearers and to anyone else who has been helpful in some special way. The offering to the clergyman is sometimes made by the Funeral Director and included in his bill for service. More often the offering is sent directly by the family together with a note of appreciation for the clergyman’s comfort and help.
After being signed by the attending physician, who also indicates the cause of death, the death certificates is filed with the Registry of Births and Deaths. The death certificate then becomes permanent legal record, as you may obtain certified copies of it upon request for a nominal charge. Such copies are required as proofs of death in settling insurance and other claims. Your Funeral Director shall be pleased to take the necessary steps to obtain as many certified or society copies as you wish. Just let him know you requirements.
The family should promptly notify the agents of all companies in which insurance is carried. They will provide the necessary claim forms. It is advisable to have your insurance agent examine all policies on the life of the deceased even those which may have lapsed seeking the possibility of extended coverage. It is also advisable to examine all policies on the lines of the survivors, and consider the necessity of making changes in beneficiary.
If the deceased left a will, probate action will be necessary and the service of a Lawyer may be required. In any case, the wills of all survivors, should be examined at this time to determine the necessity of any changes in their wishes in the light of this loss. When a person dies leaving property and without a will he is said to have died interstate. An Administrator for his estate is appointed by the High Court in Grenada, and his estate is distributed according to the Interstate Estate Ordinance. If he leaves a will he is said to have died in Testate and it is the duty of the executor named in the will with the Registrar of the High Court and proceeds with probate and distribution of the estate. All these matters will be dealt with by your Lawyer.
The disposition of property owned by the deceased during his life time might give rise to special problem which it would be well to consider with a view of avoiding legal complications. The following is a brief resume of the legal rules applicable to ownership of real and personal property.
In Grenada, the Survivor of a joint bank account can control the account automatically without any legal procedure. Bank accounts in the sole name of the deceased will require probate action. Your Bank or your Lawyer can advise you.
If the deceased was a taxpayer, the executor, or the next of kin must file a final income tax report before the fifteenth day of the fourth month following the close of the taxpayer’s normal tax year. The return for a decedent may also serve as a claim for refund of over paid taxes. As the surviving spouse, you may file a joint return for the year of death and may be entitled to similar tax savings for the following 2 years. If the deceased was a dependent, you are entitled to a full dependent’s exemption for the entire year. A child who lives only a few moments after birth qualifies for the full year’s dependency allowances. If the deceased was entitled to extra exemptions during life because of age or blindness, these extra exemptions are still applicable after death. We suggest you discuss this with your Lawyer.
Safety Deposit Box
There is an established procedure for gaining access to the deceased person’s safety deposit box. The first step usually is to contact the Bank or Safety Deposit Company where the box is located so that specific information may be obtained. The Bank will need to know whether the Box was rented in the deceased’s sole name or jointly with some other person, the date of death, interest of the person making the enquiry and whether the renter’s key is available.
If the deceased was a sole owner of an automobile it is regarded as a part of the estate. Inquire at the Inland Revenue Department and they will explain the regulations concerning transfer of the title and advise you regarding the possibility of transferring title to the Motor Vehicle with or without probate procedure.
It is not our intention, and we do not assume, to decide any legal questions involve in the administration of estate of a decedent, but we believe the foregoing will be helpful in directing you to the proper sources of information.
We have tried to provide here a brief summary of things you will need to know and to take care of during your time of bereavement. We sincerely hope that it will prove helpful to you and your loved ones.
We hope, too, that you would look upon our organization as your friend in need. Always available to serve you, and always happy to do anything in our power to make things easier for you in your time of Bereavement including arranging legal representation.