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Preparing for the End of Life

"So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." ~ Psalm 90:12

A Note from John Maurer:

The information below gives some orderly and helpful directives for when a death has occurred in your family. These directives are meant only to assist in your time of loss. They are not legal directives. It is my hope that this information will be a form of encouragement and help for you and your family during this difficult time.

In Christ,

Click here to download this information.

What to do when a death occurs

1. Contact relatives
2. Locate deceased's letter of direction, prepaid funeral contract, insurance policy, and/or will.

information needed to file a death certificate
  • Full name of deceased
  • Occupation
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Residence address
  • Spouse's name (maiden name)
  • Father's name, mother's maiden name
  • Place of burial or disposition
  • Discharge papers (if veteran)
Steps to take to ease the burden of funeral planning prior to death

1. Advise your family and loved ones of your wishes by recording your wishes.
2. A spouse, next of kin, or legal representative generally can make arrangements for disposition of the deceased.
3. You may prearrange your service with your funeral director. A suggested order of service follows.

Family Processional
Scripture Reading
Special Music
Hymn of Faith
Family Recessional

available methods of disposition

Human remains can be buried, entombed, cremated, or donated for scientific study.

A family can bury its own dead on their private property without using a licensed funeral director. A statement of death and a death certificate are legally required. Generally, local ordinances or deed restrictions prohibit private burials within city limits. Check with local zoning authorities for applicable laws.

A body cannot be cremated immediately following death without a waiver. Texas law prohibits cremating any dead human body within 48 hours after death. The County Medical Examiner or a Justice of the Peace may waive this time requirement.

Cremated remains may be disposed of or kept in a number of ways.

  • privately scattered
  • interred in a cemetery
  • placed in a niche in a columbarium
  • kept by the family in their home
how to select a funeral director

If you need a funeral director, the reference of a relative or friend who has been served satisfactorily is one way to make a decision. The best way to know in advance whom you would select is to visit the funeral home, examine the facilities and ask about prices. Consider all alternatives and consult several different firms/organizations to compare costs. Be prepared to ask questions concerning all aspects of the funeral arrangements.

how to learn about funeral costs

Funeral establishments are required to give current retail price information by telephone. By law, any consumer entering an establishment and making inquiries must be presented a general price list, which the consumer may keep, itemizing the costs of funeral services and the merchandise for sale from a funeral director. These retail prices, appearing on a printed list, must specify at least the charges for the following items, provided they are available for purchase through the establishment:

1. Forwarding or receiving remains, to or from another funeral home and a list of services provided for the stated prices
2. The price range for direct cremations
3. The price range for immediate burial
4. Embalming
5. Other preparation of the body
6. Use of facilities and staff for viewing, funeral, memorial service, and/or graveside service
7. Hearses
8. Limousines
9. Caskets
10. Outer burial containers, such as vaults, grave liners, and boxes. Such outer enclosures are not required by law, but may be required by the cemetery.

important numbers to keep on hand
  • Trust & Estate Attorney
  • Funeral Director
  • Employer
  • Accountant/Tax Preparer
  • Investment Advisor
  • Life Insurance Agent
  • Bank(s)
  • Social Security Administration: 800.772.1213
  • Veteran Affairs: 800.827.1000

Psalm 23

1   The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2   He makes me lie down in green pastures.
     He leads me beside still waters.

3   He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4   Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for
     you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5   You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head
     with oil; my cup overflows.

6   Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in
     the house of the LORD forever.