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Pre-need in the news

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In this week's news are yet more examples of why giving your money to a funeral home for a prepaid arrangement isn't usually a wise "investment."

In West Virginia, the attorney general has filed a lawsuit against owners of Galens-Harding Funeral Home, alleging that they filed false death claims for 108 still-living individuals who had pre-paid arrangements, in order to access the funds.

In Massachusetts, former funeral director Joseph O'Donnell was sentenced to prison for stealing from pre-paid funeral plans as well as stashing bodies meant to be cremated. 

Outright theft of your prepaid funeral money isn't the only problem. Most states allow funeral homes to pocket a portion of your prepaid funds instead of putting it all away in trust. Taking a commission off the top is like paying yourself today from tomorrow's profits. State laws that allow this encourage irresponsible business practices that threaten both consumers and the long-term health of funeral homes. 


Have the last word at your funeral

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If you had the chance, would you make an appearance at your own funeral?

A chance to say some last loving goodbyes to friends and family, perhaps. Or a chance to shame those who did you wrong, publicly. They'll be sorry!! (But seriously, please don't do this. We hear all too often from people who are using a loved one's funeral as an opportunity to hurt those family members with whom they have some beef.)

Whatever your motive for coming back from the dead to greet those who would send you off, AIM Holographics would like to make it possible. You can read about it at



Al Without vultures, fate of Parsi 'sky burials' is uncertain

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The near extinction of a species is leading to some unexpected consequences. A group of Parsi Irani Zoroastrians are forced to seek alternative methods of burial as the local vulture populations are depleted. The Parsis traditionally practice sky burial to dispose of their dead. The bodies of the dead are placed in the open air to be consumed by vultures and reduced to bones, but the disappearence of the scavengers means that the bodies are taking too long to decompose.

The birds fate may be directly connected to their diet. A relatively new drug commonly administered to cattle, Diclofenac, is possibly the cause of the decline. The deadly drug is injested along with cattle corpses, and when it was introduced to the area in the early 90s, the vultures disappeared.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 19 August 2015 15:41 )

Al Jazeera: Inside Japan's 'corpse hotels'

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In Japan, long lines at the crematorium and a shortage of space has lead many to check their dead in at a "corpse hotel". 

"You can see the deceased whenever you like in our hotel. Even when they are kept in a refrigerating room... you can call them up by pushing a switch". 





FCA Affiliate News--July 2015

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Howdy, friends and volunteer leaders! 

Answering phone queries from members and the public is one of the core duties at Funeral Consumers Alliance groups. It's also one of the very best ways to train all your board members on basic advice about funeral planning. Folks call us for all kinds of reasons: to save money on funerals, to find out which funeral homes have reasonable prices, to ask questions about legal requirements for cremation and burial.

Most FCA groups have one or two volunteers who return most of these calls. They quickly become experts (and indispensable). A better idea comes from the newly formed FCA of Greater Philadelphia. Their system rotates call-return duty. But what's really different about their approach is how they share the caller's query and the volunteer's response with everyone else on the board. 

Here's how:

1. Get a virtual, free phone number from Google Voice. Follow the instructions to set this number up.
2. Configure your Google Voice account to send notices of calls and transcriptions of calls to your FCA email account. According to our friends in Philadelphia, the transcriptions aren't perfect, but you can always simply listen to the voicemail. 
3. Forward the email notification and call detail to everyone  on your board. 
4. Whoever on your board has the most expertise with the question can then answer the caller's query. 
5. Report your answer by email back to the rest of your board. 

Over time you'll be developing knowledge among your whole board, rather than concentrating it in one crucial volunteer. Remember—you're not really "lucky" to have that one super competent phone volunteer if you don't also develop their skills in yourself and your colleagues. One day that volunteer will be gone, so spread the skills around. 

Save the date!
FCA's next national conference will take place June 23 through 26, 2016, in Atlanta. Check back for program and registration details!

 Membership Irrevocable

 memorialsocietiescoverimagememorialsocietiescoverimageWe're used to being treated with suspicion from the funeral industry, but it used to be a lot worse. Straight from 1966 to your screen, we bring you Memorial Societies. . .the sinister aspects of certain funeral associations advocating fast disposal. It's red-bait-o-licious! 

A sample:

Society Members - the Forgotten Men 

Once a member is hooked, he undergoes transformation from a wholesome, mature and rational prospect to expendable and disposable matter. Upon death, depending on the financial soundness of the co-op or private operator who holds the Society contract, he may be picked up, placed in a cardboard carton, carried to the crematorium in the back of a station wagon 

and forthrightly disposed of without even token participation of his family . Chances are, the family will not even get the ashes, unless by their special request.


<-----Those are the flames of hell in which we all burn because we like cremation and we're un-American. Just so you know. 





Last Updated ( Friday, 31 July 2015 15:34 )
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