Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Planning Ahead

There was an Earthquake here in Los Angeles that occurred at 11:42 AM on Tuesday, July 29, 2008. Both my children were at their autism day camp while I was attending a Memorial the next town over. After the service I headed over to the camp to see how everyone handled the shake. My 13 year old was going to Round Table Pizza for lunch with them getting ready to leave the classroom. Turns out Nicholas never felt the rolling or jolt. Luckily the Earthquake did not stand in the way of the pizza lunch since Nicholas was so looking forward to it.

The talk for days was that of the pizza lunch and the Jurassic Fight Club series premiering on History Channel the same night. On the ride home I explained to Nicholas where I was during the Earthquake. This sparked an interesting dialogue where Nick asked me if he or his brother Matthew were to die would I have a Memorial for them. Nicholas wanted to know how I would know who to call to have a Memorial and how to take care of all that.

I explained to him about the Life Insurance Policies we all have and how my Brother in New Jersey is listed as the Beneficiary. We have always talked of living in California due to the Regional Center Services and how he either wants to work at the Los Angeles Zoo or Sea World. There are options in San Diego for Matthew if Nicholas prefers to head to San Diego in the future. There are Grants we can look into for the future.

The discussion on the way home involved my explaining Cremation in simple terms to my son. I told him this is the option my Father and Grandmother chose and the family complied with those wishes. I told him this is what I always wanted and I said I was thinking of a pre-pay plan that would be similar to making car payments. He seemed to think this was a good way to make sure we had the money to pay for such a service in the event of an untimely and sudden death.

When we got home I showed Nicholas the booklet from the Memorial and we visited the website written about the boy who passed away. Nicholas said it was very sad and he felt bad for the sister. I proceeded to search for some sites to learn more about planning for a cremation and what information I needed to know. There is a term known as TOD, meaning Transfer of Death account. This sample is for an Invididual, but they also have Joint transfer accounts.

The Cremation and Burial Society of San Diego has a list of questions for advance planning. KTLA has this article on planning your own funeral. At Kids Protection Plan you can prepare free legal documents and name Guardians for your children. I went through all the steps at the Cremation Society, picked a Plan with the final cost coming to $2017.00. I would need this for three people and there does not seem to be a plan available at that site. I suggest using Google for your search and including your city or State to find appropriate plans and services. There are even Guides for sale on Ebay.

Canadian Cremation Service

Forest Lawn Services

Funeral Prepay Plans in the UK

Funeral Consumers Alliance

Autism Tissue Program

Plan a Funeral Memorial Service

Bereavement/Funeral Leave

Bereavement Air Travel

This is an article I wrote after Hurricane Katrina. It is Essential Items for the Family. I include what we have in our Earthquake kits.


BookingAlong said...

I couldn't help comparing the costs to a traditional funeral. This was a very moving post, especially the honesty and the talks you had.

Trish said...

That's great you were able to have such an open discussion with him about it. We have been talking about putting together a special needs trust for when our son becomes an adult or if something should happen to us; that way his Medical Assistance and any other benefits would not be affected.

JillyFlorio said...

this is really thorough information that we all need to discuss with our families but often are too uncomfortable to touch. Thanks for this information.

Marla said...

Glad you were able to give your support at the memorial.

Sounds like you had a lot of intense talks!

hellokittiemama said...

I just "tagged" you on my blog with the Brilliante Weblog award :)
come to my site to retrieve it and pass it on!

tanyasavko said...

Great post with excellent discussion ideas and helpful links. Also wanted to say thanks for stopping by Teen Autism. Your bookmark idea is really great! Take care.

Angela said...

Isn't it wild how our kids focus n the details of 'how to pay' and the logistics of 'procedures' rather than the aspect of death itself? My son is always telling me, "you need to save your money" so you can take a vacation next year, pay bills etc. I keep telling him (he's 6) stop worrying about those details!

Maddy said...

It's that time of year. When the children go back to school the first week is always devoted to earthquake awareness [not particularly good timing for my guys as they have a difficult enough time transitioning to the new class..etc. without triggering the OCD!]
Best wishes

Mindy said...

Thank you for commenting on my Blog. :) It's through comments that I am able to find such amazing linkbacks to great sites like yours!

I found this post very touching. Conversations about death with children can be hard but the approach you took really impressed me. I think when the time comes and the questions are asked, I am going to follow a similiar structure. Open and honest and provide as much detail as possible as well as include as many visual aids as are available.

I think a lot of time we, as parents (or aunts in my case), tend to answer our kids questions with a simple one liner. I wonder what would have happened if my Mom or Dad had taken this same approach when I asked about certain things. It would have been especially cool to have so much information available at that age.

I also appreciate the links and info on cremation. I am definately going to check into the pre payment plans and see what all I would need to arrange should something happen.

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