We all want to know that our loved ones will be safe, secure and happy after we die – but one woman has taken her preparations one step further. A mother-of-five has created a clever ‘fearless folder’ so her family will know exactly what to do if she gets seriously injured or dies unexpectedly. She prepared a fireproof safe, which includes documents and her ‘fearless answers’ to a series of ‘important questions that would be asked’ if she were to die. ‘It’s about preparing for the worst so your family is financially protected. You can be perfectly healthy one minute, then be incapacitated the next,’ she said.

She used a checklist to make sure she had included everything her husband and children would need. The ‘fearless answers’ include, ‘who will raise our kids if we both die?’, ‘at what age should the kids receive inheritance’ and ‘what are my funeral wishes’. Inside the safe, she included both her and husband’s wills, power of attorney, marriage certificate, birth certificates, property paperwork and their passports.

She also included instructions for her funeral, such as the kind of memorial she wanted and details of her accountant, solicitor and financial planner. She included her net worth and details about her life insurance policy and income protection. She also put together the ‘big list’, which includes her social media, bank accounts and login details. ‘Last year I had a fall where I broke my wrist. I slipped on water on the bathroom floor and landed hard enough on it to need surgery and a plate to repair it,’ . ‘I am fine now, and was very lucky I didn’t bang my head, but it hit home how quickly things can change. ‘This begs the question, what happens to my family if something serious were to happen to me? ‘In the case of my broken wrist, our income was seriously impacted as my husband had to take time off work to look after the kids, fortunately only for a fairly short period of time while my wrist healed.

‘I’m the main financial organiser in my family, if anything happened to me, figuring out all this stuff would be very tough for my husband, and sorting out a financial nightmare is the last thing a grieving person needs.’ She also wrote letters to her husband and five children. ‘Just in case my death was sudden, so I have a chance to tell them how much I love them and how special they are to me,’ she explained. Death is something that most of us like to ignore completely, but getting organised before it’s too late could be an enormous help for the people who depend on you.

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Christmas Can be Tough when Grieving

The holiday season can be incredibly difficult for those who are coping with grief over Christmas. Your loss doesn’t have to be recent for you to feel the pain of grief. Whether you have just recently lost your loved one, or it happened years ago, during special occasions it is common to feel the pain of loss more.

Expected or not, whether the person was young, old or unborn, it is perfectly normal to grieve your loss. Mourning can be felt in a variety of ways.

Coping with grief over Christmas can make you feel the loss more. This is due to the emphasis on family and friends over the Christmas period. You are likely to feel the missing piece of your puzzle at this time especially.

Turn down invitations if you need to

You need time to yourself sometimes.

If you are not feeling up to going out, allow yourself time for yourself if needed. Your caring family and friends may be making a conscious effort to keep you busy over the festive period as a way of offering support. Although it is good to be around people close to you when mourning, multiple invitations can be overwhelming and just too much to handle. Allow yourself time to feel your emotions and don’t over do it trying to please others. If you don’t feel up to the celebrations, you could suggest an alternative that is less distressing.

It is suggested to spend time with people over the festive season and ensure that you are not isolated all of the time. If old Christmas traditions are too painful for you, you could make new ones. In addition, if a certain location triggers painful memories, arrange an alternative. Self-care is essential so don’t be afraid to have your say if you are struggling.

Make sure that you don’t feel obligated to share your reasoning’s with people. Sometimes having to explain your reasons for not participating can upset you more. Simply say that you don’t feel comfortable and people will understand and arrange an alternative. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Honour your loved one’s memory

Celebrate the memories that you have with your loved one and the life that they lived. There are many ways in which you can do this:

Toast to your loved one

The festive time is filled with family and friends coming together so having a toast to your loved one helps you to feel that they are still a part of the occasion and shows that their memory will never be forgotten.

Have a photograph and candle set up in their memory

A great way to commemorate a loved one, when coping with grief over Christmas, is to set up a memorial on the day to show respect for them. This can be done by placing their photo near a festive decoration or candle so that you still feel they are with you on Christmas.

Hanging a Christmas ornament for them

Another way of coping with grief over Christmas would be to hang a special bauble or Christmas decoration in their memory. This can be a hand-me-down bauble or their favourite one. Additionally, you can get personalised ones made with quotes that are close to you or a lyric from their favourite song. You may also choose to add their picture to the ornament for a personal touch.

Make their favourite food or use one of their old recipes

If your loved one had a favourite food, make it and enjoy their favourite meal in their memory. This will help to stimulate fond memories and add a personal touch to your Christmas. Additionally, you could make a recipe that they created so that their creations are continued.

Host a get-together

Gather your friends and family and share the memories that you had with the loved one. You can all have a laugh over your times together and remember the good times that you had.

Have a moment of silence for them

You can have a moment of silence for your loved one to take time to show that you are thinking about them during the festive time. The perfect time to do this is before tucking into your Christmas dinner as the whole family will be together, supporting each other.

Create a post on social media

As technology is advancing, so are digital posts in memory of someone. Many find solace in posting some pictures of their loved ones lost, during happy occasions. This allows you to write your feelings down and open up about their memory with them.

Always be careful when on social media as it can be deceiving. Try not to compare yourself to others during this difficult time as images and posting on the web can be inaccurate portrayals of how the person behind the screen is feeling/coping. Make sure that you make time for the people around you.

Online communities

There are many online groups and communities that you can join to help share your feelings and thoughts. This can vary from sharing feelings and opening up, to adding relatable quotes, poems and memorial ideas. Opening up about your struggles and feelings with people going through a similar experience may help you to feel less isolated. Here is a link to a helpful bereavement forum.

 

Be patient

Finally, the most important step is to be patient and allow yourself time to grieve your loss. No matter how you lost your loved one or the circumstance of the loss, your feelings are completely valid and you should allow yourself time to heal and celebrate the life lived. During special occasions, missing a piece of your family/friend group is incredibly noticeable and you are more likely to feel the loss. This is especially the case at Christmas as it’s a time for families and friends to come together. When coping with grief over Christmas, be patient, don’t isolate yourself and let your feelings out.

 

For more helpful advice on what to do when someone dies, take a look at our blog page here.

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Could it be possible that a deceased loved one is leaving gifts for you? Maybe you came across something that reminded you of them and it seemed like more than just a coincidence. What do these signs from someone who has passed mean?

FEATHERS

Feathers, of any colour can be a gift that your deceased loved one is sending you. The wings of birds are nearer to heaven than we can be and your deceased loved one may be using them as messengers.

When a feather is in your path, look up, think of your loved one and speak their name aloud if you dare. Your deceased loved one is sending you this gift to remind you that they are still watching over you.

SHELLS

Sea shells out of their ordinary place near the beach are as uncommon as it is for someone to communicate with the dead. When you see shells in your path or when you aren’t expecting them, this could be a gift that your loved one is sending.

PENNIES

The phrase “pennies from heaven” is based on the belief that some people that have found a penny is actually a message from a deceased loved one. Psychic medium Amanda Linette Meder says that pennies  mean that you are valuable, loved and being watched over by your deceased loved one.

WORDS

Graffiti, a shop sign, a street sign, or an advertisement can speak to you when you aren’t expecting it. The word or words that you see immediately make you think of your deceased loved one.

Signs like these words are a gift from your loved one that is being sent to you as a sign of action that you may need to take. Your loved one is looking out for you and may try to get you to go in a certain direction, literally.

If it was a street sign, go ahead and turn down this road and see where it leads. If it was a shop, go in. See what your deceased loved one was trying to send you.

BUTTERFLIES, BEES, DRAGONFLIES OR HUMMINGBIRDS

The lovely, hovering wings of nature are a gift to the eyes when we see them but they also could be a message from your loved one. Angels are the messengers of God but these smaller creatures send messages for the deceased.

When you see them, think of your loved one for a moment. By making that mental connection, you are receptive to the message that they are sending you. Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions to uncover the message that is meant for you.

MUSIC

Hearing a song that reminds you of your deceased loved one is common, but when there is no explanation for the song, it is a sign from your deceased loved one. Music usually has associations with a time and a place. Your loved one is sending you the gift of this memory of them.

DREAMS

Most of us dream but when you have a dream that reminds you of someone that has passed, it is a gift that your loved one is sending you. Try to interpret the meaning and look for other signs to guide you.

ORBS IN PHOTOS

Was there dust on your lens or was it a sign from your deceased loved one? Check your camera but if there’s nothing there, this is your loved one being near and protecting you.

BODY DOUBLE

If you think that you have spotted your loved one, approach and find out that it wasn’t them of course, it is a message from your deceased loved one. The message from your loved one is simply a gift of love and fond remembrance of their time here with you.

NUMBERS

A deceased loved one is sending you a message when you see either repeating numbers or numbers with special meaning to them, like their birth date. The meaning of this gift can vary, depending on the numeral.

Family Notice

BRODIE

Originally printed on March 17, 2016 in the Hull Daily Mail.
Viewed by 16 Visitors.

BRODIE Geoffrey Ralph Age 68 years. Passed away on 13th March 2016 in Scunthorpe General Hospital. Born on Beverley Road in Hull. Loving Husband of Elizabeth. “There you are love, I put you in the Daily Mail. It’s what you wanted”. Life will never be the same without you. Funeral to be held on Tuesday 22nd March at 12.45p.m. at Respect Green Burial Park, Dring Lane, Laughton, Lincs. All enquiries: Respect Direct Funeral Services. 01427 612992

Are you ready for your digital afterlife?

Are you prepared for your digital afterlife? It’s a more important question than you might think. End of life planning used to be all about “things”. The most important decisions that we needed to make were how to organise our funeral, what to do with our assets and how to prevent legal issues after our passing. Today, much of our life is spent online and, as a result, some of our most important assets are digital. Our photos are digital, our social connections are maintained through Facebook and our email accounts maintain a written record of our lives “in the cloud”. So, this raises an important question: what happens to our online “self” after we die?

If this still seems like a trivial question, think about the following scenarios. What would you like to have happen to your Facebook account after you die? Would it give your family comfort to be able to see a record of your life online? Or, would this cause them emotional pain? Would you like your family to be able to access your email accounts? All of us have secrets. Would you be prepared for your family to know all of yours? If so, who should have access? What about your digital pictures? Would you like your family to have access to them?

It might surprise you to know that not all companies handle this process the same way. Facebook recently added an option for family members to request the creation of a “memorial page” from your personal Facebook page. Some email providers routinely grant access to the accounts of deceased family members, while others make the process extremely difficult. It’s best to be prepared. Even taking the simple step of preparing a list of accounts and passwords that you want your family to have can reduce a great deal of stress

For more information please follow the link:

http://sixtyandme.com/are-you-ready-for-your-digital-afterlife

Jeremy Clarkson …………….

My mum’s final act of love was to throw all her stuff into a skip

Right in the middle of all that brouhaha abut sloping bridges and Eeny Meeny Miny Moe my mum died.

So there I was, in Russia in the middle of a Top Gear tour, trying to organise her funeral and tell the children and sort out the legal stuff, with the BBC moaning at me in one ear and a reporter twittering on in the other, and I knew that if I wept, which is what I wanted to do, because I was very close to my mother, the Daily Mirror would run pictures and claim they were tears of shame.  It was a gruesome time.

And I knew that when I came home the BBC would still be bleating and the reporters would still be calling and I’d have to go to her house and start sorting through her things.  And where do you start with a job like that?  Where did she keep her pension details, the deeds to her house, the insurance certificates?  How do you cancel a Sky subscription?  Did she have any shares? Premium bonds? And how do you find out if you haven’t got a sister who’s a lawyer?

Luckily, I do have a sister who’s a lawyer, but even though she could handle the paperwork, I’d still have to go through my mum’s things, and that would be a nightmare because I’m such a sentimental old sausage I even find it difficult to throw away an empty packet of fags.  I think of the fun I’ve had smoking them and the people I’ve shared them with and I want to hold on to the wrapping as a keepsake, a reminder of happy times.

So what in God’s name would it be like in my mum’s house, surrounded by everything that made it hers, except her? And there’d be all those childhood memories.  At some point it would be inevitable I’d find the egg cup I’d used every morning as a child and the cereal bowl with rabbits on it.  That would tear my heart out.

At one stage I received a call from a middle-ranking BBC wallah saying they’d had a letter from some MPs, asking if I was going to be sacked and I really wasn’t paying much attention because I was wondering what on earth I’d do with the mildly fire-damaged Dralon chair that my dad had bought for £4 in 1972.

Even by the standards of the time it was a truly hideous piece of furniture and the years had not been kind to it.  Any normal person would give it to charity or use it as firewood.  But it was the chair my dad used to sit in.  It had a cigarette burn in the arm from the time when he’d nodded off while smoking   I couldn’t possibly give it away or burn it.  And I sure as hell didn’t want it in my house.  So what would I do?

There is no single thing in the house of anyone’s mother that isn’t infused with a gut-wrenching air of sentimentality.  It’s not just her jewellery or her clothes.  It’s the little things as well.  Her kitchen scissors, her bathroom scales, her flannel.  Every single thing in each and every drawer is as impossible to discard as a first teddy bear.

I would need a very big lorry to handle all the stuff I’d need to bring home.  I’d also need at least two months to go through it all.  And I’d need about 4,000 boxes of Kleenex.

However, here’s the thing.  My mum did not die unexpectedly.  She’d known for some time that the cancer was winning and had therefore had time to put her affairs in order.  A job she had undertaken with some gusto.

I’d always assume that “putting your affairs in order” meant writing a will and remembering to reclaim your lawnmower from the chap at No. 42.  But in the weeks since my mum’s death I’ve learnt that actually there’s a lot more to it than that.

First of all, she had left many helpful instructions about what sort of funeral she wanted.  No friends. No flowers and no mention of God or the baby Jesus.  My sister and I didn’t even have to guess what music she would have liked because she’d told us: Thank you for the Music by Abba.

All the financial stuff was in a neat box with everything clearly labelled. And she hadn’t stopped there.  Before she became too weak, she’d had a massive clear-out.  Pretty much everything she owned had been thrown into a skip.  “It’ll save you the bother when I’m dead” she had said.

But by far and away the best thing she did in those last few months was to sort out a lifetime of photographs, putting the ones that mattered into albums and crucially, writing captions.  So now I know that the time faded sepia image of stern looking woman in a nasty hat is my great aunt and that the blurred picture of what might be a corgi was my granddad’s dog.

Ordinarily I’d have thrown away the endless pictures of what appear to be a building site, but thanks to my mum’s diligence I now know it was the house in which I was born and how it had looked when she and my dad bought it in 1957.

I don’t know how long she had worked on her downsizing and the clear-out and the organisation of her things but it’s something we should all try to do when we know the Grim Reaper is heading our way.  Because not only does it spare our loved ones from the hassle of going through every single thing we’ve ever owned but also it spares them from the grief of deciding that the horse brasses and the Lladro figurines really do have to go to the tip.

The only trouble is that there’s one thing my mum did not sort out.  Back in 1971 she made by sister and me two Paddington Bears.  They were the start of what became a very successful business and they were very precious but over the years one was lost.

I maintain the sole survivor is mine. My sister insists it’s hers and she’s the lawyer… so I have the cereal bowl with the rabbits on it, and the Dralon chair.

Re printed from the Sunday Times Published: 8 June 2014

Are you eligible to make a claim towards the cost of the Funeral?

If you are on a low income and you feel you may be eligible for help with paying for the Funeral you could get a Funeral Payment Benefit from the Government.  The payment is to help pay for the funeral and is recoverable from the deceased’s estate if they have left one.  This includes insurance plans or the sale of any assets.

To claim the Funeral Payment you must be the one responsible for the Funeral

You must apply to the Government within three months of the funeral.  How much you get depends on any monies available from Insurance plans and the deceased’s estate.

Rules on your relationship with the deceased

You must be one of the following:

  • The partner of the deceased when they died
  • A close relative or close friend of the deceased
  • The parent of a baby stillborn after 24 weeks of pregnancy
  • The parent of the deceased child, if they were under 16 (or under 20 and not in full-time education)

Benefits and tax credits

You, or your partner must get one of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Universal credit
  • the disability or severe disability element of Working Tax Credit

For more information go to the following link:  https://www.gov.uk/funeral-payments/overview.html

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Client Testimonials.

May I take this opportunity to thank you and Alison for everything you have done to help us through this difficult time. We have found the perfect place for *******- everything he loved in close proximity. I have been up to Laughton several times since Friday and each time I find it comforting. I can sit on his bench and chat to him in peace and quiet.

BP, Burton on Stather

Thank you for the photo’s, they are just what I needed, thank you once again for being so kind and thoughtful, it help a lot on such a sad occasion

K&H, W of Doncaster

Thank you for the photos of Geoff’s bird box & bench, it looks really peaceful. Thanks and regards F C

F C, Knottingley

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