Funeral Q & A Column

Consumer Advice Column on Funerals & Funeral Planning

Mike is available to write an advice type Question-and-Answer column for any newspaper, magazine, or other publication.  This column is like Q & A columns seen in newspapers throughout the country and may also include stories from readers.  He will answer selected questions from readers of the column and submit ready-to-print material to you for publication.  (See sample Q & A’s below.)

The demographics are right.  Baby Boomers are now at retirement age and often are caregivers for their aging relatives.  The elderly population is fast growing larger, and there is more and more information being made available for consumers regarding elder care, planning for retirement, financial planning and estate planning.  Why not  funeral planning ?

Mike can provide answers to questions along with other helpful information about funeral planning for both humans and pets to any publication once per month or as often as requested.  Please contact him at for more information.

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Below are two samples of previously published Q & A’s, available for reprint:

Q – What is anatomical donation and how is it arranged?

A – Anatomical donation (anatomical gift) is the donation of a body to a medical school for use in its teaching program. This type of donation can be arranged with the school in advance by the individual who plans to make the donation.

Some points of interest to those considering this option:

These facilities may not need any cadavers when it is time for donation, and therefore may refuse donation, necessitating a funeral arrangement on the family’s part.

There may be a charge to transport the body to the school, so be sure to confirm what charges there will be, if any, prior to anatomical donation.

At the time anatomical donation is arranged, the person may be in acceptable condition for school use, but then as time passes the body changes, possibly due to disease or illness, and the school may no longer want the donation.

Donation of individual body organs after death may be impossible if organ donation is desired, as the receiving school may not want the body if any organs, bone or skin have been removed and donated to other programs or if an autopsy is performed.

Cremation will probably be performed following the use of the body by the school, and the ashes will be sent to the family if so requested. There is normally no charge for this service.

Important– It may be a good idea to have a funeral plan as an alternate to anatomical donation in case the school does want the body or if a situation eliminates the possibility of donation.

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Q – If an individual owns cemetery property which includes an above-the-ground type marker, who is responsible to fix it if damaged by such things as vandalism, wind, flooding or other acts of nature?

A – Generally speaking if cemetery property, which could include a burial vault or grave marker either above the ground or flat, a crypt or a niche, is damaged by vandalism, the cemetery may repair the damage. If the same property is damaged by flood or other acts of nature, the individual property owner may be responsible for repairing the damage. A review of the contract or deed for the cemetery plot may explain what the cemetery will do if any of these events occur. If it is not in the contract, discuss it with the cemetery personnel to see what protection, if any, is provided by the facility.

In addition to this, a homeowner’s insurance policy may cover the type of occurrences described up to a limit of the total coverage less any deductibles which apply to that particular insurance policy. Look for a phrase within the policy worded something like this: “cemetery plots or burial vaults owned by an insured person.” This may indicate that coverage is included in a particular policy. If it is still not clear, contact the insurance carrier for more information.

Email your questions or stories to

© 2010 Mike Boyd

Funeral Planning Information From a Business/Financial Perspective