We plan and direct almost every event in our lives, yet typically ignore the culminating event - our dying and the preparation for it. By planning in advance, and discussing with loved ones what is truly wanted after death, we make our religious, cultural and emotional wishes known in a thoughtful manner. This creates peace of mind, and may ease the trauma for others deciding potentially expensive issues at a time of emotional crises.
In Washington State you have the authority under RCW 68.50.160 to determine the disposition of your own remains, and HMW encourages all adults to answer the fundamental question of whether or not they want their body cremated, buried (interred) or donated to medical science. The form in the sheet protector controls being cremated or buried.
• Complete and sign the Body Disposition Authorization Prior to Death form in the sheet protector at the end of this section. If choosing cremation, file the original with the crematory or funeral home of your choice, and make copies for yourself, spouse and/or children.
Your survivors should have the information necessary for a Death Certificate, which must be submitted within 72 hours of death. The Vital Information for a Death Certificate on the initial pages, once answered, may easily be removed from the HMW guidebook and provided to the crematory, funeral home or person completing the Death Certificate. It is possible for next of kin, with a physician’s determination of death, to obtain a Death Certificate on their own.
Pre-Planning for your Funeral and/or Memorial Service:
It will be important for family and friends to add their own touches to create a meaningful and appropriate ceremony celebrating your life, but your input in advance will likely make many decisions easier. Oftentimes with the emotional issues surrounding death, it is difficult to be wise consumers, to check different options or to weigh the value of services versus cost. Giving thought to your different options in advance, checking prices and comparing the services of various crematories and/or funeral homes can provide your loved ones with very helpful information. At the time of printing, prices in western Washington begin at $450 for cremation and $950 for body burial, depending on crematory and/or funeral home chosen, services and choice of containers. Charges for plots and services for churches, halls and/or cemeteries are separate, and vary considerably between public, private or religious facilities.
I was introduced to the Honor My Wishes guidebook when a friend from Enumclaw shared it with me. I was impressed with how comprehensive the information was. I used my Honor My Wishes book to start the end of life discussions with my own family. I am a member of the Board of Directors for Willamette Valley Hospice, Salem, Oregon. Our non-profit hospice works every day to help families deal with end of life issues. I shared several copies with the Director of Willamette Valley Hospice for their staff to identify families who can use Honor My Wishes. I want to thank the organization that did the
Patricia P. L. Salem, Oregon