How does the same sex marriage ruling affect funeral arrangements?

submitted by Jason “Oz” Oszczakiewicz, Owner/Supervisor, Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home of Doylestown, Inc.

For many years, same sex couples were discriminated against when making arrangements for a partner who died because they did not share the same legal rights as a defined married couple in the United States. Partners could not sign off on authorizations, make plans for a burial or cremation arrangement, select merchandise, nor sign the contract unless the partner’s immediate family authorized them to do so at the funeral home.

Before this ruling, there were many times when a funeral home would be caught in the middle of a dispute over the right to control and would have to contact estranged family members to sign off on legal documentation to allow a partner the right to control the funeral.

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‘I would just like a simple cremation.’

submitted by Jason “Oz” Oszczakiewicz, Owner/Supervisor, Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home of Doylestown, Inc.

Many times families or individuals will contact a funeral home for a pre-arrangement or when a death occurs and state, “We just want a simple cremation.” What they may not be aware of, however, is that even though the services selected are more simplistic in nature, a family must still go over the same amount, or more, details than a traditional arrangement.

Funeral homes still must follow certain procedures. They must take custody of a loved one by transferring an individual from a place of passing. This requires a vehicle, a trained individual or more, special equipment to lift and transport a decedent and a licensed funeral facility to shelter an individual prior to cremation.

The funeral home must also have a physician sign a death certificate with a cause of death listed for state vital statistics. Once signed, the funeral home types the vital statistics onto the certificate and sends a copy to the Coroner’s Office in the county where the death occurred, excluding Philadelphia County. The coroner will approve the cause of death stated by the physician and issue a cremation permit to the funeral home.

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You should have your estate plan reviewed if…

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

Some people think that once they’ve written a will and implemented an estate plan, they can forget all about it. Of course, that’s not true; an estate plan must be reviewed periodically and updated, or it can become out-of-date and actually frustrate all your good intentions.

As a general rule, an estate plan should be reviewed at least every several years to make sure it still reflects your personal and financial situation, your wishes, and the current tax laws. But sometimes it’s good to look at an estate plan more often.

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Don’t let life get you steamed up

submitted by Gary Selleck, Owner, C and C Family Roofing

It always bothers me that I can’t use my mirror in the bathroom after a shower due to the steam on the glass. Even though I wipe off the fog it returns immediately. This process can go on a while until the temperature in the bathroom returns to room temperature.

That fog is called condensation. Under certain conditions, condensation can occur both inside and outside your house. Usually where it is most prevalent is on your windows.

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A chimney can add beauty to your home

submitted by Eric Andersen, Andersen Custom Stonework, andersencustomstonework.com

You might not think of your chimney as an item of beauty, but why not! Almost every home has one, but not all are very pretty.

The inside of your chimney is very important to keep clean, and structurally sound; but did you know that it can be just as important to maintain the outside of your chimney? Well it is! If your chimney is getting old and showing some surface cracking and chipping, this could be the early warning sign of what can turn into expensive repairs down the road.

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Can you be discharged from an Assisted Living facility?

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

Assisted Living facilities provide long-term or permanent care for residents. However, occasionally they are confronted with a situation, which requires them to discharge a resident or terminate the resident’s admission contract.

As a resident, you have rights, which protect you from being discharged without cause.

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A window into a different world

submitted by Gary Selleck, Owner, C and C Family Roofing

Do you remember when you were a kid and you were not allowed outside to play because it was raining? You would sit with your chin on the windowsill and dream about all the adventures you could be having. That small pane of glass separated you from a whole new world.

In a similar fashion skylights provide a glimpse into another world but without having to deal with weather conditions. So what happens when that skylight starts to let the outside world in?

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How divorce and remarriage affect Social Security benefits

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire, and Maureen L. Anderson, Esquire, www.GummerElderLaw.com

Many people are aware that seniors are entitled to collect Social Security benefits that are calculated based on their spouse’s work record. What’s less well-known is that this benefit applies in many cases to divorced spouses. In fact, ex-spouses may even be entitled to survivors benefits in certain circumstances.

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Trapped in a time warp?

submitted by Gary Selleck, Owner, C and C Family Roofing

Have you ever looked at your house and felt like you were living in the 70’s? Every house on the block has fresh vibrant new siding and yours is either old asbestos tiles or faded aluminum siding. Maybe it’s time for a home makeover. But what siding should you choose? Here are some siding options to get the mental juices flowing.

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The conversation

submitted by Jason “Oz” Oszczakiewicz, Owner/Supervisor, Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home of Doylestown, Inc.

Recently, a couple discussed their funeral arrangements with their children. And as is the case with many families, once the couple informed their children about their funeral arrangement decisions, their children didn’t want to hear any further discussion and the discussion was shut down. This denial is very common. The last thing you want to discuss with family members is your final demise and your wishes regarding funeral/cremation services and your assets, but it is one of the most important decisions a person/couple will ever make.

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