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HOW to... Guide


Minnetonka • Wayzata

2 How To – Thursday, February 23, 2012 –

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How to...

choose a


It may be a gift to those you love

It was Ben Franklin who said nothing is certain but death and taxes. This article does not deal with taxes, but rather the other certainty in life. Everyone dies, so a discussion of funeral planning is never irrelevant. When someone we love dies, there are varying stages of anger, confusion and numbness. The funeral is one of the most significant means we have of dealing with grief. The funeral ritual helps us focus our emotions and brings a sense of meaning to death. It confirms the reality of death and provides a catalyst for mourners to talk about the deceased. Experts tell us being able to talk about the life of a deceased loved one is one of the first steps toward accepting death.

Prearranging your funeral Prearranging your funeral is not much different than any other planning you have carried out during your lifetime. You buy insurance in case of fire, flood, theft or death. These coverages are purchased as an act of love and responsibility for those you love in case an unfortunate incident occurs. A pre-planned funeral accomplishes the same goals. A preplanned funeral can prevent your family members from having to make a number of significant decisions at a time when they are confused and upset. They will have enough on their minds dealing with grief without having to make several important decisions in a very short period of time. Experts tell us that there are an average of 50 decisions to be made when arranging a funeral. Adding to the need for preplanning is the fact that our lifestyle is more complex in today’s world. Family members often live in different states, complicating rapid decision making. Further complications stem from frustrations that occur when dealing with government agencies in different states. A solid preplanning session can help prevent these complica-

tions which can loom very large during a time of pain and sorrow.

How to plan A call to a funeral director or a pre-arrangement specialist probably would be a good beginning in making sure you have covered all your bases in your planning. He or she can lead you through a process to ensure you don’t forget vital information in your plan. Some funeral directors and prearrangement specialists offer free booklets that provide a “punch list” of topics to think through and record your wishes. Topics in these guides include funeral details ranging from visitation to the memorial service and alternatives from burial, cremation or entombment. These are obvious decisions, but other important topics include categories that will provide a helping hand to your family. Additional topics include organizations to be notified with phone numbers, persons to be notified, medical history, estate information, banking information, real estate holdings and insurance policies. Many include obituary information outlines, personal property inventories and special instruction and information pages. There may also be information regarding the importance of your will and how to go about ensuring it is accurate and updated.

Prefunding your funeral Prefunding your funeral also is an important consideration. Your funeral director or prearrangement specialist can show you options which will waive your family from possible financial burden later. You may take out a life insurance policy which would cover funeral expenses, or invest in a funeral trust account or final expense insurance policy. In most cases, funds invested today would be enough to cover the total cost of the funeral since interest earned by the funds will offset the effect of inflation.

Government regulations safeguard your investment so funds will always be available for use. Another important part in your plan is to make sure your loved ones know where your recorded wishes can be found. Millions of dollars in government and insurance death benefits go unclaimed because family members do not know where to find information they need at the time of death. Some considerations that also need to remain in the forefront of the preplanning agenda: • Social Security: When a loved one dies, dependents and survivors may be eligible for certain benefits such as death payments, survivor’s benefits and Medicare. Qualifications depend on several factors such as age, marital status, number of dependent and whether employment was under Social Security. Your Social Security account should be verified periodically to ensure contributions are posted. All benefits must be applied for since payments are not automatic. • Veterans Benefits: Honorably discharged veterans are entitled to benefits that may affect decisions about funeral arrangements. For example, veterans may qualify for a cemetery plot and burial allowances, a headstone and burial flag, as well as pension for survivors. • Medicaid: Having a properly structured prepaid funeral is a very important reason why preplanning a funeral is imperative. If an individual has placed their funds into a prepaid funeral plans, after they have itemized a funeral pre-arrangement, the money would most likely be protected 100% from paying for any nursing home costs. In most cases they can also pay for burial space items for their immediate family members. Each persons situations is unique and laws change, however, most funeral directors and pre-arrangement specialists work closely with Elder Law Attorneys who keep them updated on current Medical Assistance laws. – Thursday, February 23, 2012 – How To

In the Community, With the Community, For the Community

29th & Johnson Street Northeast 612-781-6828

West 50th at Highway 100 • Edina 952-920-3996

4239 West Broadway • Robbinsdale 763-537-2333

Family Owned & Operated For Over 150 Years

41st & Central Ave. N.E. • Columbia Heights


Lowry at Irving Avenue North 612-529-9691

1400 Mainstreet • Hopkins 952-938-9020

2nd Street & Central Avenue Southeast 612-379-2368

23rd & Hennepin Avenue South 612-377-2203

Very Competitive Prices • Pre-Arrangement Services Traditional Services From $4,690* • Memorial Services From $2,195* Cremation Services From $1,395* • Rental Caskets • Cemeteries * Prices Subject To Change Without Notice & May Require Additional Fees. (Ask For Details.)

1838 E. Minnehaha Pkwy. at Cedar Ave. 612-721-1651

9940 Bush Lake. Rd. Dawn Valley (West Bloomington) 952-941-7686

W i l l i a m L . M c R e a v y, F. D. C y n t h i a M c R e a v y S e i t z W i l l i a m W. M c R e a v y, F. D. Kathleen B. McReavy

1827 N.W. Coon Rapids Blvd. • Coon Rapids 763-767-1000

Hwy. 5 & Mitchell Rd. • Eden Prairie 952-975-0400

Glen Haven • 5125 West Broadway • Crystal 763-533-8643

2300 W. Old Shakopee Rd. • Bloomington • 952-884-8145 NEW PRE-ARRANGEMENT CENTER: 763-231-0506

2600 19th Ave. N.E. 612-781-1999

Crystal Lake 3816 Penn Ave. N. 612-521-3677


4 How To – Thursday, February 23, 2012 –

In the Community, With the Community, For the Community

How to...

choose a PET BOARDING FACILITY When taking a trip away from home, leaving your pet behind can be stressful unless you have a trusted caretaker for Fido or Boots. With so many people owning pets and so many reputable boarding facilities, how would you know where to go? Friends and neighbors may not have the experience or time to properly look after your pet, particularly for longer trips. You will have peace of mind if you leave pet care to the professionals, such as a pet sitter or boarding facility. A number of boarding facilities in the Twin Cities offer a variety of services that can reflect budget and luxury. It can be as simple as a pet staying in a caged area with breaks for food and walks. There is also overnight boarding and day care, plus grooming and training services available. To find a boarding place for your pet ask a friend, neighbor, veterinarian, animal shelter or dog trainer for a recommendation. Once you have names, it is important to do a little background check. Most importantly, make an appointment to take a complete tour of the facility. Be wary if they are not willing to show you the entire facility. Make sure the kennel you are considering displays a license or certificate showing that the kennel meets mandated standards. Check with your Better Business Bureau to see whether any complaints have been lodged against a kennel you are considering. The phone directory and internet provides lists of local boarding kennels, many including star ratings and reviews.

Some boarding places offer reward programs, giving discounts, incentives and coupons for usage. Some offer shuttle service and express check-in and out. On your visit, ask to see all the places your pet may be taken. Pay particular attention to the following: Does the facility look and smell clean? Is there sufficient ventilation and light? Is a comfortable temperature maintained? Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring? Does the facility have an effective communication system in place, such as radio transmitters, to handle possible emergency situations. Ask if pets are required to be current on their vaccinations. How often are pets fed? Can the owner bring a pet’s special food? What veterinary services are available? Are other services available such as grooming, training and bathing? How are rates calculated? Inquire about the play areas. Are they indoor or outdoor and are they climate controlled? How much interaction would your pet have with other pets? Are they put in the company of other dogs with similar temperament for healthy socialization? Ask if your pet will have the opportunity to socialize and play with dogs of like temperament and size in the doggy daycare setting while they are being boarded for an extended stay. Many boarding facilities offer private rooms, featuring air conditioning and TV. Some offer community living room style lodging where animals can feel at home. Some animals may do better in this situation especially if they have never been boarded before, have not done well in a boarding situation, have separation anxi-

ety or may be too energetic to be contained in a kennel. Your pet’s activity level may help you determine which kennel you select. The standard kennel options include three or four outside exercise periods each day of the stay. Some premium services offer several hours of play with other dogs and kennel staff. Grooming services can also include tooth brushing, manicures, ear cleaning, fur cutting and styling, de-matting, deshedding treatment and scrubs in mineral mud, salt and sugar. Boarding facilities have gone high tech with the use of a webcam so owners feel more connected when away. It's also a good idea to accustom your pet to longer kennel stays by first boarding her during a short trip, such as a weekend excursion. This allows you to work out any problems before boarding your pet for an extended period. While individual amenities may vary for each pet, the right kennel is the one where you feel confident your pet is in good hands.

In the Community, With the Community, For the Community – Thursday, February 23, 2012 – How To

Ginger’s life at ADOGO includes boarding, daycare and an occasional bath & blowdry! ADOGO CUSTOMER PROFILE Name: Ginger Breed: Labrador Retriever Favorite Service: Room Service while Boarding Owner’s Comment:“Ginger loves getting the extra treat during her room service dinner that we asked the ADOGO team to give her. Our favorite part is watching Ginger on ADOGO’s webcam playing with all of the other dogs. It is also nice to pick her up smelling good and looking great after getting groomed.” –Michelle, Eden Prairie, MN


952.933.5200 • Highway 62 & Baker Road • Right off 494 in Minnetonka, MN


6 How To – Thursday, February 23, 2012 –

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How to...



Those who are looking to a bathroom makeover without high expense and hassle should consider a bathtub liner and wall surround. These liners and surrounds fit over your existing tub and walls for a quick and affordable remodel. Replacing bathroom tile, and the tub or shower are some of the most common bath remodeling projects, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. However, these projects can be costly. A basic remodeling job includes replacing the tub, removing tiles and plumbing, possibly costing $6,000 to $8,000. The average remodeling job is more extensive, and costs close to $10,000, according to the National Association of Realtors. These remodel projects can take weeks to complete, depending on how extensive the project is. Choosing a tub liner and wall surround can be a less expensive alternative. For example, a tub liner and wall surround can be installed in one day, with complete systems starting at $2,800.

What to look for

Find a reputable company

When shopping for a bathtub liner and wall surround, ask the company many questions. How do you determine which type of tub I have? How is the liner installed? Are the walls seamless? Some wall surrounds cover the walls in one piece with no seams; others will have multiple panels with seams in the corners. Are you the manufacturer or a distributor? When required, do you use a licensed plumber?

Are the installers properly trained? Installers should be trained in the installation of tub liners and wall surrounds, not windows, gutters or siding. Ask what kind of product training is involved. Are they using employees or subcontractors? Make sure you feel comfortable allowing this company to work in your home. The company should be there for you after the installation. What type of warranty do they offer? Ask your company for references, call these past clients, and ask them if they were satisfied with their service and if they would hire that company again. Finally, check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints or suits filed against the companies you are considering.

Is your bathroom ready? Never install a tub liner or wall surround over a degraded bath or shower area. Installing a wall surround over a wall that is rotting or missing tile will only worsen current conditions, necessitating a major remodeling overhaul in the future. Any damage should be evaluated and repaired prior to installation of the tub liner and wall surround. – Thursday, February 23, 2012 – How To

In the Community, With the Community, For the Community


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8 How To – Thursday, February 23, 2012 –

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