Q. My aunt, who had no children, died and left everything (including a condo in Miami) to my cousins and myself. My cousins have almost come to blows over whether to sell the place or use it for vacations and share expenses. How can people resolve such issues?
Unless there is a later memorial service, a death in the family usually requires quick decisions about everything from the location of the funeral to the…Continue
Q. I'm struggling to write a condolence note to the wife of a very close colleague of my late husband. I knew the man well and cared about him. He was a genius in his way, but sort of a lost soul who also had serious health problems. I never met his widow. They married after I'd lost…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on March 30, 2015 at 11:28am — No Comments
Q. I've seen mausoleums in cemeteries and always assumed they are exclusively for the rich and famous. I was recently told that isn't true – that they aren't necessarily hugely expensive. What are the options today, and how much does a mausoleum…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on February 20, 2015 at 11:00am — No Comments
Q. I’m debating whether to send flowers to a client whose father died or to make a contribution in memory of the person. In the latter case, how can I be sure the client will be notified of the donation? I’ve never done this before.…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on January 30, 2015 at 12:09pm — No Comments
Q. I’m preparing an obituary in advance for my elderly father and want to include a photograph. How much extra does a photo cost, and what are the guidelines? Also, what do you think about using a photo from 40 years ago when he was healthy and…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on December 31, 2014 at 11:30am — No Comments
Q. I recently spotted an acquaintance walking down the street and ducked into a store. His wife had died, and I didn't want him to see me because I didn't know what to say. I felt like a coward. Why is it so difficult to talk to someone in this…Continue
Q. When a dear friend died several months ago, many of her friends (including me) had no idea what had happened. She lived abroad (alone), but stayed in touch — until she didn’t. It was as if she had vanished. We were left in limbo with so many unanswered questions. We…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on October 21, 2014 at 2:11pm — No Comments
Q. Do I have to wear a dark suit and tie to my uncle’s funeral? My significant other says I should, but I want to wear a nice collared shirt and khakis. It seems to me everybody’s more casual these days. What’s your opinion?…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on September 17, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments
Q. My neighbor's elder sister died and I will be attending the funeral. I've met the sister a few times over the years, but I don't know much about their relationship. What should I say at a time like this?
The loss of an…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on September 4, 2014 at 9:00am — No Comments
Q. My co-worker was in the middle of a messy divorce when her soon-to-be ex-husband died of a sudden heart attack. She has a 4-year-old son. My question is should I send a condolence note – and if I should, what can I say? It’s such a complex situation and I don’t want to write anything inappropriate.
“Complex” is certainly the right word. In your place,…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on July 28, 2014 at 2:25pm — No Comments
Q. A friend of mine, who is planning her mother’s funeral, mentioned working with the funeral home on “the order of service.” I’ve never heard this term before. What exactly is the order of service?
I’ve had to plan three different funerals myself, and never heard of it either. Now I’m enlightened, thanks to your question. The order of service is essentially a program of how a funeral or memorial service will proceed. The order of service may be a printed guide for…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on June 20, 2014 at 2:20pm — No Comments
Added by Florence Isaacs on May 27, 2014 at 9:30am — No Comments
Q. My friend’s father just died unexpectedly, which left the family scrambling to write an obituary for him. Their experience made me think about writing an obit for my own 75-year-old father now – while I have the time and composure. If I do it now, I can also…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on April 17, 2014 at 11:00am — No Comments
Added by Florence Isaacs on March 18, 2014 at 1:30pm — No Comments
Q. Can you have a funeral followed by a memorial service at a later date for the same loved one? I want a memorial service for my father on what would have been his birthday, although the funeral was eight months ago. Would it be appropriate? Will it make people…Continue
Q. My brother is now in hospice care, and I will be in charge of the funeral arrangements. Am I entitled to bereavement leave from my employer?
You probably are if you live in Oregon. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, Oregon became the first state to require employers with 25 or more employees that are subject to the Oregon Family Leave Act to…Continue
Q. During a recent funeral, I overheard someone tell the adopted son of the deceased, “Well, at least it’s easier for you that he wasn’t your real father.” How can people be so insensitive? The son was speechless.…Continue
Q. What can I say or write to someone whose brother just died of AIDS? I haven’t heard much about AIDS in recent years, except for newspaper stories about epidemics in Africa. I thought people were living with it in the United States — that it was treatable. Also, I don’t know the circumstances. Is it OK to ask questions?
You’re right. Huge progress has been made in…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on December 1, 2013 at 6:30am — No Comments
Q. My co-worker’s husband just died, and I’m at a loss for what to write in a sympathy note. She and I are friendly – occasionally we have lunch together with a group of other associates – but we’re not close friends. What should I say?
The death of a spouse (or life partner) is an extraordinarily complicated loss that turns a widow’s life upside down. She loses a…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on November 26, 2013 at 9:30am — No Comments
Q. Are there any guidelines about mentioning survivors in an obituary? Should an ex-spouse of the deceased be listed — and if so, what wording should be used? How about step-parents and step-siblings, or in-laws?
Most of us think of “survivors” as closest kin, but that leaves a lot of leeway in these days of blended families and serial marriages. In practice, a survivor can be anyone the grieving family says he/she is, and it can get very…Continue
Added by Florence Isaacs on September 23, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments