Here is an info graphic to better explain what a death certificate is, how do you get them, and who needs one.
Who is Heritage Cremation Provider and how do they operate?
Heritage (also known as Legacy Funeral Service) are NOT licensed funeral directors or even a funeral home or crematory in Pennsylvania. They are registered in Colorado which is the only state that does NOT require a funeral home or a funeral director to have a license. (Which means anyone can open a funeral home in Colorado with no training or education.) They handle the inquiry from a family and coordinate cremation services by doing trade services through Pennsylvania funeral homes. Their pricing is misleading and there are many complaints in which families are quoted a lower price and then asked to pay a much higher final price. The worst part is that they NEVER handle the deceased’s body.
Don’t take my word for it, Here are the complaints and legal actions.
The company has had so many complaints about its level of service that the the Better Business Bureau has ranked it as a grade D.
And the two men behind the company???
Anthony Joseph (A.J.) Damiano and Joseph Damiano have been personally in trouble.
We are not at all like Heritage.
We are fully licensed as a facility in Pa. Our staff is fully licensed, certified and educated. We handle each cremation in our privately owned crematory and make our own transfers. Should a family have a death in an area outside of the range our personal staff can handle, we use only vetted licensed staff in that area to handle your loved one. Ultimately your loved one will be brought to our facility.
License numbers for verification: Corey Strauch FD and Supervisor FD015100 & FS015100, our facility FP00218
It is somewhat of a misconception that the Department of Veterans Affairs will pay for the funeral of a veteran. In actuality, the closest they come to paying for the full funeral is in the case of an active duty serviceman’s death in the line of duty. What we will cover here is a simplified list of the benefits available from the VA to a veteran.
A. Any veteran having any active or reserve duty service and having been discharged from service, other than a dishonorable discharge, is entitled to: A flag, flag folding team, and a cemetery flag holder
B. Any veteran having served at least 2 years active duty is entitled to the benefits above plus a cemetery marker (bronze, granite, or marble), burial in a national cemetery and a vault (there will be no charge for the plot, opening, or vault). These are provided to the veteran, a spouse, and dependent child(ren).
C. Any veteran having died in a VA medical hospital or nursing facility, or who is receiving a medical disability from the service or who is eligible or currently receiving a military pension is entitled all the benefits listed above plus: a sum of money between $300 and $1000 to cover the transportation from the place of death to the funeral home, a plot allowance, and the transportation to the cemetery or final disposition. The amount of the reimbursement is dependent on a number of factors.
D. Any veteran having served active duty during a war time period is entitled to the benefits listed in A and B plus a county VA benefit of $100 towards the final services. This benefit also extends to the death of a spouse of said veteran and the benefit is paid the family.
Here is a link to the Department of Veterans Affairs website for a more detail accounting of the benefits available: www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/claims-special-burial.asp
The simple answer is the Next of Kin. The harder question to answer may be “Who is the Next of Kin?” In Pennsylvania, the next of kin, according to PA Title 20, are listed as follows: a living spouse who is legally married; if there is no living spouse then all adult children, if no adult children then all parents, if no parents then all siblings, if no siblings then all nieces and nephews.
The law is clear that for cremation, all next of kin of the same level need to be in agreement. For example if a deceased has 4 children and one child is not in agreement to the cremation, then the cremation cannot be performed. A judge will need to give a ruling and in most cases the judge will rule with the next of kin who were closest to the deceased.
The law also allows a person to name someone other than the next of kin to authorize their cremation. The document is called a Statement of Contrary Intent and in short this document is used to go above the next of kin as set forth in Title 20. How can this be helpful? In certain situations a person may want to name one of their children as the authorizing agent thereby streamlining the process. Or in certain situations, a person may want to name a “partner” or “significant other” who is not covered as a next of kin and would be unable to provide the authorization.
One way is to bring personal items into the memorial service location to be displayed in or near the urn or focal point. Example: An artist could have their artwork displayed. A frequent golfer might have a favorite putter placed in front. A person who quilted could have the memory table draped with a quilt they made. A keen hunter or fisherman might have some of their personal effects or trophies displayed on a memory table. A person’s favorite rocking chair could be brought to the memorial service location and placed next to the urn. Also, if the person was an avid baker, their favorite treats could be baked and distributed to guests or the recipes could be printed and handed out.
At the funeral home, a memory table may be used to display personal items of the deceased. A memory board would have a collection of family photographs attached and can be displayed on an easel at the funeral home for visitors to reminisce about their life experiences with the deceased.
In conjunction with, or sometimes in place of, a clergy person, family or friends may share personal thoughts, memories, and feelings about the deceased as part of the service.
Children grieve just as adults do. Any child old enough to form a relationship will experience some form of grief when a relationship is severed. As adults we may not view a childs behavior as grief as it often is demonstrated in ways which we misunderstand as “moody”, “cranky”, “withdrawn” or other behavioral patterns which do not appear to us to be grief. When a death occurs children need to be surrounded by feelings of warmth, acceptance and understanding. This may be a tall order to expect of the adults who are experiencing their own grief and upset. Caring adults can guide children through this time when the child is experiencing feelings for which they have no words and thus can not identify. In a very real way, this time can be a growth experience for the child, teaching about love and relationships. The first task is to create an atmosphere in which the child’s thoughts, fears and wishes are recognized. This means that they should be allowed to participate in any of the arrangements, ceremonies and gatherings which are comfortable for them. First, explain what will be happening and why it is happening at a level the child can understand. A child may not be able to speak at a grandparent’s service but would benefit greatly from the opportunity to draw a picture to be placed next to the urn at the service. Be aware that children will probably have short attention spans and may need to leave a service or gathering before the adults are ready. Many families provide a non-family attendant to care for the children in this event. The key is to allow the participation, not to force it. Forced participation can be harmful. Children instinctively have a good sense of how involved they wish to be. They should be listened to carefully.
While most services are held in the morning or afternoon, some families are now choosing to have services held in the evening hours for the convenience of family and friends. This enables more people to attend the service who otherwise might be unable to be excused from their place of employment during the day.
We publish the obituary notice on our website free of charge and there is no limit to the length of the online obituary. The publication of an obituary notice in a newspaper is a matter of your personal choice. While most newspapers control the editorial format, you have the right to limit the amount of information, if any, provided to them.