Published by KhShahi
Ever wanted to go grab a coffee and some cake and talk about death? Well, that’s a thing and it’s called a Death Cafe.
Death Cafes are a non-profit place for those who want to get together and talk about the end of the road, and how that can affect us as individuals. If you’ve never heard of them. The idea originates with the Swiss sociologist and anthropologist Bernard Crettaz, who organized the first café mortel in 2004. Jon Underwood a UK web developer was inspired by Crettaz’s work and developed the Death Cafe model in 2011. He was instrumental in the spread of the idea. Since then they have been held in 66 countries. Now in 2021, they’ve sprung up all around the UK. Cafes have taken place in Folkestone, Brighton, Whitstable, Faversham and Hyde – just to name a few in the UK alone.
You may think Death cafés sound like negative and morbid space, that they’re only for old folks or goths, or the terminally ill; but actually, they’re there for anyone who wants to talk or listen about their experiences with death. Death is a part of life and at some point, it’s something we all need to talk about. These cafes offer a safe space where you can talk, un-load or remember the good times with your grandparent, mum, dad, sibling or any loved one who has passed away. Its quite a simple premise but the objective is:
‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’.
Jon Underwood – Deathcafe.com
Death Cafés have become global phenomena, taking place from the United States to Trinidad, Sweden to Korea. On deathcafe.com they state that they have hosted over thirteen thousand meetups in 80 separate countries around the world. With stats like that, it seems death cafes are becoming more and more popular. Who knows, in a year or two they may become the next hit trend. One thing we do know though is they provide an opportunity to share grief or other concerns in an accessible, respectful and confidential space.
Published by KhShahi
The death of a pet can leave a huge hole in the life of the owner. Whether you have a cat, dog, parrot, rabbit, or something cold-blooded like a fish, lizard or snake, your pet becomes part of the family and everyday life. Losing a furry (or scaly!) companion brings grief and the reminder that death is something we all have to deal with at some point in our lives.
Regardless of what kind of pet you own, there are several different options out there for owners who wish to commemorate their animal friends. Some of the options are listed below
Cremation for pets
Cremation is a simple process where the pet’s body is burnt in a furnace and on the other side, you’re given the ashes. You can then choose what to do with them, whatever is best for you. You can keep them in a special container somewhere in your house, or bury them in the garden. If this isn’t an option, you could scatter them in a place that your pet liked to visit.
Dignity Pet Crematorium, based in Winchfield, Hampshire specialises in several different animal cremation services. Their prices start from as little as £50 and range up to £220 at the high end. On the Dignity website, they say that the pets they work with are: Cats, Dogs, Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters Chickens Budgies, Parrots, Chinchillas, Snakes, Ferrets, Hedgehogs, Lizard, Bearded Dragons, Rats, Daegu, Tortoises and Fish.
Another crematorium, southeast of London between Kent and Sussex, is Barnshaw. They are near Tenterden, relatively southwest of Ashford. These folks categorise pets by weight only instead of both species and weight. Barnshaw’s prices range from £89 for the smallest pets to £225 for the largest.
Can I bury my pet in my garden?
Burial can be the first thing that comes to mind when a pet passes away. Lots of people with gardens find a home burial the natural choice, it costs as little as you like and means your pet can stay close to home in the natural world.
If you choose the burial route, you can bury your pet in the back garden if the following conditions are met:
You own the land you intend to dig the grave in.
It cannot be too close to a water source.
The pet remains must not be hazardous to humans or the environment (this is a rare occurrence)
Obviously, if you’re living in rented accommodation or in a flat/apartment this might not be an option for you.
Another option is to find a local pet cemetery. The premise here is very similar to human cemeteries, you buy a plot and a memorial. Pet cemeteries are a good idea for those who still want to bury their pet, but don’t have the space in a garden and would like a resting place to visit. The price tag for burying a pet in a cemetery can vary depending on different factors. These can include the size of the animal and the resting place. Usually, they start at a few hundred pounds and can go up to several thousand.
Taxidermy (Stuffing a pet)
Stuffing is a pretty simple idea where you have the outside of your furry friend essentially preserved in a lifelike way. It is a little unorthodox and less common compared to burials and cremation, but it’s a personal choice that some people find comforting.
This might be a way to go if you’re someone who wants their pet to still be with you in your house after their death. Who knows? Stuffing your pet might make a nice conversation starter!
Whatever you choose to do after your pet dies, be it a cremation, burial or stuffing, at the end of the day, it’s your decision and the right choice will be a comfort to you.
Published by KhShahi
The UK is an ethnically and religiously diverse country, which practices many different faiths and burials. Similar to other faiths that believe in the afterlife Muslims believe that in life if you follow the Islamic religious codes and do good deeds you will be granted entry into eternal Paradise.
As this is such an important ceremony certain rules and customs are put in place so the deceased can pass over in piece. Muslims are buried very soon after death usually within 24 hours if possible, which means no viewing, embalming or family visits. The body is washed by family members of the same gender usually 3 times before being taken to a mosque, this is called Ghusl. The (Kafan) is when the deceased is wrapped in large sheets, men traditionally would have 3 sheets and women would have five.
Cremation is prohibited and all Muslim burial graves face Mecca. The deceased would then be placed in position so that their right side faces the holy city. Whilst the body is lowered into the grave the congregation will pray. Most all of the mourners will be male however some Muslim communities allow women to attend the burial.
The grave is 12 inches above ground level, this will not allow anyone to walk or sit on the grave. The funeral is usually quick, lasting only 30 to 60 minutes with prayer and readings from the Quran. During the prayers, everyone must face Mecca and mourners will each place 3 handfuls of soil into the grave.
The Islamic religion view death as a transition to the afterlife and if you have lived a good life they believe you will go to paradise.
The grave is then marked with a small stone or marker so that it is recognisable. It is prohibited to decorate the grave or erect any large monument. This is because outwardly lavish displays are discouraged in Islam.
Published by KhShahi
Funeral live streaming has increased significantly this past year due to Covid, but is it here to stay? Covid restrictions have made all aspects of life more difficult, but losing a loved one, and not being able to share the grief with friends and family, can be unbearable. Funeral live streaming allows for this important moment to be shared as the ceremony can be witnessed by anyone from anywhere. This technology makes travel, cost, timing and restrictions irrelevant.
How to live stream funerals
Streaming is absolutely something you can do on your own. Depending on your technical ability you can set up a webcam, DSLR or even a smartphone. Here are some tips to help you set up a live stream.
People often spend a lot of time considering what it will look like and forget about the audio quality. A funeral is a celebration of life: stories, sentiments and kind words are shared. It’s important your online guests can hear what is said. Make sure to test the sound quality of the built-in mic by recording a test phrase when setting up. Listen back to it, are the words clear? If not there are external mics available to buy or hire. You can place it closer to the stage or on a podium for clearer sound quality.
Where to share
There are plenty of suitable platforms for your funeral live stream. You just need to pick one that is free to use, has social media integration, privacy control and chat features. Here are a few we recommend: Facebook Live, Zoom, Google Hangouts, YouTube Live or Facetime. Just make sure only invited guests have a link and are allowed to join. You should also make sure someone can keep an eye on the live stream, and if anything goes wrong it’s always good to have a backup. Don’t forget to record as well. It can be a nice memory to hold so loved ones can watch again at a later date.
Now you have set up the invitees and the stream privacy you need to make sure everyone knows how to access the funeral live stream. Send guests an email or message with a link and detailed instructions on how to join. Think about making a short online tutorial for the older members of the family. Don’t forget to test the internet connection where the ceremony is taking place. If there isn’t any or it’s very slow it’s possible to set up a hotspot using your phone’s 4G connection. Be sure to test this in advance.
Bring in the Professionals
Although setting up your own funeral live stream is possible, and a great way to save a little on the cost of the funeral, it may be a bit too much to handle on this emotional day. Professional services can take the weight off your shoulders and keep your mind clear and focused on what’s important; the life and celebration of your loved one. There are plenty available so make sure to check the reviews and select one that suits your needs.
Published by KhShahi
One thing is definite in life, we are all going to die, so isn’t it shocking that nearly two thirds of adults in the UK don’t have a will.*
WHY? Well there are some simple reasons like, they haven’t prepared one because they feel uncomfortable about it, think it applies to old people or simpler explanations such as their previous will has become null and void after marrying or remarrying, they forget to update their wills once children are born or their will still include ex partners or people they wanted to exclude.
If you die without a will, intestate as it is known, you leave a huge problem for those left behind with your estate not being divided up the way you may have wanted. For instance, unmarried partners have no right to inherit anything, no matter how long or serious the relationship was. Only married or civil partners and some other close relatives can inherit under the rules of intestacy.
It is important to point out here that the intestacy laws differ in Scotland to those in the rest of the UK. So be sure to check it out.
So, making a will is not difficult, there is advice on how to do it yourself, but if you are unsure or have a complicated plan consult a solicitor.
Why do you need one, well there are some pretty obvious reasons:
The most obvious is saving stress and arguments with the family once you have gone. It can become a long and difficult drawn out process sorting out an estate.
It ensures the right people get what you want to leave them. For instance, children or step-children under 18. You should choose who will look after them, which might mean appointing a legal guardian.
Appoint an executor to make sure the will is followed, and each person get what they are entitled to.
Your Partner, the law doesn’t really recognise unmarried partners, so don’t expect anything to go to your partner if you don’t make a will.
Your pet’s welfare, what you want to happen to family pets.
Funeral planning, if you know what you want your funeral to be like, you can detail it so that your family doesn’t have to make the decisions.
Your property, ‘Joint tenant’ mortgages automatically pass to the other owner. If you’ve a ‘tenants in common’ mortgage, it’s important to say what happens to your share of the house. If you own a property overseas, inheritance laws may be different to the UK.
If you are a small businesses owner, a sole director, it’s possible that if you die without executors, nobody can authorise payments (including to staff), so your business could collapse.
Reduce inheritance tax, if you die intestate, as mentioned, there are strict laws about to whom and how your estate is distributed. There are two problems with this, first, the money may not go where you want, and secondly, it’s likely to be inefficient for inheritance tax purposes.
You pay 40% of any assets worth over £325,000 that you leave, so those with valuable houses or larger estates may face a large inheritance tax bill. Yet there are many legal ways you can plan ahead to reduce this.
Finally, what makes a valid will?
Well it should say how your estate should be shared out when you die.
Was made when you were able to make your own decisions and you weren’t put under pressure about who to leave things to.
Is signed and dated by you in the presence of two independent adult witnesses, and then signed by the two witnesses in your presence. Remember that the witnesses can’t be people who are going to inherit from the will.
If you want to change your will, you can’t scribble or add in things to the original will once signed and witnessed. Any obvious alterations on the face of the will are assumed to have been made at a later date and don’t form part of the original legally valid will.
The only way you can change a will is by making a codicil to the will which is an amendment to the will leaving the original intact or write a completely new will.
Check out our other blogs for information on other aspects of your will.