New York Daily News
Woodlawn helps you plan ahead for peace of mind in person or virtually
When a death occurs, most New Yorkers aren’t sure who to turn to or what to do. We recently spoke with The Woodlawn Cemetery about how they help individuals put their end-of-life preferences in writing ahead of time to prevent their loved ones from having to make decisions on their behalf.
Daily News: How does Woodlawn help families with making difficult end-of-life decisions?
Woodlawn: Our Family Service Associates work with individuals and families to address their preferences about end-of-life arrangements. This includes offering our complimentary Personal Planning Organizer, to gather all the information needed for final arrangements in one place. Then, when the time comes for loved ones to make decisions, the process is easier. Not to mention you can secure today’s payment rate with the decisions you make.
DN: What type of information is typically needed when making arrangements?
Woodlawn: Essentially, the location of all of your important documents. This includes social security numbers, marriage licenses, and military discharge papers. Where to find bank, retirement, and investment accounts. How to locate insurance policies, veterans, and social security benefits, and of course, preferences for funeral and cemetery arrangements.
We provide families with a Personal Planning Organizer so they can collect all the information that the funeral home or cemetery will need and ask for at the time of death. When properly filled out, this organizer can simply be handed over to the funeral home and cemetery so bereaved family members don’t have to dig through documents for these details in their time of grief. We offer booklets for singles, married couples, and a Spanish version.
DN: How is Woodlawn handling arrangements if a family is not able to meet in person?
Woodlawn: During these unusual times, our Family Service Associates are able to meet with families either in person (with safety precautions) or virtually. If you choose to meet virtually, our staff can walk you through property selection via our website. If needed, multiple family members can participate in a contactless appointment at the same time. We are here to make sure that all your questions are answered and that you receive the highest level of service whether you choose to meet with us in person or virtually.
DN: What are some of the options that Woodlawn offers for memorializing a loved one?
Woodlawn: There are many options for traditional burial and cremation including private mausoleums, community mausoleums, traditional burial with a headstone, cremation benches, niches, and more. It’s important for an individual to express their preferences between traditional burial and cremation, and which type of burial is preferred: in ground, above ground, or cremation. This is a great example of a question that can be addressed in the Personal Planning Organizer. Most people have a strong opinion on their own final disposition, and it’s important to make sure those preferences are in writing.
DN: With the rise in cremation, what kinds of questions are you hearing from families?
Woodlawn: Most families want to know what their options are. After all, according to a 2019 report by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the cremation rate in the U.S. is projected to be 78.7% by 2040. That is a huge increase compared to previous years. Families need to know there are meaningful options for cremated remains. We hear from so many who have the cremated remains of a loved one at home and aren’t sure what do to with them. We’ll make sure you understand all of your options and talk through what is best for you and your family. DN: What do you say to these families? Woodlawn: First, we explain how important it is to have a place they can come back to over the years to visit their loved one who has died. This is an essential part of the grieving process and one that is often overlooked. Then we advise them to come to Woodlawn to see their options for themselves. We have something for everyone and every budget. We also make sure to tell families that Woodlawn is proud to be an exclusive provider in the Bronx of the Cremation With Confidence ™ Guarantee. This means that we own and operate our own crematory and follow a 10-step process that ensures your loved one is treated with dignity and respect throughout the cremation process. We take our responsibilities very seriously and want families to know that.
DN: What is the next step families should take?
Woodlawn: Call us to make an appointment to meet with one of our Family Service Associates in person or virtually. They will help you know exactly what to do, and explain your options so you can ultimately reduce stress on your family. Call 718-920-0500 or visit www.woodlawn.org for more information.
The Woodlawn Cemetery is located at 4199 Webster Ave., Bronx, NY.