Personal Arrangements Assignment Guidelines

FSHD 305
Personal Arrangements Assignment Guidelines
(Please read carefully)
Please note: I recognize the increased sensitivity and also increased relevance of this assignment in the context of COVID-19. This assignment is, and always has been, an important part of this class.
This exercise is about reflecting on and making decisions regarding our individual end-of-life wishes. Students need to approach this assignment seriously and give thoughtful consideration to what their wishes might be if they were to die. Included in the assignment will be specific information and costs pertaining to body disposition (e.g., burial, cremation, donation), memorial or funeral service arrangements, directions to family members, and any additional preferences pertaining to individual belief systems, customs, or desires. Finally, each student will be required to complete an advance directive document provided via Canvas and reflect on the experience.
Each student will need to identify a date of their death or alternatively, an open suggestion (a month or time of year). (Note: this cannot be sometime in the future – needs to be at your current age). You do not need to identify a cause of death – this can be as vague as you like. Based on that information, draw up a plan for the activities you would desire others to follow upon your death (wake, funeral, memorial service, cremation, burial, tree planting, etc.) Provide a full and thoughtful script as a guide to the person(s) who will be carrying out your wishes. Indicate clearly who you expect those person(s) to be. Itemize individual costs of each of your wishes (template attached) and provide a total cost for your personal arrangements.
Please keep in mind that my reading and grading of this assignment has NOTHING to do with what you choose as your end-of-life wishes. That is your business. I can only grade you on whether you followed directions carefully, whether you put detail and thought into the assignment, whether you completed it on time, and the quality of the work provided (e.g., grammar, punctuation).
The goal of this assignment is not to distress anyone, it is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of (1) the process that one must endure in order to organize end-of-life arrangements, (2) the cost of end-of-life arrangements, AND (3) to give each of you the opportunity to reflect on what YOU would want under the circumstance of your own death.
Detail in this assignment is critical – be thorough and think carefully about your decisions.
Regarding Format:
• Students can write their papers from the third or the first person – whatever feels most comfortable.
• Students needs to organize their writing in paper format (i.e., no bullets in paragraphs).
• Students MUST attach the itemized sheet provided to their paper. In addition, students must summarize these costs in paragraph form in their paper. It may seem redundant but I want to see both with the TOTAL cost listed.
• Students MUST include a SUMMARY of how they completed the 5 Wishes Document and what they felt about the process.
• Students need to organize their assignments using the following section headings. You must use
these headings throughout your paper to identify different components so that I can determine if they are included.
1. Introduction
Please provide an introduction to your personal arrangements. Either give a brief summary of the content or can make a message/request/explanation to family members.
2. Funeral/Memorial Arrangements:
Based on what you learned in class, what would you want to happen to your body following your death? Please specify whatever you decide – specifically outlining where (funeral home, faith-based organization) will be involved in these arrangements, what people might be involved in carrying out your wishes, and any services or celebrations that will take place in your honor. If you have religious, spiritual, cultural desires – be sure to include these. Some example questions are included below to get you started thinking:
How do you want your body handled after you die?
• Where should the “after-care take place?”
• Do you want to be embalmed?
• Do you choose burial, cremation, or donation to science? (or other?)
• What are specific burial arrangements? location of burial? anything buried with you?
• What are specific cremation arrangements? Location? What to do with your ashes?
• What will you be wearing if you are buried?
• Who will be your pall bearers (carry your casket)?
• What do you want to be cremated in? (clothing, coffin, simple casket?)
• What type of casket or urn would you like? (please provide a description and cost)
• When should your burial/cremation take place?
What type of service do you want?
• Funeral? memorial? celebration party?
• Where will this take place? Who will take care of the arrangements?
• How will it be planned? music? flowers? scripture/poetry reading? pictures? videos?
• Who will attend? (i.e. family members or friends?)
Do you have certain things you would like other to have? (i.e., what will happen to your stuff?)
• give directions as to property distribution
• memorial ideas or charitable donations
3. Itemized Costs and a Total Cost of your Arrangements
You must include, in paragraph form, the itemized costs of the arrangements you are describing. In addition, attach the break-down of costs I have provided. I want to see both. If there are items that do not apply to your wishes, simply do not include them. You need to do the research to identify the estimated costs of your wishes to the best of your ability. Don’t forget to include the cost of the death certificate, newspaper notices etc.
4. Reflection About Five Wishes Document:
Thoughtfully review and complete the Five Wishes document provided in Canvas. This is not an
“official” document since it is scanned and not an original. However, I do expect each of you to review the document and take the time to complete it privately. I would like for you to generally summarize your choices in this document AND include some reflection/reaction to the experience of completing this advance directive. You do NOT need to attach a copy of the completed Five Wishes document to your paper.
Proof read and spell-check your paper as excessive typographical and grammatical errors will result in a lower grade.
A minimum of 4 (typed, double-spaced) pages is required. This assignment is worth 100 points. The key to this assignment is to follow directions and be specific!
Please complete and attaching the “Itemized Cost Sheet” to your paper. Please note that this sheet is meant to be comprehensive to encourage you to remember all the various details/costs that go into these types of arrangements. You will need to edit/adapt the list to meet your personal, religious, cultural preferences.
FCST 305 – Personal Arrangements Assignment*
*Only choose those items that apply to you and/or add additional items
Itemized Estimated Costs Sheet
Professional Services: Costs
Services of Funeral Director and Staff $ _______
Embalming $ _______
Dressing, Casketing, Cosmetology $ _______
Cremation/Crematory Services $ _______
Visitation/Wake Use of Facility $ _______
Day of the Funeral at Funeral Home $ _______
Day of the Funeral at Church/Alternative Location $ _______
Casket $ _______
Outer Burial Container (grave liner/vault) $ _______
Urn $ _______
Cremation Jewelry $ _______
Register Book $ _______
Acknowledgement Cards $ _______
Memorial Cards/Prayer Cards $ _______
Flowers $ _______
Catering/Food/Drink $ _______
Musician/Soloist/Music $ _______
Removal from place of death to desired location $ _______
Transport to Burial Site (Hearse) $ _______
Limousine Transportation for Family $ _______
Flower Car or Lead Clergy Car $ _______
Cemetery Plot $ _______
Mausoleum $ _______
Columbarium $ _______
Headstone or Plaque $ _______
Opening/Closing Burial or other Interment Site $ _______
Miscellaneous/Other Costs
Newspaper Notices (to publish obituary) $ _______
Copy of the Death Certificate (x the number you need) $ _______
International or Domestic Transportation $ _______
__________________ $ _______
TOTAL COST: $ _______

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