Body Donation
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Consider donating your loved ones body to the Applied Anatomical Research Center. This ultimate gift will allow them to continue important scientific research that can assist professionals in the field in crime scene and criminal investigation.   Learn more about the process at


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Tips on Organizing your Village
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Even if you decide not use our free services, we still want to help. Here is a list of things to consider that you are likely to face in the next few days:

  • It important for the family to say “yes” to offers of help. It can be hard for some to accept help, but it also helps the people around the family that want to contribute to help a bad situation.
  • You will need a system to alert family, friends, work, and school, if applicable
  • Consider allowing a Carson’s Village Advocate assist you with creating a private webpage to provide one convenient spot where family and friends can sign up to bring food, donate money to the family and to get up to date information on what the family needs, locations/times of events and any last minute changes
  • Start early with a way to track food donations, time donations (mowing the lawn), special gifts and monetary donations so that you can write thank you notes at a later date
  • Housing and Transportation – Is there a need to coordinate hotels and travel? Does the funeral home have any discounts? Do people need to be picked up from the airport?

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions about these or other topics.


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Notification and Document Location
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Employer and Social Security – The Family Lead will need to know to notify the employer of the deceased so that the proper paperwork can be completed. This may affect payroll and benefits, as well as the general morale and work schedule of the deceased’s co-workers. Also the Family Lead will need to know that the family will need to notify the local office of the Social Security Administration and any other income sources immediately. Any benefits received after the date of death will need to be returned to Social Security. The surviving family member or estate is entitled to a one-time $250 death benefit from Social Security. Pensions, annuities and other income sources will have different rules. The Family Lead may choose to check the plan or contact the administrator of those plans for further details.

Guardianship – If there is a guardianship, a power of attorney or a durable power of attorney for healthcare, those persons need to be notified that their responsibilities are at an end.

Bank Accounts – If there are bank accounts on which someone is a “surviving owner”, (the account may read “POD” for payable on death or joint owners with “ROS”, for right of survivorship) a death certificate needs to be provided to the bank so that the surviving owner can now take ownership. Otherwise, access to the accounts may be blocked until someone is appointed as an official agent on behalf of the estate.

Wills – If there is a Will, when the person dies, the law requires that it be filed (the law does not require that it be probated) with the Probate Court in the County where the decedent lived. The Clerk will provide the executor or executrix of the Will with the necessary paperwork. Expenses of the last illness and funeral should be paid from the estate before any additional disbursements are made. All remaining assets and properties can be disbursed through the probate process.

No Will – If there is not a Will, and an administration of the estate is desired, this is also done in the County Probate Court. Expenses of the last illness and funeral or final arrangements should be paid from the estate before any additional disbursements are made. All remaining assets and properties can be disbursed through the administration of the estate.

Creditors – Letters should be sent to all creditors informing them of the person’s death. If any life insurance coverage exists on open accounts to pay off the remaining balances, a copy of the death certificate will be required. The estate is liable, not individual family members, unless that family member was a named account holder, regardless of the insistence of the creditors. If nothing remains in the estate to pay off debts, the creditors should be so informed.

Utility Companies – Local utilities (telephone, gas, electricity, and cable) should be notified only if someone else wants to be substituted on the accounts. Otherwise, the family may wait to make the decision to discontinue services. In any event, the utility bills must be paid in order to keep the utilities on.

Newspaper and Mail – The newspaper subscription will need to be discontinued if no one else resides at the home of the deceased and the Post Office may need to be contacted about a forwarding address for mail, if no one will be at the home to receive mail.

Tax Refunds – Any tax refunds that arrive after the decedent’s death will be a part of the estate and will have to be distributed according to the Will or the Administration process.

Taxes Owed – Any taxes owed will have to be paid out of the estate or voluntarily by a surviving family member.

Homestead Exemptions – Any homestead exemptions are generally going to be tied to the individual if that person was a senior or otherwise qualified for an exemption. The exemption may no longer be applicable unless the new homeowner meets the requirements.

Personal Property – Items like titles to automobiles, automobile insurance and house insurance will have to be changed eventually. Homeowner’s insurance policies should be reviewed carefully for instructions concerning coverage of unoccupied premises.

Out-of-State Property – If property is owned out-of-state, the Will should be probated or the estate administered in the state of residence first and the Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration (they may be called something else in another state) used to handle the property in the other state.

Right of Survivorship Property – If property or accounts were in the name of the decedent and another person as tenants “with the right of survivorship”, then ownership automatically passes to the survivor(s) without the need for probate or administration of the estate.

Disposing of Personal Items and Clothing – The timing of this is handled differently from person to person. If too soon, it may prevent survivors from having adequate time to grieve, but if taken too long, it may seriously delay the ending of the grieving process, acting as a very painful and constant reminder of the person’s death. The family will need to determine which mementos should be retained. No items should be moved, sold, given away or otherwise disposed of if they have been identified in the person’s Will as items to be distributed as a part of the estate. Only the legal beneficiary of those items is entitled to make the decision as to their disposal.

Documents to Locate – There are some documents that may be needed or at least helpful in settling the estate of the deceased. These documents should be located and kept together in one place until they can be turned over to the person in charge of carrying out this part of the affairs of the deceased.

Included in the list of documents to be sought:

  • Funeral and burial plans/contracts
  • Safe deposit rental agreement and keys
  • Passwords
  • Trust agreements
  • Nuptial agreements/marriage licenses/prenuptial agreements/divorce papers
  • Life insurance policies or statements
  • Pension, IRA, retirement statements
  • Income tax returns for the past three years
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Military records and discharge papers
  • Budgets/bookkeeping records
  • Bank statements, checkbooks, check registers, certificates of deposits
  • Deeds, deeds of trust, mortgages and mortgage releases, title policies, leases
  • Motor vehicle titles
  • Stock and bond certificates and account statements
  • Unpaid bills, notes
  • Health/accident and sickness policies
  • Bankruptcy papers: filings and releases


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Organ and Tissue Donation
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The following information was copied from the Southwest Transplant Alliance website ( from their “How Donation Works” and “Donation Facts” webpages.

How Donation Works

Southwest Transplant Alliance (STA) maintains an agreement to act as the organ recovery agency with hospitals in our designated service areas. We work with 11 hospital transplant centers and more than 200 hospitals.

When a potential donor is identified by one of those hospitals, we are notified. A Transplant Coordinator, in conjunction with a Family Service Coordinator, immediately begins facilitating the donation process by searching the statewide registry to determine if the potential donor is registered. If the potential donor is registered, the family is notified and the donation process begins. If the potential donor is not registered, the Family Service Coordinator supports the donor family and consults them regarding possible donation.

STA then manages, along-side the recovery surgeons, the recovery and transportation of organs to the surgeons who will perform the transplants into waiting recipients.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Donation Process

What organs and tissues can be donated?

Organs and tissues that can be transplanted include the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, intestine, corneas, bone, skin, connective tissues and heart valves.

How long does the process take?

The organ recovery process usually takes 24 to 36 hours after your loved one has died. If your family has time considerations regarding the viewing or funeral, please let our staff know so the process can be adjusted to meet your family’s needs.

How long can I stay with my loved one after the consent form is signed?

You can stay as long as you want. However, we may ask you to step out of the room when a procedure is performed, such as a chest X-ray or drawing blood. You may continue to visit your loved one during hospital visiting hours. If you need to leave the hospital, our staff can arrange to notify you of the progress of the donation.

Will I know who gets my loved one’s organs?

No. STA will send you a letter two to four weeks after the donation. The letter will have a brief description of each recipient, with no names or other information that would identify the recipient. All information between donor families and recipients is kept confidential until both parties agree to exchange information. See our Donor Families page to learn more about this.

Can I meet the people who receive my loved one’s organs?

Yes. A meeting is possible if both parties agree to this.

Organ Donation: More Facts About the Process

  • A person must pass away in a hospital on a ventilator in order for their organs to be medically suitable for donation.
  • Brain death because of a stroke or because of a traumatic injury are often the cause of death that make someone eligible for organ donation, though this is not always the case.
  • In some instances, organs can be donated after cardiovascular death.
  • Hospitals are required by federal law to notify the appropriate organ recovery organization of a potential donor.
  • Donated organs are matched with recipients based on several factors, such as blood type, organ size and distance from the recipient’s transplant center.
  • After a donor’s organs have been recovered, his or her body is released to a funeral home or mortuary service based on the family’s preferences.
  • In most cases, the full range of funeral services is available after organ donation, including open-casket viewings and cremation.

Donation Facts

There are more than 118,000 men, women and children in the United States, including more than 10,000 in Texas, who need an organ transplant to live. In 2016, more than 30,000 organ transplants were performed in the United States, more than in any previous year. While the number of registered donors is steadily growing, we need more people to register. Here are the facts about organ, eye and tissue donation.

  • Every 10 minutes, someone new is added to the national transplant waiting list.
  • Every year, about 8,000 people die waiting for an organ.
  • On average, 22 people die each day waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant.
  • Organs and tissue are not matched with recipients according to race or ethnicity. People of different races frequently match each other.
  • The number of Hispanic transplant recipients has more than doubled in the past 20 years, from 1,535 in 1993 to 4,133 in 2013.

The Facts About Donation

  • FACT: Doctors and other clinical staff do everything possible to save your life. If they don’t, they could lose their license to practice medicine. You will only be considered a potential organ donor after all lifesaving measures have been exhausted.
  • FACT: All major religions in the United States support organ and tissue donation and view it as a final act of love and generosity.
  • FACT: In many cases, the full range of funeral services is available after organ and tissue donation, including open-casket viewings and cremation.
  • FACT: The donor’s family pays for medical care prior to organ and tissue recovery, and for funeral expenses. They do not pay any of the costs associated with donation.
ODay 1Organ and Tissue
Funeral Program Samples
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The funeral program (sometimes called a funeral brochure, pamphlet or funeral order of service) is the printed document that is given out at the funeral or memorial service that outlines the key points in the funeral or memorial service and summarizes the life achievements of your deceased loved one. –

Examples at No Cost

Examples for Purchase



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Poem Samples
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Using poetry funeral readings is a popular way to personalize a funeral or memorial service. In addition to using poetry readings during the actual funeral or memorial service, many people include poetry in the printed funeral program. You can select a poem that was a favorite of the deceased or chose something that evokes the spirit of the person you are celebrating.  

Funeral Guide Webpage

Elegant Memorials Funeral Programs and Keepsakes Webpage

Natural Endings

Last Post

Family Friend Poems


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Obituary Components
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The Advocate can support the Family Lead in writing the first version of the obituary or can create the framework. The Family Lead can then work with the family to personalize it based on the deceased’s personality. The following items are suggested to be included:

  • Name/Announcement
    • Full name of the deceased, including a nickname, if any
    • Age at death
    • City of residence at the time of death
    • Day and date of death (include the year)
    • Place of death
    • If possible, include pictures
  • Life
    • Date of birth
    • Place of birth
    • Names of Parents
    • Childhood – Siblings, stories, schools and friends
    • Marriage(s) – Date and place with name of the spouse
    • Education – School, college, university and other
    • Designations, awards and other recognition
    • Employment – Jobs, activities, stories, colleagues, satisfactions, promotions
    • Military Service
    • Place of residence
    • Hobbies, sports, interests, activities and other enjoyment
    • Charitable, religious, fraternal, political and other affiliations; offices held
    • Achievements
    • Unusual attributes, humor, other stories
  • Family
    • Survived by (and place of residence)
      • Spouse
      • Children (in order of birth and their spouses)
      • Grandchildren
      • Great-Grandchildren
      • Great-Great-Grandchildren
      • Parents
      • Grandparents
      • Siblings (order of birth)
      • Others such as nephews, nieces, cousins, in-laws
      • Friends
      • Pets (if appropriate)
    • Predeceased by (and date of death)
      • Spouse
      • Children (in order of birth)
      • Grandchildren
      • Siblings (in order of birth)
      • Others, such as nephews, nieces, cousins, in-laws
      • Pets (if appropriate)
  • Service
    • Day, date, time and place
    • Name of the officiant, pallbearers, honorary pallbearers, and other information
    • Visitation information (date, time and place)
    • Reception information (date, time and place)
    • Other memorials, vigil, or graveside service (date, time and place)
    • Place of interment
    • Name of the funeral home in charge of the arrangements
    • Where to call for information
  • End
    • Memorial Funds established
    • Memorial donations suggestion (include address)
    • Thank you to people, groups or institutions


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Obituary Resources
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Helpful Contact Information
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Clean Up Services

Aftermath Services: 877-694-5139 (24/7) or

Crime Scene Steri Clean:  888-577-7206 (24/7) or

Consumer Reporting Agencies

Equifax: 800.685.1111 or
Experian: 888.397.3742 or
TransUnion: 888.909.8872 or 

Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans’ families may be eligible for burial and memorial benefits. Call 800.827.1000 to find a VA regional office. 

Financial Institutions

Brokerage firms and banks will need to be notified, and any existing orders may need to be suspended.

Insurance Companies

See if policies cover the home and care during the probate process. 

Social Security Administration

800.772.1213 or  

Marriage and Birth Certificates

Relevant county clerk’s office  

Military Discharge Records

National Personnel Record Center, 9700 Page Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63132  

Military Funeral Honors

The rendering of Military Funeral Honors for an eligible veteran, free of charge, is mandated by law.

Patriot Guard Riders of North Texas

Funeral Cost Resources
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  • Make sure that life insurance policies intended to cover funeral expenses have not lapsed.
  • If you have made prepayment arrangements, make sure that someone you trust knows the arrangements you have made as well as the name of the funeral home. This will avoid them selecting a different funeral home and paying again.


  • Never sign financial deals with a funeral director or home. These should always be done through credible banking institutions or insurance providers.
  • Don’t commit to spending money you don’t have before getting aid. It could eliminate some otherwise viable opportunities.
  • Never sign a contract with a funeral director or home for ANY kind of service before researching the elements of the contract first.
  • Never sign anything during a period of emotional distress without having either an attorney or someone you trust looking it over for you first.
  • Be wary of up-selling when at the funeral home

Information derived from an online article Three Ways to Pay for Funeral Expenses at

Other helpful sites

Funeral Help Program Payment Options

How to Pay for a Funeral or Other Final Arrangements:

4 Ways to Get Help Paying for Funeral Expenses:

Funeral and Burial Resources for low-income and uninsured families:

Medicaid Does Not Cover Funerals:

Burial Assistance Programs:

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Sample Email to Social Circles
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General Announcement

Subject: Sad News

It is with a very heavy heart that I am sharing that NAME’s (father/mother/husband/wife/son/daughter), unexpectedly passed away on DATE.  The family is devastated and need our support more than ever.  No arrangements have been made as yet.  News will be shared with you as it comes in.  In the meantime, let us all pull together and support the family and each other during this difficult time.

Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers. You can find more information about the family on a page set up specifically for them at LINK.



Visitation Announcement

Good Morning/Evening,

NAME(s) asked that I share the below information with you.

(Sample) Please join us to honor the life of NAME by joining the family for a visitation from 6 – 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at Rolling Oaks Funeral Home, 400 Freeport Parkway, Coppell, Texas, 75019. They also invite you to a reception in their home, Thursday, May 4, 2017, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The address for the reception is XXX. 

For more information please use the following link: PROVIDE LINK CREATED BY CARSON’S VILLAGE

The family was very clear that I only share this information with the addressed recipients and the following groups receive the above information.

Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.



School District (For a child)

NAME ISD Family: It is with a heavy heart that we share sad news about one of our Name ISD families. One of our Xth graders at SCHOOL, NAME, passed away over the weekend. We are unable to release specific information about the student and appreciate your understanding. Knowing that we all deal with grief in various ways, we want you to be aware the campus staff along with members of the district crisis team are available for students to assist them with this loss.  The passing of a student may affect children differently depending on: their age; their relationship with the student; and their prior experience with grief.

When dealing with grief, you may notice your child will:

• Appear not to be affected
• Ask a lot of questions
• Be agitated and/or angry
• Try extra hard to be good
• Be thinking about it privately
• Be frightened
• Be sad and/or withdrawn

We suggest you listen to your children. If they seem to need to talk, answer their questions simply, honestly, and possibly over and over again. You can also be assured that our counselors and administrators are here to support your children while at school. Encourage them to reach out to any adult on campus. Please know your children are our first priority and we want you to know we are ready to help them through the grieving process in the days and weeks to come.  Our thoughts and hearts are with the family during this time.

For the School that was attended (if a child)

It is with a heavy heart that I share sad news with you our CAMPUS NAME family. One of our 6th graders, NAME, passed away this weekend. We are unable to release specific information about the student and appreciate your understanding. Knowing that we all deal with grief in various ways, we want you to know that the CAMPUS NAME staff along with members of our district grief support team are here for all of our learners when they need help in dealing with this loss.

CAMPUS NAME will be sharing the news of NAME’s passing early Monday morning. We want to provide you the opportunity to share grief and coping strategies with your own child this evening. We are aware that children may hear of this news through other forms of communication or friends. The death of a student may affect children differently depending on his or her age, how well the child knew the student, and their prior experience with grief.

When dealing with grief, you may notice your child will:

  • Appear not to be affected
  • Ask a lot of questions
  • Be agitated and angry
  • Try extra hard to be good
  • Be thinking about it privately
  • Be frightened
  • Be sad and withdrawn  You can also be assured that our teachers, counselors and administration are here to support your children while at school.

Encourage them to reach out to any adult here on campus.*Please do not forward or share the above information to campus families or community.  Please know your children are our first priority and we want you to know we are ready to help them through the grieving process in the days and weeks to come. Our thoughts and hearts are with the family during this time and we ask that you respect their privacy.

We suggest you listen to your children. If they seem to need to talk, answer their questions simply, honestly, and possibly over and over again.


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