Monthly Archives: October 2019

Why Consider Alternatives to a Memorial Grief Balloon Release

After a funeral or cremation service in Beltsville, MD has concluded, it is not uncommon for people to gather together to memorialize a loved one by releasing colorful balloons, with notes inside or attached to them, and watching them float upward toward the heavens.

Balloon Release Memorial

Key Takeaways:

Releasing grief balloons can be an uplifting way to remember a loved one, but they can cause environmental damage when they fall back down to earth. Here are some more reasons why it’s a good idea to have alternatives to balloon release.

  • Balloons made of plastic or latex can end up on power lines and cause outages, get caught on tree branches, or be wrapped around the legs or necks of birds.
  • In the ocean, balloons look like jellyfish and sea turtles may eat them and die. 
  • Even biodegradable latex balloons take a long time to break down and can hurt wildlife in the meantime.

Cons of Releasing Grief Balloons

This can be an uplifting and comforting way to remember a loved one. However, what goes up must come down. Balloons are typically made of plastic or latex, and when they come down they can land on power wires and cause power outages, they can get caught on tree branches, or they can get wrapped around the legs or necks of birds or caught on their beaks.

  • Bad effect in ocean

The effect of falling balloons on the ocean can be even more devastating. Because balloons look so much like jellyfish, which is a primary source of food for sea turtles, that sea turtles ingest them and can be injured or die. If the sea turtles don’t eat them, then the balloons float to the bottom of the ocean floor and add more ecologically unfriendly plastic trash on the bottom of the sea.

  • Bad effect in animal

Even though latex balloons are declared to be biodegradable, the time it takes for them to break down is quite long. This gives them enough time to cause injury or death to wildlife. Latex balloons are the most frequent balloon type that is found in the stomachs of wild animals when they die.

  • Bad effect in environment

The helium that is used to fill up balloons are nonrenewable. That means they cannot be replaced when the time comes due to shortage. Not only does this mean we’ll run out of them eventually if not taken responsibly, but it also harms animals by releasing more CO2 into the environment than necessary as a result from being released in high altitude where oxygen levels become scarce so quickly with each balloon release because there’s no plant life at these altitudes which removes carbon dioxide naturally like trees do on Earth’s surface level.

Releasing Sky Lanterns isn’t a Good Alternative

Some people use sky lanterns, but they are also a danger to the environment. They create litter that can injure or kill wildlife and they can also present a fire hazard, sparking wildfires during dry seasons.

Grief Balloon Release Alternatives

There are other much more environmentally-friendly ways to memorialize a loved one who has died.

  • Release Flowers on River or Pond

One way is to release flowers on a river or pond and let them float. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a colorful bunch of flowers that are native to the area floating on a body of water. If you want to attach notes to the flowers, use quick dissolving paper like rice paper.

Blow Bubbles Balloon Alternative

  • Blow Bubbles

Another ecologically-friendly way to memorialize a loved one is to blow bubbles. When a crowd of people is blowing bubbles, using a mixture of regular bubble wands and giant bubble wands, the effect can be absolutely beautiful.

  • Candlelight Vigils

Candlelight vigils are another way to memorialize someone you love who has died. These are very common now with nationally-significant deaths, but you can hold your own candlelight vigil for your loved one with family and friends in a place that was special to your loved one. It’s best to use beeswax candles or soy candles rather than petroleum-based candles. Make sure you have drip protectors for the candles so the wax falls into the protector rather than on the ground.

  • Release Ladybugs

Releasing living things in a safe way can be difficult, often resulting in the death of these animals. Instead of releasing balloons or butterflies that will end up dying anyway, you could release ladybugs into your garden! Doing so allows them to live and flourish with no harm done.

Ladybugs are lovable creatures that provide natural pest control. They’re not like butterflies who take off in a symbolic heavenly flight – ladybugs tend to crawl out of their container rather than fly away. However, you can feel confident knowing they won’t harm the insects when released as long as farmed and wild-caught ones aren’t used; it’s best for people release them at dusk or after watering the garden if possible so they don’t dry up too much from lack of water (though green lacewings could also be an alternative).

  • Write in the sand

Here’s a fun and interactive way to write something for the person you lost: take some sand with your toes or fingers, make it into letters of their name by digging them out from between your digits, then use those same digits as markers. Watch how quickly they wash away when exposed to the waves! When we’re all finished writing messages in this new medium that is so easily washed away (pun intended), our words will float off down the beach until there’s nothing left but laughter at what was written earlier today.

  • Plant a Tree

Another great way to protect the environment and memorialize your loved one is to plant a tree in their memory. Trees give us shade, oxygen, and help beautify the landscape. By planting a tree in memory of your loved one, you also create a permanent place where you and your family, as well as friends, can go to remember your loved one for a very long time.

If you want more information about choosing the right service for a loved one who has passed away or resources about dealing with grief, consult with our experienced staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can drop by our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or can contact us today at (301) 937-1707.

funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD

What is Funeral Insurance?

When planning funerals at funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD, it’s a good idea to consider purchasing funeral insurance to relieve your family of the burden of having to find the money – or take it out of your estate – to cover your funeral expenses.

The difference between life insurance and funeral insurance is that funeral insurance is a policy that is designed specifically to cover funeral expenses, while life insurance is a policy that can cover many different expenses and provide financial security for the family when someone dies.

While no one likes to think about funerals, especially when it comes to their own deaths, thinking about funeral insurance now can make sure your family has money already designated to cover all your funeral expenses. This means that if you also have a life insurance policy, that money can go toward securing the financial future of your family after you die.

Funeral insurance policies are different from life insurance policies in that there are no medical exams associated with them. In other words, everyone can buy funeral insurance policies, regardless of their age or health (life insurance policies can be quite expensive if they are purchased when people are older and/or have significant health problems).

There are many different avenues for purchasing funeral insurance policies, but one of the easiest – and perhaps most affordable – ways is to look at the insurance policies you already carry. Many people bundle their insurance – home, cars, contents of home, etc. – with a single company, so that they qualify for an overall discounted rate.

Consider making an appointment with your insurance agent to go over all your insurance coverage. Many times, for example, home insurance coverage equals the purchase price. If you’ve paid 10 or 15 years on a 30-year mortgage, then you can probably adjust the amount of coverage of your home insurance and convert some of that policy into a funeral policy. This is perhaps the easiest way to make sure you have funeral insurance in place.

Funeral insurance policies should be considered, as well, by people who would have to pay outrageously high premiums for life insurance because of their ages and/or their health. However, people who are younger and in good health should purchase life insurance instead – designating by a written instructions or in their wills that funeral expenses should be paid out of it – because they can get a lot of coverage for much lower premiums.

When you purchase a funeral insurance policy, you have three options on how to use it to pay for your funeral expenses. One is to name a beneficiary who will receive the payout on the insurance policy and then is responsible for paying your funeral expenses. Another is to designate the funeral home as the beneficiary – you should make sure they have a copy of a the funeral insurance policy – and the money will be paid directly to the funeral home to cover your funeral expenses. A third option is to create a preneed funeral agreement with the funeral home, where you set up a payment plan to pay your funeral expenses in advance.

Regardless of which way you go, a funeral insurance policy relieves your family of an additional worry and burden when you die, giving them some breathing room to focus on grieving and healing.

If you’d like to know more about funeral insurance at funeral homes in Greenbelt, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.

cremation services offered in Beltsville, MD

What Happens with Your Debt after You Die

After the cremation services in Beltsville, MD, families of the deceased have to wrap up the affairs of their loved ones. One of those may be debts that are owed to creditors.

If you die with life insurance or valuable assets, then your family will be in a good financial position and will be able to take care of all your affairs. However, any debt that you have accrued doesn’t die with you. If the debts you have are substantial, then they could wipe out any financial security that you left behind to take care of your family.

If you don’t have life insurance or any valuable assets that could be sold, then your family may be responsible for paying off any debt that you leave behind. This could be a real quagmire for them and affect their financial outlook for years to come.

Almost 73% of adults have outstanding debts that need to be paid when they die. The average debt that includes a mortgage is $61,554, while non-mortgage debt averages out to be about $12,875.

The question become whether your loved ones inherit your debt when you die. In many cases, surviving relatives do not individually become responsible for paying off your debts. However, your estate, which includes life insurance, property, and financial assets, is responsible for settling all the debt that you owe. If the debt is secured, such as that with a car loan or a mortgage, then the car or home can be sold and the proceeds used to pay off the loans. The only other option for the estate is to allow the financial lender to foreclose on or repossess the property.

In the case where a family wants to keep the family home that everybody grew up in, the person in the family who gets the house will have to finance a new loan in their name, making them liable for the debt that they are incurring.

If debt is unsecured, such as credit cards or an unsecured personal loan, then the estate is responsible for paying those off with any money that the estate has before anyone is named as a beneficiary receives their inheritance. If the estate does not have enough money to pay off unsecured debt, then the estate is declared to be insolvent and the executor will have to go through the legal system – probate – for determination to be made as to which debts should be paid.

Any other debts than these are the sole responsibility of the deceased, so they get discharged (meaning they don’t have to be paid).

If the debt left behind has a cosigner who is still living, then the debt will be the cosigner’s responsibility to pay. On some cosigned loan agreements, the lender requires that the debt is paid in full immediately after the borrower dies. This can present a real challenge for cosigners, especially if they are not beneficiaries of the estate and don’t have the money on their own to pay the debt off.

For joint loans, such as a married couple taking out a mortgage together for a house, the borrower who is still alive is responsible for the remaining debt.

If you want more information about cremation services offered in Burtonsville, MD, you can talk with our expert staff at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can drop by our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can contact us today at (301) 937-1707.

funeral homes in Beltsville, MD

Who Will Take Care of the Dead?

Funeral homes in Beltsville, MD will take the deceased to their final resting places, which could be at cemeteries in small, rural communities, where the population is decreasing because younger people move away in search of more opportunity and the elderly people who stay began to die.

When the population of one of these communities declines, the question of who will maintain the cemeteries in the community becomes an issue. Combined with weather challenges, climate change, economic hardships, and the oddities of human behavior, the problem of who will maintain these rural cemeteries becomes even more complex.

Family and church cemeteries are usually maintained through contributions of members or others who have relatives buried there. These are the most likely cemeteries to fall into disrepair when people move and people die. There’s no more money to maintain the cemeteries.

The people who maintain cemeteries are called caretakers. Some live near the cemetery they maintain, while others have a residence on-site. In rural communities, if the caretaker of record dies then no one knows who’s responsible for maintaining the cemeteries. Many times, no one takes over the responsibility and the cemetery gets overgrown and essentially disappears.

For example, in Nebraska, if no one in the community informs the legal authorities that the cemetery has been neglected or is abandoned then local governments don’t have too many options to make sure that the cemetery is maintained. A lot of people don’t know that they can report neglected or abandoned cemeteries to local authorities and some people think it’s disrespectful to the dead to complain about the state of the cemetery. Occasionally, another member of the community will take over upkeep of the cemetery without telling anyone (so that there can be someone to take over after them), but they may move or die leaving it to be neglected and abandoned again.

Rural cemeteries in New York state have their fair share that are need of maintenance, but they also have many that are very well cared for and provide beautiful green spaces for the neighbors around them. Some people love the relative quiet of living near cemeteries, while other people can’t abide the thought of living in near proximately to resting places for the dead.

Research from shows that, in rural areas, homes in zip codes with cemeteries have an approximately 12% lower median price than homes that are in zip codes without cemeteries. However, this decrease in property values is a great concern for rural homeowners. This is because community services, such as education funding, are tied to the value of property, and when a tax-exempt cemetery is neglected or abandoned, then the overall value of all the properties around it decreases, making less funding available for the communities.

Many other rural cemeteries in other states face more challenges. Some cemeteries are maintained by an association, but the associations are seeing donations drop because of weather disasters and poor economic conditions, so the associations are either abandoning the cemeteries or asking relatives of the deceased who are buried there to volunteer to maintain the cemeteries. Some rural cemeteries get neglected or abandoned when property owners give access rights away to businesses or to the state. Once access to the cemetery is cut off, the cemeteries fall into disrepair.

If you want to know more about cemetery upkeep at funeral homes in Beltsville, MD, you can talk with our knowledgeable team at Donald V. Borgwardt Funeral Home, P.A. You can visit our funeral home at 4400 Powder Mill Rd., Beltsville, MD, 20705, or you can call us today at (301) 937-1707.