This Might Be a Bit Much: Company Offering 3D-printed Cremation Urns in the Likeness of the Deceased.

A Vermont based company, Cremation Solutions, is marketing a creative new way to memorialize your loved one. Cremation Solutions is producing 3D-printed head shaped urns in the likeness of the deceased.

The life sized busts are large enough to hold the ashes of an adult. Short on space? They offer a smaller, “keep-sake” sized urn meant to hold only a portion of the cremains. The busts are created using photos of the deceased, which the company says allows for a unique personalization over the classic urn.

Created from photos, the 3D busts do not come with hair, but hair can be added digitally in the form of a wig. Complexions can be adjusted in the final stages and customers get a chance to proof the results.

Prices range from $600 for the smaller cremation urn to $2,600 for a larger one. Not really happy with the face of your dearly departed? The company illustrates the service with an urn made in the shape of President Barack Obama’s head, explaining that you can also have the urn designed in the image of a personal hero.

Read the article here.

Be Careful When Hiring an Estate Sales Agent.

An estate sales isn’t your run-of-the-mill garage sale. Estate sales offer the promise of nicer things for sale and that potential rare or priceless find. Many people faced with settling a loved one’s estate will turn to an estate sales agent to sell off the deceased’s belonging.  But hiring an estate sales agent can be a risky proposition. The industry is unregulated and not every one follows ethical business practices. Furthermore, they typically charge substantial fees as a percentage of the estate sale total.  You need to do things right when hiring one:  You need to get a copy of your prospective agent’s contract and review if carefully. You must also check into their business history and practices. It can even be helpful to go to one of their sales to see them in action.  A recent article in the New York Times highlights the problems with estate sales agents through the personal experience of two siblings who hired an unscrupulous estate sale agent after their mother died.

Read Paul Sullivan, It Pays to Be Wary When Hiring an Estate Sales Agent, NY Times, September 23, 2016.

The End of Life Talk Is One of Estate Planning’s Necessary Evils

Estate planning is a difficult process no matter the circumstances. And end-of-life conversations with loved ones are probably the most uncomfortable aspect of that process. They require you and your loved ones to take a sober look at your life circumstances and mortality. Yet as difficult as such conversations can be, they can help avoid stress and heartache later on. Clearly conveying your wishes concerning medical treatment, your funeral, and disposition of your assets will help loved ones avoid the stress and burden of putting your affairs in order after you’ve become incapacitated or die. Topics should include who should be notified of your death, wishes concerning funeral and burial, where your important documents are kept, accessing passwords and usernames, and how you want your remaining assets distributed after your death.

For great insights and tips on end-of-life conversations, please see Barbara Bates Sedoric, The Critical Importance of End-Of-Life Conversations, Wealthcare, October 13, 2015

Michigan Right-To-Try Law Enacted


A law giving terminally ill patients in Michigan the opportunity to try experimental drugs and other treatments was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder earlier this week.

The “Right-to-Try” Act gives those suffering from advanced illnesses the choice to try experimental drugs and similar treatments which have yet to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The law allows drug makers to give patients with advanced illnesses experimental drugs, biological products, and devices that have successfully cleared Phase 1 of the FDA approval process.

The experimental treatments would only be permitted under a doctor’s supervision. Medical professionals and health care facilities are shielded from liability if the experimental treatment does not have a positive result for the patient. The law does not require insurance companies to cover the costs related to such treatments.

Michigan is the fourth state behind Colorado, Missouri, and Louisiana to enact a Right-To-Try law. Arizona residents will vote on a similar ballot initiative in November.

The bill was signed into law as Public Act 345 of 2014.

Is There Life After Death? Maybe

An article from The Telegraph published in the National Post reports that, according to a British study into near-death and out-of-body experiences, awareness may continue for a short time after the brain has shut down completely. Scientists at the University of Southampton spent 4 years studying more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrest at 15 hospitals in the U.K., U.S., and Austria. They found that almost 40% of those patients who survived experienced some kind of “awareness” during the time when they were clinically dead before they were able to be revived.

One man, a 57 year old from Southampton, recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room. He was able to recount the actions of the medical staff in detail and described the sound of the machines despite being unconscious and “dead” for 3 minutes. Although many couldn’t recall specific details, common themes of peacefulness, bright light, and altered time emerged.

While medical professionals don’t know what causes this phenomenon, doctors involved in the study are hopeful that their findings will open the door to more extensive research into what happens when we die.

Read: The Telegraph, Largest Study Into Near-Death Experiences Discovers Awareness May Continue Even After the Brain Shuts Down, National Post, 10-07-2014.