Pre-planning Funeral Benefits
The idea of pre-planning funeral expenses and arrangements may be difficult to contemplate. Dealing with the concept of one’s mortality is complex and can bring on many feelings. Maybe you’ve been wondering to yourself for a while if and where to start the process, or perhaps you’ve decided that now is the time to begin. Pre-planning funeral expenses and arrangements can be beneficial both for yourself and for your loved ones for many different reasons. The process can be difficult to navigate, but it doesn’t have to be.
The pre-planning of funeral expenses and arrangements has become more common in recent years, as individuals are embracing their power of choice and also the ability to help their loved ones in the difficult time of bereavement even after they have left. Many even find it comforting to know that they are leaving their loved ones with predetermined decisions and direction for what will be an emotionally difficult time. It may be hard to talk to loved ones beforehand, or it may be difficult for loved ones to truly hear and absorb wishes when discussing something they don’t yet want to face. Having pre-planned arrangements can help the process tremendously.
One of the most common reasons individuals cite for the pre-planning of funeral expenses and arrangements is the cost that it saves their surviving family members. Last-minute arrangements are often more expensive when compared to plans that have been made beforehand, and it makes many individuals feel more at peace knowing that finances will not be pressure on their family.
How to Begin the Funeral Pre-Planning Process
Beginning the process of pre-planning funeral expenses or arrangements can be the most daunting part of it all. Often people don’t know where to turn, or who to begin having conversations with. It’s best to begin with the broader concepts, such as what your wishes are, before digging too far into details.
Questions such as whether you’d prefer to be cremated or have a traditional burial should be considered first. Is there somewhere you have thought of being buried? Oftentimes people have pre-purchased a burial plot or planned to be buried next to a spouse or family member. This is the perfect spot to begin. If you have already purchased a plot, that is one expense that you will not have to plan for as it has already been taken care of. Make your family aware of this, although they may already know.
Another broad consideration to begin thinking about is what kind of service you would like to have. Some people prefer traditional religious services, while others prefer a simple, more private memorial service to be held at a later point in time. There is no right or wrong decision and you should choose what feels right to you.
Once you’ve become acclimated with these larger concepts you will have a better idea of what you will need to plan specifically and what costs you will need to look at.
Deciding on the Details
Once you’re ready to start planning the details you can begin to narrow your focus on what you would and would not like to plan and pre-fund. Maybe there is a funeral home that your family has always used, and you would like your service to be held there as well. If you’ve decided on cremation, you may want to start looking into local crematories and comparing prices.
There are lots of funeral pre-planning services out there, some of which allow you to pay for and select everything down to the flowers. If you’re a very detail-oriented person or have a very specific vision of how you would like your service to be remembered, this may be the route for you.
Who Can Help with This Process?
The pre-planning of funeral expenses and arrangements should always be done via contract, in writing, signed by authorized parties. Oftentimes, legal stipulations dictate that only an official funeral director may pre-plan a funeral with an individual. Funeral directors hold specific licensures in the state they operate and most have undergone an apprenticeship prior to becoming licensed. On average, a funeral director has undergone 3 to 4 years of training before gaining their credentials.
If you’re looking into pre-planning your funeral expenses and arrangements, call around to a few different funeral directors, as most offer entirely free consultations. Find someone you’re comfortable speaking with, who makes you feel at ease, and who takes the time to listen to and answer your questions. As this will be one of the most sensitive things you have done in your life, you want to be sure you are dealing with someone you are entirely comfortable with.
Your state may have different legal requirements and there may be companies that are allowed to act as middlemen and help you through the process without dealing with a funeral director directly.
How Will a Funeral Director or Planning Service Help Me Pre-Plan My Expenses?
A funeral director or planning service will be able to provide you with an itemized list of expected funeral expenses. The list will outline the costs of each service and items they offer, so you can begin to look at what you can afford, what you would like, and solidify the more detailed decisions.
What Are My Options for Pre-Planning Expenses?
There are many ways to set aside, or pre-plan, funeral expenses. Options include setting up a trust, purchasing a whole life insurance plan with pre-need inclusions that stipulate the policy designate money be paid for a funeral, setting up a payable-on-death account (an account of which ownership transfers directly to the funeral home upon death), or creating a savings account with a specific family member designated to have the “right of survivorship.” There are also special “funeral insurance” plans that allow you to take out a policy to help with pre-planning funeral expenses.
The Benefits of Pre-Planning Funeral Expenses and Arrangements
There are many benefits to pre-planning funeral expenses and arrangements, but there is none greater than the peace of mind you will receive knowing that all of your final wishes will be met, that everything is documented on paper in a signed contract and that your family will not have to worry about making decisions during their time of grief. This is the most common feeling people report after pre-planning their funeral expenses; a feeling of peace and comfort.
The benefits will go beyond your own peace of mind as well. Your family will have the direction they need to ensure that your wishes are met, taking out any guesswork for them. It can relieve them of the sense of second-guessing themselves, wondering what you would have wanted, and more. Having documents and instructions that clearly explain things can be extremely helpful in times of grief, as people often find it difficult to make big decisions when they are overcome with emotion.
Pre-planning your funeral expenses and arrangements can greatly help your family and yourself. If you’re looking for more information for planning ahead, contact us today to speak with an expert who can guide you through the process.