Today, we hear more and more about estate planning. And the more you read the papers, look at direct mail delivered to your door, or listen to the radio, the more you hear about people pre-arranging or pre-paying their funeral expenses.
Are there good reasons to consider funeral pre-planning? Absolutely.
BENEFITS OF PRE-PLANNING
- Pre-paying funeral expense helps “get your affairs in order” along with preparing your will, tax planning and obtaining adequate life insurance. It’s a responsible part of protecting your family’s future.
- Pre-paying can reduce the emotional burden of having to make detailed arrangements in a short period of time, at a time of sadness, stress and vulnerability, and when so many other decisions and arrangements have to be made.
- Pre-paying eliminates the financial burden to your family, who may not be prepared for this expense.
- Funeral decisions made in advance, at a time when everyone is calm and in good health, are more likely to be rational and carefully thought out, than those made in a hurry, at a time of upset and vulnerability.
- Planning ahead will make for better informed decisions. People today are not typically well informed about funeral options and prices. It’s not something we learn about in school, most of us don’t have much experience at organizing funerals, and most of us don’t shop around (although it’s a good thing to do that – to compare facilities, prices and the attitude of funeral staff.) Pre-paying in advance gives you a chance to think things through carefully, discuss them as a family, and come to a sensible consensus.
TIPS TO REMEMBER
- Be sure to talk through your funeral plans with those who care about you. Remember, the funeral is for them.
- Be sure you notify your family and executor of your pre-arrangements. If you are counting on putting your wishes into your will, don’t. Most often, the will is not read until after the funeral, and by then it’s too late to make your wishes known.
- Your executor has the authority in law to finalize your funeral arrangements so be sure it is someone you trust to carry out your funeral plans and wishes. If this is someone other than your next of kin, be sure they both know what your funeral plans are, and where you have made them.
- You can make funeral pre-arrangements at the funeral home or in your own home, whichever is most comfortable for you.
- Choose a funeral home that meets all of your needs in terms of the facilities they have, their prices, and their staff. But also choose one that provides a guaranteed prepaid funeral contract (not all funeral homes guarantee the price like Sunset Funeral Home does), and one that you can trust.