Pre-planning: A Smart Choice
Why should I consider pre-planning my funeral?
Pre-planning is the process of preparing well in advance for your funeral, or for the funeral of a loved one.
Many people plan ahead for major life events such as weddings, college, and the purchase of a home, yet don't plan ahead for the inevitable, their funeral. While it is difficult for many of us to think about our own mortality, the time to plan your funeral is now, while you are of sound mind and body.
Pre-planning for your funeral is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give to your family.
There are several important benefits of pre-planning your funeral, including:
- Ease the stress on your family: Next of kin must make between 70 and 75 separate decisions within the first 24 to 48 hours of death. It’s difficult to think rationally while making so many decisions within days of losing someone. Pre-planning provides you, your family, and your friends with peace of mind during a very emotional time, and eliminates most areas of second-guessing or potential conflict.
- Ensure that your wishes are known: Your family wants to celebrate your life in accordance with your wishes and desires. Unfortunately, in many cases these details have never been discussed prior to death. Pre-planning provides your loved ones with a detailed, documented understanding of your wants and desires, easing the burden on them in the days following your passing.
- It can ease the financial burden on your family: If you also elect to pre-pay for funeral arrangements, it can remove the stress on your family of paying for the burial, memorial services, and other related expenses.
- It’s easy. Anyone can do it, at any age, and you can change your mind at any time.
What arrangements can I make now?
Many choices can be made in advance, and the more you choose to make now, the less burden and uncertainty you will leave behind for your loved ones:
- Select your funeral home
- Decide on burial or cremation
- Select your preference of casket or urn
- Choose the type of service: religious/secular, military, or non-traditional
- Designate your pallbearers
- Pick the musical selections and readings that hold special meaning for you
- Decide on any special touches that will make your service meaningful to you and your family:
- Would you like to have a dove release? How about balloons?
- Are you a car buff – would you want to have a special vehicle included in the procession?
- Do you have any hobbies, belong to any organizations, or have any passions that should be represented in the service?
To begin the Pre-Planning process, please click here: Pre-arrangement Form.
How does Pre-Payment work?
Some people choose to pre-pay for their funeral arrangements at the same time as pre-planning. Pre-paying for your funeral reduces the stress and financial burden on your loved ones after your passing.
When you pre-pay with a funeral home, by law your funds are placed in a special burial trust account at an FDIC-insured financial institution. The funds are held in your name, and are designated in trust to the funeral home. The funds accumulate interest over time, which helps to offset the rising costs of inflation.
You may choose among several options based on your specific needs, from a one-time payment to a payment plan with monthly payment options. By pre-paying for your funeral, you eliminate any doubt and second-guessing later on by your family, who may question if they have spent too much or too little on your funeral.
Depending on your region, if your funeral costs less than the amount you have put aside, those funds will be refunded back to your beneficiaries when entered into a revocable trust account. If you have entered into an irrevocable Medicaid agreement, those funds would be refunded back to the county. For more information on what is applicable in your region, simply speak to your funeral director. Each year thousands of people decide to pre-plan and pre-pay for their funeral. These plans are designed to be flexible and can accommodate the many changes that often occur in people’s lives.
The National Funeral Directors Association has published a Consumer Protection Guide, including a “Bill of Rights for Funeral Preplanning” to help with pre-planning a funeral, which can be found here: http://nfda.org/planning-a-funeral/preplanning.html