Planning for your funeral pre-arrangement enables you to determine your last wishes in advance. You can gain peace of mind by choosing the services and products you want after you pass. Moreover, putting your affairs in order now will save a lot of heartache and burden for your loved ones. Your funeral pre-arrangement is indeed an important part of your overall estate planning. You can decide what type of funeral and commemorative service you want to have. Do not leave these decisions to your loved ones. Remember: reading the Will is not part of a funeral pre-arrangement; this is often done after the funeral and commemorative service. These decisions must be made carefully, with love, to help your loved ones to overcome a very difficult moment in their lives.
Thinking ahead can help you make informed and thoughtful decisions about funeral arrangements. It allows you to choose the specific items you want and need, and compare the prices offered by several funeral providers. It also spares your survivors the stress of making these decisions under the pressure of time and strong emotions. You can make arrangements directly with a funeral home.
An important consideration, when pre-planning a funeral or celebration of life, is where the remains will be buried, entombed or scattered. In the short time between the death and burial of a loved one, many family members find themselves rushing to buy a cemetery plot or grave — often without careful thought or a personal visit to the site. That’s why it’s in the family’s best interest to buy cemetery plots before you need them.
You may wish to make decisions about your arrangements in advance, but not pay for them in advance. Keep in mind that over time, prices may go up and businesses may close or change ownership. It is important to make sure your family is aware of your wishes.
Put your preferences in writing, give copies to family members, and keep a copy in a handy place. Don’t designate your preferences in your Will, because a Will often is not found or read until after the funeral. And avoid putting the only copy of your preferences in a safe deposit box. That’s because your family may have to make arrangements on a weekend or holiday before the box can be opened.
Make your wishes known
Many families have made pre-arrangements for their funeral services and prepay some or all of the expenses involved. If you’re thinking about prepaying for funeral goods and services, it’s important to consider these questions:
- What are you are paying for? Are you buying only merchandise, like a casket and vault, or are you purchasing funeral services as well?
- Prepaid funeral plans can be transferred to another funeral home at any time.
- What happens to the money you’ve prepaid?
- What happens to the interest income on money that is prepaid and put into a trust account?
- Are you protected if the funeral home you deal with goes out of business?
- Can you cancel the contract and get a full refund if you change your mind?
- What happens if you move to a different area or die while away from home?
Be sure to tell your family about the plans you’ve made; let them know where the documents are filed. If your family isn’t aware that you’ve made plans, your wishes may not be carried out. And if family members don’t know that you’ve prepaid the funeral costs, they could end up paying for the same arrangements.