Benefits of planning ahead
If you find yourself hesitant to prearrange your funeral, even with the best of intentions, you are not alone. We all know intellectually that death is inevitable, but planning for and discussing it can be surprisingly difficult.
Would it be better in your situation to plan ahead, calmly and sensibly, when you are in a normal mental and physical state, when you have full ability to reason, and when you are able to discuss arrangements with your family?
By prearranging your funeral you can:
- Make your wishes known
- Involve your family in making these difficult decisions with you
- Relieve your loved ones of the financial responsibility
Making your wishes known
Making funeral arrangements at the time of loss is extremely difficult for those left behind. One of the most caring, loving things you can do for your family is to leave detailed information which permits them to make the funeral service a personal tribute in keeping with the way you wanted.
Prearranging ensures that your family and funeral director know exactly what kind of funeral you want. Families tend to take comfort at the time of death, simply from knowing their loved one’s funeral reflects his or her wishes.
When the funeral, and sometimes even payment, have been arranged in advance, most of the decisions have been made, sparing uncertainty and confusion at a time when emotional stress may make decisions difficult.
Involving your family
When prearranging their funerals, some people find it helpful to involve other members of the family. Involving them can offer these benefits:
It can provide an outside perspective on the financial decisions that are being made.
Your family will be carrying out the decisions that are made as part of the pre-arrangement. They will have a much clearer understanding of your desires, wishes, and the reasons for these, if they are part of the process.
It enables family members to understand what financial arrangements have been made, where the funds are deposited, and what the funds are to cover (as well as items not covered by the deposited funds).
Sometimes older individuals don’t understand all of the legal and financial issues involved in the pre-arrangement contract, but are afraid to ask questions. A family member involved in the process is much more likely to ask important questions and understand the arrangements that have been made when it comes time to honor the pre-arrangement.
Prearrangement may or may not involve prepaying. Prepaying for a funeral offers you the advantage of paying for your funeral when you can afford it, thus relieving your family of a financial burden later. There are several options for funding your prearrangement, and state laws covering these financial arrangements vary. Ask your funeral director what options are available, and be sure you have a clear understanding of the different types of pre-funding vehicles.
Questions to ask about pre-funding include these:
- Is the prepayment refundable in part or in full?
- Does the prepayment cover any cost increases later?
- Who receives the interest on the account, and who must pay taxes on that interest?
- What happens if the funeral home goes out of business or is sold?
- In the event the purchaser of the plan moves, is the pre-funding plan transferable?
If you decide to pre-pay all or part of your funeral, Garden Chapel Funeral Home places your money into a trust account with Homesteader’s Life Insurance Company, where it earns interest until it is withdrawn to pay for the funeral at the time of death. Thus, as a protection to you, your money is not a part of the funeral home account or assets.
Take your time. Think carefully about what will be best for you and your family, and discuss why you want certain arrangements. By doing so now, you are assuring peace of mind for you and your family now and at the time of need.