None of us wants to look forward to our own demise.
However, like any of the great milestones of your life – career planning, financial planning, wedding planning, or retirement planning – funeral planning deserves your attention.
Funerals and weddings have a lot in common – they both involve family gatherings, a church or other service, flowers, music, food, and a reception. All of these things require planning.
Unlike a typical wedding however, for which planning can be done over several weeks or months and is a joyously anticipated celebration, most funerals come upon us suddenly, allowing only a few days between when a death occurs and when a burial or cremation must happen – and the mood is anything but joyous.
Here are 5 top reasons why you should pre-plan your funeral:
1. Your exact wishes will be known and carried out when you die;
2. You can eliminate the tremendous financial burden a funeral places on your family;
3. You will reduce the stress and emotional burden your family must endure, sparing them agonizing (and expensive) decisions such as casket choice, burial or cremation … and oh, how to pay for it all!;
4. Your family will be able to focus on celebrating your life and being there for each other, rather than stressing out and arguing about the details;
5. Not least, YOU will have tremendous peace of mind knowing that your final arrangements are made, that your final wishes will be carried out, and that there will be no financial burden left for your family.
But what if I am traveling or wintering at my second home when I die?
Even more reason for you to have a solid pre-plan in place. Funeral plans can be set up to be portable, so they can be carried out by a funeral home at the location where you die. Insurance can also be acquired that will ensure that your remains are quickly returned to your home town, or wherever it is that you want to be buried, for a funeral or cremation to be conducted.
When is the best time to plan for my funeral?
The only worst time is at the time of your funeral. The further in advance you can plan and start setting aside the financial resources to pay for your funeral, the better.
You may be astonished to find that your family has been stressing about what will need to be done when the time comes, and will be relieved to know IN WRITING not only how and where you want your funeral to be done, but that the financial resources are already in place to pay for it all.
At-Need vs. Pre-Need Funeral Planning
“At-Need” funeral arrangements are those made at (or usually after) the time of death, usually by surviving next-of-kin, family, or perhaps a trusted friend.
Waiting to plan a funeral until the time of death is difficult due to the very short time frame allowed (burial or cremation must usually be done within a few days). This is also a very emotional time of grieving, which can cause or exacerbate family conflicts and strain relationships.
Payment for funeral services, which can be quite expensive, is almost always due at the time of or before the funeral. With costs for a simple cremation running at around $3,500 and a full funeral with burial as much as $10,000 or more, most people struggle to come up with the needed money in just the few days allowed.
“Pre-Need” funeral arrangements or “Funeral Preplanning” is done at some point prior to death, usually many months or even years. Preplanning often includes ensuring that there is money set aside specifically to pay for the funeral and final disposition costs, and can be set up so that the funds will pay for the funeral costs no matter where the deceased is located at the time of death. Preplanning can also provide for the costs of returning the remains of the deceased to a home town or preferred place of funeral and cremation or burial.
Preplanning will also document such desired details such as which funeral home will handle the body, where the service will be held, whether there will be a viewing or simply a memorial service, whether it will be a cremation or burial, where the body will be buried, what casket and vault will be used, what will the headstone or memorial plaque say, and even details of a service such as music to be played, flowers to be displayed, who will speak, and so on.
A qualified Advance Funeral Planner can help you sort through all of the necessary details and options and to set up a funeral pre-plan. For more information or to set up an appointment, contact Epilogue Planning Professionals at (715) 571-4160.
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