Death is not a topic many people prefer to discuss. However, discussing funeral planning and making arrangements can be a smart financial move and one that limits large decisions at a time of heightened emotions.
Every year millions of people in North America make the decision to pre-plan a funeral. The process is also known as preneed planning. Individuals can even take out insurance policies that direct benefits to funeral expenses.
The main purpose of pre-need planning is to alleviate the financial burden and decision-making during times of grief and stress. Well-executed plans can make the funeral process run like a well-oiled machine.
It’s never too early to begin pre-planning a funeral. Making a list of information that will go to a trusted family member, executor of one’s estate or a funeral director is one way to start. Here are some items to include:
Date of birth
Place of birth
Social security member
Location of will
Place of disposition, whether a cemetery or crematorium
Organ donation preferences
Funeral and/or wake preferences
Name of funeral home and director
Copies of receipts and contracts for any services purchased
Any other important information, such as location of safety deposit box information, attorney names, etc.
There are very good reasons for preneed planning. All arrangements can be thoroughly considered and spelled out so they meet a person’s desires. If he or she has a preference in cemetery or prefers to be interred at a mausoleum, these requests can be expressed and not assumed by family members.
Pre-planning also enables a person to shop around for the most affordable services, caskets and funeral homes. Because the average cost of a funeral is between $10,000 to $15,000, it is important to spend money wisely. Pre-planning also helps avoid inflation of costs later on, enabling a person to lock in the cost of services now.
Stress and grief can make family members unable to cope with decisions during the time of death. As a result, one of the most important reasons for pre-need planning is to make the process one in which close friends and family members can come to grips with the death, rather than having to run around for a few days and make arrangements in haste. This way loved ones can simply remember a person how he or she was instead of choosing clothing, disposition places, service wording, and the like.
A funeral director can walk a person through the process of pre-planning a funeral. He or she is often licensed to sell cemetery plots and can take much of the work out of the process. A community or family-owned business may have a rapport in the area and offer the best deals or the desired level of personalized service.