When you pass away, your loved ones will be faced with planning your funeral. This can be a very difficult process during their time of grief, especially considering the array of decisions they’ll have to make and the huge expense that comes with a funeral. You can make this time easier for your family by making many of your arrangements before you pass away and since you have time to shop around, you may also save them a little money in the process.
What Arrangements Should You Make?
You can plan as little or as much of your funeral as you’d like. Your basic arrangements should include whether you prefer burial or cremation and if you choose burial, you should purchase a burial plot. Purchasing several family plots at a time can save money and also ensures that your loved ones will be buried near you.
When preparing for your funeral, you should meet with several funeral homes. They can help you pick out a package that meets your needs. There are however, some drawbacks to prepaying your funeral. Like any other business, funeral homes can go bankrupt and when you do pass away, your chosen facility may no longer be around. You may move between now and then, making the funeral home you selected inconvenient for your family.
To alleviate these concerns, you may just want to visit the homes and make your preferences known in your estate plan. If however, you do decide to purchase any services in advance, be sure to keep receipts with your final plan documents.
Stating Your Wishes
After your preparations are complete, advise your family and make a record of your decisions. You should include what arrangements you have already made and what still remains to be done. Include any preferences you may have, including music you’d like at your service or the person you’d like to conduct your funeral. Do not use your Last Will and Testament for this purpose as this document may not be read until after your funeral. Instead, with the assistance of your attorney, create a separate document stating your final plans and let your loved ones know where the document is located.
Paying for It
During your estate planning process, you should include a plan for funeral expenses. Your life insurance policy can be used for purpose or you can also create a separate account, often referred to as a Totten Trust. Another option is a Funeral Trust which allows you to set monies aside in a “protected” bucket, which can then be available immediately for final expenses if you pass away. By including this huge expense in your estate plan, you remove any concerns your family may have about how to pay for the service you’ve chosen.
To learn more about making your final preparations, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.