A well thought out estate plan can protect you and your loved ones while you are alive as well as after you are gone. For your plan to fully protect you and your loved ones though, you will need to contemplate a subject matter that will not be particularly comfortable –your own funeral and burial. The Indianapolis estate planning lawyers at Frank & Kraft explain why funeral planning should be part of your estate plan.
The Cost of Dying
Thinking of your death and funeral in terms of the cost may be difficult to do; however, the reality is that dying is expensive. Moreover, by addressing the issue ahead of time you are able to prepare your estate and your loved ones for the eventuality of your death and the associated expenses. Experts tell us that, on average, you can expect to pay around $10,000 for a relatively modest funeral and burial service. Of course, purchasing a high-end casket, planning a larger service, or adding in a more elaborate tombstone will increase the overall cost.
Protecting Your Loved Ones
If you have ever experienced the loss of someone close to you, you understand how the days, weeks, and even months that follow can pass by in a grief filled fog. Your loved ones are likely to experience the same emotional response following your passing. One thing you can do now to help protect your loved ones is to incorporate a funeral planning component into your comprehensive estate plan. Consider the following reasons why doing so is a good idea:
- Your surviving loved ones will not make good decisions. Your surviving loved ones will not be in a position to make wise choices about much of anything because they will be saddled with grief. Moreover, they may completely forget any of your wishes when planning for the disposition of your body and you service.
- Conflict may arise amongst loved ones. Someone must be in charge of your funeral and burial. If it is not clear who that person is, conflict is likely. When two or more people think they know what you would want, it can cause the entire process to become a battle.
- Your loved ones may be taken advantage of by salespeople. Grieving survivors often purchase services they do not really need and spend considerably more on the funeral than was necessary because they make easy prey for salespeople. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission even has a set of rules for funeral homes that are intended to protect surviving loved ones from being taken advantage of and/or spending money they would not spend if they were thinking clearly.
Funeral Planning within Your Estate Plan
Including a funeral planning component within your estate plan takes a considerable amount of stress and pressure off your surviving loved ones. It also ensures that your wishes will be honored when the time comes. One popular funeral planning option is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust. An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is a special type of trust that is funded by the proceeds of a life insurance policy. As the Settlor, you create the trust and appoint a Trustee to administer the trust. This should be the person you wish to be in charge of your funeral and burial after you are gone. You then purchase, or transfer in, a life insurance policy, the proceeds of which pay out immediately into the trust upon your death. Those proceeds then fund your funeral service. Because trust assets are non-probate assets, your Trustee will have immediate access to the trust funds, making it simple and easy to access the funds needed for the funeral.
Along with providing the funding, however, you can also use the trust terms to ensure that your burial and funeral are carried out according to your wishes. For instance, you can use the terms to specify where you want to be buried or that you want to be cremated. You can be extremely detailed — providing a list of music, dictating the guest list, and choosing the flowers – or keep it general. Your Trustee will be legally obligated to abide by those terms once the trust activates. This all but eliminates the possibility of conflict over the details of your funeral and burial.
Contact Indianapolis Estate Planning Lawyers
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about funeral planning, contact the experienced Indianapolis estate planning lawyers at Frank & Kraft by calling (317) 684-1100 to schedule an appointment.