Funeral Planning Guide

Funeral Planning Made Simple
Even though no one likes to think about the possibility of death, you still want to ensure you take the time to plan for it. Many families today don't feel open with discussing the mortality of a loved one, but it should not be ignored. You will want to discuss and plan for the event long before it ever happens.

When you take the time to plan your funeral, you are giving your family the relief they need during a time of grief and stress. The last thing they want to do is worry about any important financial decisions when they have lost someone they cared about deeply. In situations where a loved one has passed away, many people are not thinking clearly. They do not know what to do for you because you never expressed your wishes to them beforehand.

Anyone can say not to make a fuss and have a big ceremony. A number of people will say to just bury them and get it over with, but the funeral services are for those who are still living. It is not about providing a service to those who are deceased. Those who are still living need a time to gather and grieve openly. Funeral services are a time for family and friends to gather as a group and offer support for each other.

In today's society, more and more people are beginning to plan their own funeral. Roughly, 98 percent of funeral homes throughout the country offer funeral preplanning as an option for those who want to ensure everything is taken care of before their passing. Those who take the time to plan their funerals ahead of time are providing the peace of mind they need for themselves and all of their family members.

Planning Your Own Funeral: Should You Do It?
Planning your own funeral serves three distinct purposes. Firstly, it allows you to make the decisions on the type of disposition and funeral service you desire. It helps to prepare your loved ones for being able to handle your funeral service. You will have the time necessary to purchase a cemetery plot, as well as work on saving money to pay for the services, merchandise, plot and other necessary expenses. When you plan ahead, it helps to eliminate any surprises and uncertainties later on for your family and loved ones.

Next, planning your own funeral helps to spare those who are still living with any last minute decisions. Death brings about a number of emotions from confusion, grief, emotional upheaval, uncertainty and even irrationality. Under these types of circumstances, it can become increasingly difficult for the survivors to be able to make the best decisions. It could result in delays, extensive worry and expenses that could have been avoided.

If you take the time to prepay and plan accordingly, you will be providing your family with the relief from any potential financial burden and the financial security they need in a time of turmoil. Planning will help to eliminate any potential difficulties in a time of sorrow and stress for your loved ones. It helps to create a sense of peace and comfort for those who are struggling to cope with their loss. They will have the satisfaction in knowing that they are doing they part to carry out your final wishes.

Finally, selecting the funeral home beforehand helps to eliminate the need to end up searching for one in a pinch. The funeral home will already know what needs to be done upon your passing, and your family will already know what to expect and whom they need to deal with at the funeral home.

Necessary Steps to Take Now
If you are curious about planning your funeral now, you will want to take the following steps:

  • Research everything you need to know about funeral planning services. Take the time to call some of the local funeral homes to gather information. Make a follow-up visit to some of these locations with those you love to get a feel for their accommodations. Gather brochures and compare the various funeral homes in regards to their gods, services and overall cost.

  • Ask for brochures from AARP, funeral directors or the NFDA. All of the brochures will provide you with an excellent source of information on the various components of preplanning your funeral services.

  • Study all of the rules from the FTC and ask for brochures on various topics relating to caskets, valuts and funeral services.

  • Make a trip to the cemetery of your choosing to help select the specific location where you want your grave to be located.

Funeral directors are an excellent source of information, but it is imperative that you perform research on your own before you meet with them. You will want to be clear on the type of services you desire, so that way you are not talked into something that you do not want. The director will be able to discuss your various options, costs, services and personalization of your funeral services. They will be able to show you their facilities, cemetery, merchandise and set the stage for the completion of your services.

Since there is no emotional pressure, there is no time like the present to make imperative decisions. According to AARP, they advise everyone to prepay and plan for their funeral services. They indicate that preplanning is especially important to those who are elderly.

Traditional funerals will cost around $5,000 to $6,000, which includes the ceremony, casket, transporting of the remains and the services that the funeral director provides. This estimate is not going to cover the head stone, lot, mausoleum space or the cost associated with the closing and opening of the gravesite. Depending on the funeral home, it may not cover the limousines, vault, flowers, obituary and honorarium for your clergy. When it comes to an in-ground burial, you will want to add an additional one or two thousand on top of the aforementioned price. As you make the arrangements with the funeral director, you will want to clarify everything in writing as to what is included in the package you choose.

The ruling from the FTC is set into place for the protection of the consumer. Funeral directors are required to provide you with an itemized list of all the prices, which you can use to help compare the costs. The list needs to contain the cost of each item at the funeral and the type of services offered. Once you have chosen the items you want, the director must provide you with a statement outlining all of the prices for each individual item.

Purchasing Your Plot
Once you have made the decision to purchase the cemetery plot and the contract is being prepared, make sure to look over everything before signing any paperwork. You will want to ensure the maintenance and care of the site is provided. Contracts should have descriptions of the merchandise, itemized list of charges, interment rights and details of your payment plan.

Paying for the Cost of the Funeral
Before you make the payments for any services or goods, you will want to consider the following:

  • Make sure you know what you are paying for at the funeral home.

  • Ask the funeral home what they are going to do with the money you prepaid them.

  • Do they do anything with the interest income on money put into a trust>

  • Is there protection if the firm goes out of business?

  • Are you allowed to cancel the contract and get a refund of your money?

  • Can the plan be transferred if you were to die away from home?

Paying For the Cost of Your Funeral
The most common methods of paying for your funeral are outlined below:

  • Personal Accounts - This is by far the easiest method around with no lawyers required. Open a savings account with enough money in it to cover the cost of the funeral. It should be designated as payable on death to the funeral home.

  • Trust - In this method, you will prepay the cost of the funeral directly to the funeral home. The money will be put into a funeral home.

  • Life Insurance Policy - You will need to purchase a life insurance policy that is equal to the cost of your funeral. Benefits can be assigned to the funeral home or an individual.

Prepare a Brochure of Information about Yourself
Between finalizing your agreement and your passing, an extended length of time may pass. You could end up forgetting a number of details about the arrangement in that time. Your family will be confused about what needs to be done. It is imperative that you create a document that outlines all of the vital information about you as an individual. The brochure needs to include the following:

  • Personal information

  • Names and addresses of relatives

  • Names and addresses of other important individuals

  • Information about any organizations you belong to and educational background

  • Veteran status

  • Last wishes about the disposition of your body

  • Location of important paperwork

Tying Up Loose Ends
Once you have researched the type of funeral plan you desire, made important decisions, signed contracts and prepared the brochure for family, it is time to make sure everything is in one convenient location. Put everything into a safe where your next of kin will be able to find them. You will have the peace of mind in knowing that everything is taken care of for your loved ones. For more information, sign up for one of our consultations today.


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