Let’s Talk About Funeral Planning
In life, we plan a lot of things — vacations, family, retirement, and get-togethers — but if there’s one plan we tend to shy away from, it’s funeral planning. It’s not the most comfortable thing to talk about, so why bother with it? Pre-planning your funeral ensures that your loved ones aren’t overwhelmed by both grief and difficult decisions regarding what they think you might’ve wanted. You are able to choose exactly what you want your end-of-life arrangements to be, giving everyone peace of mind and even saving some money in the process.
What’s the Deal with Insurance?
Before you get into the planning, there’s a particular type of insurance that needs to be discussed: burial insurance (also referred to as final expense insurance). Burial insurance not only helps pay funeral-related expenses including medical bills but any debts that may be left behind as well. Varying in price from $18 to $286 per month depending on your age, sex, health, and desired coverage amount, this is a great option for those seniors whose term life insurance policy has ended. To keep costs down, look for a company such as Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance that specializes in burial insurance, as they are more likely to offer you and your family a better deal (i.e., a higher cash death benefit and low rates).
Think About What You Want
To simplify the process, meet with the funeral home of your choice to put a plan in place for your funeral arrangements. This includes making decisions such as whether you’ll be buried or cremated, the type of service, and any personalization such as location, officiants, participants, guests, and design elements such as flowers and music. Keep in mind that you don’t have to have an official service; you may choose to have a private memorial service at home or have a celebration of life ceremony with friends and family. You may even opt for something a little more unique. Perhaps you’d like to have a sea burial, or go with an eco-friendly option such as a pod that grows into a tree. Should you choose to be cremated, there are various urns and scattering methods to explore as well. You can be as unique or as traditional as you’d like.
While you’re thinking about what you want your funeral arrangements to be, now is a good time to revisit your will (and create one if you haven’t already) to ensure there is no confusion about what is done with your estate once you pass. In your will, you can name an executor of your will, name beneficiaries (and alternatives), give directions for how property and assets will be divided, and even designate a caretaker for any pets you may have.
Know the Typical Costs
As crazy as it might sound, a funeral comes with a lot of costs, some of which are unexpected. The average funeral cost ranges from $8,000 to $10,000. Where are all these costs coming from? Well, when you consider the cost of a casket ranges from $2,000 to $5,000, an upright headstone is $2,000 to $5,000 ($1,000 if flat), and other miscellaneous expenses and fees such as flowers, body preparation, and transporting remains, the bill adds up quick.
To avoid leaving family members to foot such an enormous bill, you might think about a pre-paid funeral plan, but the risk is that the funeral home may go out of business or gain a bad reputation. Rather than pre-pay, consider burial insurance, a life insurance policy, or a revocable/irrevocable trust. Another alternative to consider is a payable-on-death account set up through your bank. In this scenario, you make deposits as you so choose and designate a beneficiary to receive the money after you pass away.
Planning your funeral might not be on your to-do list, but it should be. Not only will it ensure that your wishes are met, but it also gives both you and your loved ones peace of mind. Sure, it’s an uncomfortable process, but once it’s done, you’ll be free to continue living life to the fullest.
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