- To assure everyone is clear about the disposition of the body.
It seems simple, but it’s not always clear to everyone who has an emotional connection to the deceased just what will happen to the body. Even when the decision maker is very sure as to whether burial or cremation will take place, others, sisters, brothers, or even friends, may be equally certain about a form of disposition that is entirely different. This is especially true when the decision to bury or cremate will differ from previous family tradition. A pre-plan will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind about what a parent really intended.
- To assure everyone is clear about what will and will not be included in the funeral service.
The lovely thing about funeral services today is there are literally hundreds of ways to honor a life. Wonderful as that is, it also opens the opportunity for an endless variety of expectations about what will and will not be included in the funeral service/celebration of life. A pre-plan will leave no doubt about what will take place.
- To assure everyone is on the same page as to who will handle the funeral service
A pre-plan allows the deceased to determine which funeral home will be used, which clergy will be involved, and even which songs will be sung. For anyone who thinks they might want the last word a pre-plan is the perfect opportunity. The plan also assures that everyone involved in putting together the funeral feels confident in the decisions.
- To avoid disagreement regarding how much will be spent on the funeral
When a pre-plan is in place the question of how much to spend has already been determined. It was decided by the person who died.
- To keep the peace
When a parent dies, no matter how old we are, we become an orphan. Losing a parent is emotional. When emotions are running so high it can be difficult to keep all the family members on the same page. You are the same people who could never agree on what was the perfect pizza topping, now you must agree on hundreds of little decisions about how to bury your parents. It’s likely to be difficult. Figuring out how to honor parents and settle their affairs has been the undoing of many families. A funeral plan will help avoid a thousand little tense moments. It really might just save your family.
- To be sure no one has the burden of out-of-pocket expense while the family waits for the estate to be settled
It is not unusual for it to take six to eight months for a will to probate or an estate to settle. If the assets are complicated or the persons involved disagree it may take a year or longer. Most death care services, the funeral home, the cemetery, the caterer etc. will need to be paid at the time of service. This means family members may need to cover the costs while they wait for the estate to settle and funds to be distributed. When there is a pre-plan in place the funds are typically available for the pre-arranged expenses within hours. No one need cover costs while they wait for the estate to settle.
- To move assets into a tax-free situation
Estates are usually required to pay taxes. Depending on how a parent’s assets are passed to other family members there may be tax consequences. Funeral pre-plans are typically funded with an insurance product. The death benefit of a funeral pre-plan is not subject to taxes. When your parent pre-plans and pre-pays for his funeral those funds move from a taxable asset to a non-taxable asset.
- To avoid emotional overspending
When someone we love dies, we are grief stricken. We want to do something. We feel a need to demonstrate our love. We are full of emotion. A funeral pre-plan is made with a cool head. Your parent will put together a plan that takes you into consideration, but the plan won’t break the bank.
- To side-step inflation
No doubt you’ve had at least a conversation or two with your parents about how much a car cost back in the day, or how much their first house cost. You know the cost of everything pretty much increases over time. Most funeral plans offer inflation protection. The sooner your parents plan their funerals, the less it will cost.
- To provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing you did what your parents wanted you to do
In the end we all just want to do what mom or dad would have wanted us to do. We want to choose the right dress for her to wear, the right song to have sung, the right flowers and readings. We want the funeral service to be a perfect reflection of the love we had for our parents. When your parents complete a funeral plan, they leave you a gift. They give you a road map to follow so when your head hits your pillow the night after the service, you’ll close your eyes and drift off to sleep knowing you did well. That’s peace of mind.