6 reasons why advance funeral planning makes sense
Advance funeral planning can help you make clear choices that are right for you and your family
By Jessica Catignani and Sara Slinker
How do you want to be remembered? It’s an important decision. Preplanning your funeral now, before the need arises, puts you in charge of how you will be remembered and ensures your funeral will be meaningful for your loved ones.
While no one wants to think about their own death or planning a funeral, creating an advance funeral plan may bring peace of mind to you and your family. Advance funeral planning allows you time to understand the process, helps you make clear choices that are right for you, and alleviates financial and emotional burdens for your family during a difficult time.
1. Remove the guesswork
If left to plan your funeral, family or friends may be unsure of your wishes. If you create an advance plan, you will reduce the number of decisions your family members must make during a stressful time. Preplanning a funeral service helps remove the guesswork and the strain, allowing loved ones to focus on their grief.
2. Be remembered how you want
Your funeral service should reflect your life and wishes while also offering comfort to your loved ones. Numerous decisions go into planning a funeral, including the type of service, disposition, location, and more. Planning your funeral in advance gives you the opportunity to decide which arrangements and service you prefer.
3. Cover expenses now
In 2017, the median cost of a funeral with viewing and a burial totaled $8,755 for basic funeral services and merchandise. By prefunding your funeral arrangements, you ensure that your family is not burdened by the financial costs. Preplanning also gives you time to consider all your options and look for the best deals. Without preplanning, family members may have to make quick financial decisions that could cause them to overspend.
4. Lock in today’s prices
Over time, inflation will likely cause funeral costs to increase; in fact, the average inflation rate for funeral costs is 3.43% each year. But if you purchase a prearranged funeral plan, you may be able to protect yourself and your loved ones against the rising costs of funeral arrangements. Preplanned prices can usually be locked in at current rates, which could save your family thousands of dollars over the long run.
5. Take your plan with you
A prearranged funeral plan can be transferable. If you move out of state or change funeral homes, your advance funeral plan can transfer with you. Most funeral homes will accept transfers and work with you to determine the status of the price guarantee.
6. Protect your funeral plans
When you apply for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, or nursing home care, a prepaid funeral plan is considered an exempt asset. To qualify for government assistance, such as Medicaid, applicants must spend down available assets until they reach a qualifying level. In most cases, funeral plans are considered an exempt asset, which can help you qualify.
How to Pay for Your Prearranged Funeral
Two insurance options can help you prefund your advance funeral plans.
Preneed Funeral insurance
Preneed insurance is used to fund a funeral service agreement between you and a funeral home. You decide every element you want included in your funeral service, which includes everything from the casket or urn to transportation for the family. The funeral home partner totals the costs, and that amount is the basis for your Preneed insurance plan. You can either pay the amount in one installment or through monthly premiums. Upon your death, the funds are used to pay the funeral home for your funeral.
Final Expense insurance
Final Expense insurance not only covers the costs of your funeral service, but it also covers any expenses your loved ones may face following your passing. These can include outstanding medical or credit card bills, estate taxes, legal fees, and living expenses. However, it doesn’t retain preplanned funeral costs at present-day amounts, and you’ll need to thoroughly list your wishes for how you want to be remembered.
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