Most of us plan for the events we expect to face in our lives… family, education for our children, retirement. When we plan, we usually try to find out as much information as we can so that we can make informed decisions. Making plans ahead of time for the one event that we all know our loved one’s will face, our own passing, should be no different.
Advanced Funeral Planning
Creating awareness is important. Sound decisions are made after first gathering vital, important information to help make that decision. Why? So that we are not forced to make hurried and sometimes regretful choices.
Even though talking about funeral planning may be difficult, we owe it to every family to let them know what current choices and options are available. Planning in advance allows you to make informed and sound decisions together with your family, so that everyone can have the peace of mind that your wishes are known and being followed. Whether you wish to ask a question, record information, or make decisions ahead of time, we are here to help.
The most important part of planning in advance is to simply gather your information and make the difficult choices that need to be made. This ensures that your loved-ones will not have to make those difficult decisions and choices and will be able have a personal service in your memory without missing some piece of vital information about you.
Inflation affects everything, including funeral costs. Why? Mainly because each year it costs more to do business. If funeral homes did not raise their costs over time, they would not be able to offer their facilities, services, and professional staff. At the same time, merchandise manufacturers and cemeteries increase their costs over time, and that will affect the total costs as well. The fact is that inflation will be a factor in the future cost of a funeral.
But there is something that you can do to control that. You can pay for your funeral costs in advance, and our funeral home will guarantee to provide those services paid for at any time in the future without further cost to the family.
How is this achieved? By law, all proceeds given to a funeral home to prepay for a funeral must be deposited with an independant third party until the time of death. Our funeral home will deposit the proceeds into a trust account or insurance policy, where it will receive interest to offset the effects of inflation.
At the time of death, the funeral home guarantees that the original proceeds and interest will cover any increases in the cost of the funeral. The bottom line is that the family will not face any expense for the services that were pre-arranged.
We encourage you to browse through the information presented here, including common questions that we are often asked about advanced funeral planning and the role that funeral planning can play in meeting Title 19 requirements for State Assistance. We are always at your service to answer any questions that you might have about Advanced Planning and encourage you to discuss your wishes, if not yet with us, then certainly with your family.
Common Questions about Advanced Planning
We aften get questions about the concept of Advanced Funeral Planning, and many families have similar concerns…
- What if I move, or what if you go out of business?
- If you have Preplanned and you move in the future, you take this plan with you. All of your personal information and choices are in your confidential file and that file goes with you to the new area where you are moving. Many folks who have also prepaid and guaranteed their costs are concerned that the funds are held at the funeral home. That is not true. The funds are held under the family’s name and are held in a third party trust or insurance company. The only time that they are released is when the death occurs and the survivors designate which funeral home gets the funds.
- Why Prepay? I can save the money for it myself.
- You certainly could do that. Many folks want to save on their own or use their existing insurance policies to pay for their funerals. Here are some things to consider:
- If you saved the money yourself, and you ever needed nursing home care or you suffered a long illness, those funds could possibly be depleted very quickly.
- Was the insurance policy meant to pay for your funeral, or was it meant to be used by your family to cover on-going living and/or educational expenses? Because funeral costs nearly double every 8-10 years due to inflation, many insurance policy proceeds can be used-up. Also keep in mind that some policy benefits are large when you are young, but when you hit a certain age, they decrease considerably, or convert to something more affordable. Those proceeds could also realistically be held up in Probate when the death occurs and not readily accessible to your survivors.
- What if I am not going to be using your funeral Home?
- We know that some families may not be using our services when the need arises. We also know that not all funeral homes can and do have preplanning programs in place such as ours. One of the benefits of preplanning with us is the fact that you can take advantage of the many options that we offer, and it is all transferable to anywhere. The main reason our program is in place is to help families get the preplanning process started. We feel that it is one of the most important things that you can do, and because there are so many options available to families today, we feel it would be an injustice to not let you know the benefits of those options.
- I think I am going to shop around and get the best price.
- Without question, shopping around has always been a good practice. It is wise to meet the ones who may be handling one of the most important days of your family’s life. Do not choose on price alone though. There can be major differences between staff and facilities when choosing a funeral home. Take note of the attentiveness, the care and compassion and the surroundings when making such an important decision.
- What if I choose a casket and many years down the road they don’t make that one anymore?
- Great question. Should that particular casket not be available anymore, you would get one of the same if not greater value in materials. In addition, we use exclusive merchandise manufacturers who have been making many of the same products for many years. Chances are that the same casket would be available many years down the road.
- I am not too concerned with my family making arrangements. I have done it before and it was not that difficult.
- Because funerals are all unique and not everyone deals with grief in the same way, there is no telling how any one particular person will handle the situation. Preplanning allows a family to discuss these important matters together, and when they are better prepared to do so. This way, there are no unanswered questions at the time of need.
- My children have said not to do this. That they would take care of things at the time.
- That is natural for children to say. What some are really saying is that they do not want to talk about losing you someday. More times than not, survivors have told us that they wished they had taken care of things ahead of time and those who had said what a relief it was that everything was done. In addition, survivors will many times be left with a funeral bill that can be financially strapping, only adding to their emotional burdens as well.
- I have drawn-up a will and everything that my family needs to know is in there.
- Wills are an excellent start. They are often the first step in Advanced Planning. Many times, though, wills are not read until after the funeral and that is no time to find answers. If you have already begun a will, you may want to record that information with a funeral home, so that the family will not have to do it at such a stressful time. In addition, most wills do not specify what type of casket, vault or urn. Choosing those items at a time of need can be the most emotionally and financially difficult thing to do.
- What if I do this and then change my mind?
- All of the difficult questions that you are answering and choices that you are making ahead of time can be changed at any point. One of the great things about Advanced Planning is the fact that it is flexible. We all know that situations arise, and what is a good choice for you today may not be in the future.
Where do I begin?
With communication. With your family, with a friend, or with us. It may be a difficult conversation to start, but once you do, you may be surprised at the number of things that your loved ones didn’t know about what you want. The main purpose of Advanced Funeral Planning is peace of mind, for you, and for your loved ones. Communication is the first step.
It can be intimidating to make that first phone call to discuss pre-planning, so many people join us at one of the seminars that we give on the topic in the area. We have spoken at church group meetings, senior centers, and libraries. Response has been very positive, and many people feel comfortable asking questions and discussing the subject in a group setting. Give us a call to see when our next scheduled seminar is going to be.
If you would like to go another step and discuss your wishes individually with us, or perhaps even get some plans for a service together, give us a call. Some people invite us into their homes to ask questions and make arrangements, others are happy to visit us at either of our two locations. Either way, we are always at your service and willing to answer any questions you have.
For Your Comfort
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