The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys says it best, “Humans have a 100 percent mortality rate.” Because of this, it only makes sense to accept what the future will bring. Participating in the funeral planning process is one way you can do this while also lessening the burden on your surviving loved ones. So, keep reading as we touch on the basics of how to handle the practical aspects of an event you cannot postpone when the time comes.
Paying for a Funeral
Funerals cost money; a final farewell can set you back $10,000 or more. Fortunately, if you plan ahead, you don’t have to leave a big bill for your loved ones to settle on your behalf. The two most popular options are to invest in burial insurance or to prepay your funeral.
Burial insurance makes sense if you do not know which funeral home you want to handle your service. These types of policies may even have enough left over so that your spouse or adult children can pay off medical bills and any unfortunate debt that you left lingering. Look for a company that specializes in final expense policies. One example is Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance, which is the insurer responsible for the popular funeral advantage program. By working with a representative that only deals with burial insurance, you won’t have to worry about purchasing other products that you don’t need.
If you’ve lived in an area your entire life and plan to pass away there, it might make more sense to contact your funeral home of choice and ask about pre-need services. This gives you more control over what happens after you die. You can choose your own coffin, music, and even arrange for a certain hair or makeup style. While it might seem unsettling to participate in planning your own funeral, just remember that otherwise, your loved ones will be left trying to guess your wishes, which will only add to their emotional burden.
Types of Funeral Services
Regardless of the way you choose to pay, you should have an idea of what you want ahead of time. There are no rules or regulations that define how your funeral service has to be carried out. You might choose to have a traditional burial service, which typically lasts three days, two days for the viewing and a final memorial before heading to the cemetery. However, as Love Lives On explains, a funeral service is often centered on cultural or religious beliefs. Keep this in mind, particularly if your religious preferences forbids embalming, as many funeral homes have strict restrictions on how long a body may lay in wait without preservation.
In lieu of a traditional wake and burial, you might choose a simple graveside service with a memorial at a later date. In this case, your burial insurance might help cover the cost of internment and leave enough money aside for your family to host a large gathering.
Cremation is another option, which is much less expensive than a traditional burial. If you choose to be cremated, you will have greater flexibility on where your ashes settle after the process. Often, this is in a decorative urn, but many people request to have their ashes scattered on their home estate, a favorite golf course, or a national park. Contact your desired location before writing this into your final wishes so that your loved ones are aware of whether a permit is required. Keep in mind that you will have to ask permission and, in the case of a burial at sea, you must use a biodegradable urn and report the event to the EPA within 30 days.
While nothing can replace your life, having your final arrangements in place – and having them paid for – now is one of the best things you can do for your family. Dealing with death is never easy, but handling a loss while also struggling to pay the bills and plan for the future is doubly stressful. Don’t be afraid to open up the conversation now. Death does not wait, but planning ahead will allow your loved ones to focus on saying goodbye.
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