“Preneed” plans (also known as “Preplanning”) are the funeral plans that people make for the living. Preneed funeral plans can be made at any time and offer many advantages. Funeral Homes, cemeteries, and other funeral service companies can help you preplan a funeral for yourself, your spouse or a parent.
The only reason to consider prepaying your funeral, burial, or cremation is to shelter your assets from Medicaid. Money you set aside in an irrevocable trust will be excluded from your net assets when your eligibility to receive Supplementary Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid benefits is determined.
Let’s face it: thinking about their own funerals makes most people uncomfortable. And most of the time, planning falls to those left behind. It’s often a last-minute, grief-stricken and expensive process that adds to the stress of losing a loved one. But it doesn’t have to be. You can take the burden off your family and loved ones by planning—and paying for—your own funeral ahead of time. Here are a few reasons to take the lead in planning before it’s needed.
You don’t leave any room for interpretation. Even if you think you’ve made your wishes clear, your family members may misremember conversations—or have different perspectives on things you’ve said over the years.
When you pass away without clearly-spelled-out wishes, your family is faced with difficult decisions. Cremation or burial? A religious or non-religious ceremony? Open or closed casket? Even seemingly trivial decisions—like the music played—can take on outsized emotional importance and cause contention between family members.
When you plan your own funeral, you don’t leave any decisions for your family to make. And that’s a good thing. It takes the burden off them—and leaves them with nothing to wonder or argue about.
You take the financial
burden off your family. Funerals are
expensive. Even a simple wooden box for cremated remains can
cost hundreds of dollars, and the costs go up from there. Even
if you’re leaving an inheritance behind, your family may not
be able to get to it—or get to it soon enough to pay for
funeral costs. That leaves them paying thousands out of
pocket. You can put in place a funeral trust or buy a
funeral insurance policy that insures your loved ones won’t
have to struggle to pay when the time comes.
You give them room to grieve. Having to plan a funeral puts a lot of pressure on grieving family members. Under these situations, many people either shut down or break down—and some people in your life will no doubt do both. By planning your own funeral, you give your loved ones space to handle their own grief. You also allow them to experience your funeral and find meaning in it without being responsible for all the planning and financials. That is a very valuable gift.
You ensure that your wishes are followed. Do you have strong preferences about how your funeral goes? Once you die, you have no ability to make sure those wishes are followed—unless you do all the planning beforehand. If you handle the planning for your own funeral, you can set your own preferences for cremation or burial, the location of your final resting place, and the programming of the event. There’s no chance someone will misunderstand or circumvent your last wishes.
Planning your own funeral is a great idea for a number of reasons. It takes the financial, emotional, and planning burden off your family—and it ensures that your wishes will be followed. These are all great reasons to consider planning ahead.
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