Let’s face it – death is inevitable
. And as the saying goes, so are taxes! But while you can’t always control the amount of taxes you’ll pay, you can
be prepared financially when it comes to your end of life “celebration.”
Funerals can be one of the most expensive purchases a person can make. In fact, standard funerals can end up costing anywhere from $6,000 to well over $10,000 for the whole package. By planning ahead, you can spare your family the intense stress of both grieving for you and finding some way to come up with that much money.
The tricky part is, you can’t necessarily “shop around” for the best funeral prices like you would for a new car, or a new living room set. But there are things you can do to make sure you cover all your bases. So . . . Let’s take a look at what goes into planning a funeral, and how to ensure the smoothest arrangements so your family can mourn in peace
. Formal vs. Informal Funeral Planning
Death can be an uncomfortable subject to talk about with family, and you might think it’s easier to just ask for something simple. But you also must realize that funerals and memorial services are for the living, not the deceased. It’s a way to bring your family together to mourn openly and provide support to each other.
You can either choose to arrange your funeral formally or informally. By taking the informal route, all you need to do is fill out a checklist and determine broad aspects of the funeral such as what your budget is, what your wishes are (burial, cremation, or donation to science), how your estate will be split, and how you want to organize your personal records. These tasks are often discussed with a lawyer or other “family representative.”
Formal planning requires more thought and preparation, of course, but can make for a much better experience. This is when you would meet with a funeral director and actually set up specifics, such as the type of casket you want, flower arrangements, type of burial, place of burial, and more. You can even take it a step further and secure these things, either through down payments or by prepaying most of it.
If you decide to take the formal plan method and end up paying for some or all of your funeral services, make sure you revisit the plan every couple of years and make any necessary changes. Whether or not your tastes have changed, funeral homes are still a business after all; and businesses can close down or change services. Make Your Wishes Known
Finally, regardless of which type of planning you choose, make sure you make more than one copy of it, and hand it out to several family members. Avoid putting a copy in your safety deposit box, or outlining your preferences in your will; if your family has to make arrangements over the weekend or a holiday, they won’t have access to your deposit box, and wills aren’t usually read until after the funeral.
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. Federal Trade Commission. Web. 10 June 2012. <http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/products/pro19.shtm>.
"The Importance of Funerals." CaregiversLibrary.org
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"Why Is Preneed Funeral Planning Important?" FuneralPlan.com
. Web. 9 June 2012. <http://www.funeralplan.com/funeralplan/preneed/whypreplan.html>.
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. Web. 9 June 2012. <http://www.funeralresources.com/category/end-of-life-planning/>.