What is Pre-Planning?
There are two phases in pre-planning a funeral:
- Pre-Arrangement involves the selection of funeral-related services and products.
- Pre-Funding means paying for the selected services and products in advance.
- Provides time to plan a ceremony that is meaningful for survivors and reflective of one’s personal wishes.
- Reduces the likelihood of emotional overspending, indecision and/or possible family conflicts.
Some or all of the following might be a part of the pre-arrangement process:
- Discussing your wishes with family and/or friends.
- Selecting specific funeral services, e.g., traditional, graveside, full service cremation or memorial services.
- Selecting specific funeral products, e.g., a casket, outer burial container.
Questions you may want to ask:
- Which charges will not increase over time?
- Which charges may increase over time?
- Flow and where is my money invested?
- How do I know my investment is secure?
- What happens to excess funds, if any?
- Can my funds be transferred?
- Can I make payments over time?
- Are my funds protected from Medicaid?
- What happens if the merchandise I select is no longer available?
- Will I encounter additional expenses if I choose to involve a second funeral home in another town, city and/or state
- How will these arrangements be coordinated?
- Advanced payment serves as a hedge against inflation by paying for tomorrow’s funeral at today’s prices.
- Protects financial assets in the event of the need to apply for SSI/Medicaid assistance for long-term health care.
- Important aspect of a comprehensive estate plan.
- Provides peace of mind.
Decisions made in advance may certainly relieve a level of unnecessary concern and eliminate potential burdens for survivors. Consult with your licensed funeral professional to decide what is most appropriate for you, your family and friends.
When to Pre Plan?
- After any significant transition or lifestyle change, e.g., the birth of a child, the death of a family member, and/or before health begins to decline.
- When considering estate planning options, e.g. making a will, prior to preparing for any type of public assistance (Medicaid/Passport).
- When considering senior living options(Independent/Assisted).
Who Should Pre-Plan?
- Recognize the inevitability of death and are willing to consider it in their planning.
- Feel pre-planning would be a valuable sharing experience with family members.
- Want to provide guidelines for survivors.
- Want to have services in a place they no longer reside.
- Have no close relatives.
How to Pre-Plan?
- Make an appointment with your funeral professional.
- Record important personal biographical and statistical information in a permanent file at the funeral home.
- Select and plan for the numerous elements of a meaningful and personalized funeral or memorial ceremony such as location, speaker and/or officiant.
- Choose the appropriate memorialization items which may include burial or cremation casket, burial vault, cremation urn, flowers, permanent grave marker or monument.
- Decide on a prepayment option, if desired, to secure prices and assure survivors are not faced with unexpected costs at the time of death.
- Many funeral homes provide certain guarantees for advance payment of funeral expenses either as a one-time lump sum or payments over time.