Ten Questions for Funeral Planning
Here are 10 Questions for funeral planning which often arises.
1. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PREARRANGE MY FUNERAL?
A funeral is more complicated to arrange than many people realize. When a funeral is planned after someone has passed away, family and friends have to make decisions while still reeling from the loss of a loved one. But all the details can be arranged before you go, from detailed selections of songs and readings to purchasing a casket and securing the services of a funeral home. Prearranging is the act of making those plans and purchases before they are immediately needed.
2. WHY DO IT NOW?
Planning for your own funeral in advance might seem odd, but you can’t put it off forever. Obviously, you will not live to see the fruits of your labor. But your friends and family will. They’ll need your guidance and preferences to put on a funeral service that reflects your legacy. Help them now by making arrangements before it’s too late.
3. SHOULD I WORK WITH A FUNERAL HOME?
Funeral services providers are best equipped to provide the highest level of service and care in the handling and disposition of the deceased. In some states, the law dictates that a funeral services provider must be engaged for this purpose. Many other items could be overlooked by an amateur planner that a professional would anticipate and handle. If you want to accommodate friends and family, a funeral home will likely be best suited for your needs and will allow you to spend time reflecting with loved ones rather than fretting over event planning details.
4. SHOULD I PAY FOR MY FUNERAL NOW, TOO?
Prepaying helps completely remove the burden from your loved ones after you’re gone. In some instances, a life insurance policy pays out only when a death certificate is provided. Most people obtain the death certificate through a funeral services provider. If you wait to fund your funeral, your loved ones could possibly have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket then wait for the life insurance payout for funeral expenses. Some bereaved family members report that dealing with the expense of the service and splitting costs between relatives is among the most trying aspects of mourning.
5. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO PRE-FUND MY FUNERAL?
The simple answer is that costs vary by location and the type of service, so you should investigate costs for your preferred service in your area using eFuneral.com. However, the typical range for a funeral is $6,000–$8,000. The national average funeral cost is approximately $7,800. Typically, a cremation costs about $1,000–$2,000 less than a burial.
6. HOW DO I BRING THIS UP WITH MY FAMILY?
Broaching the subject of your end-of-life plans with family members can be emotional. The best way to approach the topic is with sensitivity and empathy, recognizing that the conversation may be more difficult for your family members to contemplate that it is for you. Set aside some time and let your family know this discussion is important to you. Make sure you cover all the arrangements you have already made or plan to make. Pass on your personal choices for details like readings, music, pallbearers, and eulogists, and provide a list of the friends and family you would like an invite.
7. WHAT WILL MY FAMILY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHEN I’M GONE?
Your family will be responsible for the proper disposition of your remains. Next, they will be tasked with planning the timing and details of your visitation/viewing and your funeral service. If you have prearranged your funeral, all they will need to do is contact your selected funeral services provider for next steps. With most details already taken care of, they will have clarity and calm. They can use the time after your passing to reflect and grieve rather than worry about what you might have wanted.
8. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PREARRANGING AND A LIVING WILL OR ADVANCED DIRECTIVE?
Living wills and advanced directives are focused on your wishes regarding medical treatment while you are alive. They allow doctors and caregivers to know what medical treatments and procedures you may or may not desire to be performed for you. While important, these documents are unrelated to funeral planning. To be most prepared, you should have both a living will/ advanced directive and prearrange your funeral.
9. DOES PREARRANGING HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH MEDICAID?
It can. Every state has different laws and regulations regarding whether or not irrevocable funeral contracts are exempt from countable assets when determining qualification for Medicaid assistance for long-term care. Most states allow irrevocable funeral contracts to be exempt. This means you may be able to prearrange and pre-fund your funeral service to reduce your countable assets in seeking to retain your assets and qualify for Medicaid. Research your state’s laws to be sure.
10. I’VE PREARRANGED MY FUNERAL. WHAT NOW?
Once you have prearranged your funeral, prepaid for your service and spoken to your loved ones about your plans, you can relax. Rest easy in the knowledge that you are leaving behind the best possible final gift: a plan that empowers your family to fulfill your final wishes.