No one wants to think about planning for their own funeral. That’s why we prepared this article. It answers some of the more common–and more difficult–questions that people have about funerals and the options available. It also tells you why many people find prearranging their funeral or memorial service is the best decision they can make for themselves and their family.
Many people have done everything they can do to protect their family’s future; invested wisely, opened savings accounts and acquired insurance on their life and home, but haven’t taken care of their own funeral arrangements–leaving one of the most difficult tasks to their loved ones to figure out at a time of sadness and loss. That’s why it’s important to give serious thought to your personal wishes to plan your service in advance.
1. BE INFORMED ABOUT THE
How would you like to be remembered? Your funeral or cremation service should be personalized to reflect your wishes and should bring comfort to your family and friends. Today no two services are alike. Videos, photographs, music, special readings and the involvement of family and friends are all appropriate and encouraged.
2. RECORD YOUR WISHES
Many think they have taken care of everything by writing a will, establishing a living will or even purchasing their cemetery plot. But that’s not all.
A will simply leaves instructions for handling of an individual’s financial affairs, while a living will usually clarifies certain general wishes regarding medical treatment. The funeral or cremation still remains to be planned and paid for. Prearranging ensures your wishes are known.
You should make sure that your wishes are recorded in writing and shared with family members and your attorney. You should also keep a copy with your important papers in a place that is easily accessible to your family members. Your local Dignity Memorial provider offers a valuable Personal Planning Guide that can help record your wishes.
3. TALK ABOUT IT WITH YOUR FAMILY AND INCORPORATE
A funeral or memorial service is an important part of the grieving process. For family members and loved ones alike, the service provides an opportunity to express their grief, share memories and to celebrate a life lived. When planning your funeral or memorial service, the opinions and wishes of your family should be considered. Involving those most affected by your death can bring peace of mind and relief to those who will have to carry out your wishes. More importantly, knowing your wishes and carrying them out can bring great comfort to surviving family members and friends.
4. DECIDE THE FINAL DISPOSITION
Whether you choose traditional burial, mausoleum entombment or inurnment in a cremation garden, determining your final disposition is a very personal decision, influenced by your faith and beliefs. Your wishes should be specified in your prearrangement document as well as clearly discussed with family members and loved ones ahead of time.
5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK
The cost to arrange a funeral or cremation service can vary considerably from place to place. Be careful to choose a funeral home that presents its prices clearly and simply. Unfortunately, funeral and cremation costs are subject to inflation. When you pre-arrange, you benefit from selecting at today’s prices, free from future inflationary pressures. Prearranging enables you to keep your financial commitment to a comfortable level while eliminating the future financial burden placed on your surviving family members.
6. CONSIDER PLANNING
AND PREPAYING FOR YOUR ARRANGEMENTS
Planning your funeral or cremation service in advance can take care of the details. But only prearranging (prepaying for your services) can take care of the actual expense of the funeral or cremation service ahead of time, easing the future financial burden on your surviving loved ones. Prepaying for your funeral or cremation services makes good financial sense. When you prearrange, the cost of products and services you select may never be lower. Your local Dignity Memorial provider offers affordable prearrangement options with low monthly payments.
7. WHY INSURANCE MAY NOT
Usually, life insurance, as well as final expense insurance, provides a one-time, lump-sum benefit after a death has occurred. However, there is no guarantee that the funds will not be consumed by the expenses that result from a long illness or serious accident. Insurance cannot make the many decisions that are required at the time of need. Even with insurance in place, the actual funeral or cremation service still needs to be planned and paid for, and this can be a complicated task at a time of grief and loss. In addition, insurance policies are not protected against inflation. Prices of products and services will continue to rise but the amount of your policy coverage remains the same. Your survivors may not have enough left from the insurance proceeds to cover the higher cost of your funeral expenses. Prearrangements purchased through your local Dignity Memorial provider combine the benefits of insurance with a guaranteed funeral or cremation service and price–leaving the life insurance untouched for the living.
8. A PREARRANGED FUNERAL OR CREMATION SERVICE AND MEDICAID ASSISTANCE
If you plan to apply for Medicaid assistance for yourself or a loved one, a prearranged funeral agreement can be extremely beneficial in meeting your needs. In many states, a prearranged funeral or cremation service funded by life insurance may be treated as an exempt asset for Medicaid qualification purposes. This allows you to prearrange the service you desire while maintaining your assistance eligibility. Many states have no maximum limit for the amount of a prearranged funeral or cremation service. Please consult with your attorney before applying for Medicaid assistance to learn more about your state’s requirements.
9. FIND OUT AHEAD OF TIME WHAT GOVERNMENT BENEFITS YOU ARE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE
Unfortunately, most funeral and burial benefits provided by the Social Security Administration as well as the Veterans Administration (VA) are limited. Most families find that additional funding is necessary in order to provide the type of funeral or cremation service they find appropriate for their left one. To find out exactly what benefits you were eligible to receive, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov. For veterans assistance, contact the Veterans Administration office at 1-800-827-1000 or go to www.cem.va.gov.
10. SPEAK WITH YOUR LOCAL DIGNITY MEMORIAL PROVIDER-FOREST LAWN MEMORIAL GARDENS
Arranging a funeral or cremation service can seem overwhelming and complicated, but there’s always a Dignity Memorial provider close by who can help you. Our family service professionals are trained professionals who can be a vital support of resources for you and your family. Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Columbus is your local Dignity Memorial provider. Give them a call today to set up a time to meet with them so they can guide you step by step through the process of prearranging your funeral or cremation service.
Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens
5600 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43213