Planning a Funeral
Expressions of Sympathy™
Peace of Mind
ou plan for your first home, your child’s education, and your retirement. Having and keeping an organized plan is helpful toward being prepared and living comfortably in the future. More and more families are realizing this, as well as the benefits of planning their funerals ahead of time.
Many people often feel a little uneasy when they think about their own, or a loved one’s funeral. This is a normal reaction. But preplanning a funeral can offer a surprising degree of emotional, and sometimes even financial, security. It can also relieve your family of having to make important organizational and financial decisions during a period of stress and grief. A preplanned funeral gives your family peace of mind, knowing your funeral service was conducted according to your wishes.
The most important thing to remember in this process is that you should do what is right for you and your family. While preplanning your funeral is the foundation for a variety of planning options, individuals also find prepaying to be advantageous, both personally and financially.
Prepaying helps to ensure that the financial responsibility for funeral costs is not placed on your family members. Completing this in advance relieves survivors from paying for the costs. If you are able to purchase a guaranteed-price contract, you may also save money because prices will be locked in at today’s rates, eliminating the effects of inflation. Prepayment may also help you qualify for Medicaid/SSI benefits at an earlier time.
Other tips for preplanning your funeral
-Chose a licensed funeral director who has a good reputation in the community.
-Have at least one family member sit in during the arrangements to help plan.
-Make sure that everything you discuss is put into writing and give copies to your family.
here are various ways you can plan a funeral. Whether you chose to preplan, prearrange or even prepay, make a decision that feels right. Taking steps to being prepared provides a wide range of benefits for you and your family, including the ability to:
-Make your funeral wishes known to your family and your funeral director.
-Educate yourself about the many decisions involved in planning a funeral.
-Your choices are nearly limitless, and narrowing decisions ahead of time can help.
-Take time to find the right funeral director and funeral home.
-Make arrangements when you and your loved ones have more time and a clearer perspective, rather than when you or your family is under stress.
-Receive more input from your family, which is who a funeral is really for. This also helps prevent disagreements about your wishes, giving your family a clear idea of the type of service you want.
Preplanning involves your own personal touch. It also allows you to make adjustments when the time comes. Life is full of change, and your loved ones may want to make a few adjustments later on that make the service even more meaningful. For that reason your plan should be flexible enough to accommodate new thoughts and considerations that arise as time passes.
f you feel prepaying is for you, be sure to go over all available options with your funeral director. Remember, like any contract, ask any and all questions you may have regarding your plan before you sign an agreement. Options for prepaying funeral arrangements may include:
-A regulated trust that can be established by a funeral director through Michigan Funeral Directors Association Master Escrow. Funeral Homes in Michigan by law are unable to privately hold the money you invest. We are regulated strictly by the state. Unlike many of the cemeteries in the state we have strict regulations on what we can do with prearranged monies.
-When paying the contract in full then funeral home will lock the prices and guarantee any services or merchandise selected in the future.
-A guaranteed contract can be entered into with payment options. The funeral home allows the total contract to be broken down into payments but not to exceed four installments. You can 1st prepay the funeral homes service charge. 2nd the merchandise or burial space items. 3rd, the third party charges like monies set aside for clergy. 4th, any remaining balance due.
-There are non-guaranteed contacts also. In non-guaranteed contracts the money is also invested with Michigan Funeral Director’s Association Master Escrow for third party vendors. Examples are cemetery or crematory charges, floral charges, newspaper notices, medical examiner’s charges, and death certificates. This money will gain interest over the period of time invested. If the gained interest covers the charges at the time of death any surplus interest would be refunded to the next of kin. If the money does not cover the total amount of third part charges, the family is responsible for the difference.
There are also companies that sell life insurances or an annuity that can be purchased, equal to the value of the selected funeral. A savings or certificate of deposit account earmarked for funeral expenses can be designated as “payable on death” (POD) to the funeral home. These two options are not recommended because these options do not lock in or guarantee the funeral contracts.
Each method has its advantages and varies from state to state. To help determine which option is best for you, make sure you to ask your funeral director the following questions:
-What types of contracts does the funeral home offer?
-Who receives the interest on the account?
-Who must pay the taxes on the interest gained?
-Is the payment refundable, in part or full?
-Can the plan be transferred to a different funeral home?
-What happens if the funeral home goes out of business or is sold?
-How are the funds invested?
-Is an irrevocable agreement right for me?
Once you have made your prearrangements, keep a copy of your plan and pertinent paperwork in a safe place. Do not put this information in your will because that document is read after the funeral. Also, tell a close relative or friend what arrangements you’ve made and where the information may be found.
Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions regarding preplanning. Our professiomal staff is knowledgeable and willing to assist you in all aspects of preplanning a funeral.