It must first be said that planning ahead is neither morbid nor fatalistic. It’s the same as having a will, or insurance, even estate planning. The death of someone you care for can often leave you overwhelmed with the loss of not only a loved one, but also unprepared for dealing with the arrangements of how to fulfill their final wishes. As a caregiver, you know the daily demands and sacrifices required of you to be there for your loved one. But it’s also important to consider what might happen if something unexpected happened to you, such as a car accident or sudden fatal illness. Here are eight things you should know about planning a funeral, either for you or your loved one.
Be informed about the choices – your funeral should be personalized to reflect your wishes. Today, no two services are alike. You should select and specify the services that are meaningful to you.
Record your wishes – make sure that your wishes are recorded in writing and shared with your family members and attorney.
Incorporate your family’s wishes – calmly and rationally discuss your wishes and decisions, involving those most affected by your death, to ensure peace of mind and comfort to the surviving members of your family and friends.
Decide the final disposition – whether you choose traditional burial, mausoleum or inurnment in a cremation garden, your wishes should be specified in your prearrangement document as well as clearly discussed with family members and loved ones ahead of time.
Don’t be afraid to ask about prices – the cost to arrange a funeral can vary considerably from place to place. Be careful to choose a funeral home that presents prices clearly.
Consider planning and prepaying for your arrangements – Prepaying for your funeral services makes good financial sense because it can lower the cost as well as ease any future financial burden on your surviving loved ones.
Having life insurance may not be enough – while life insurance provides a lump-sum benefit after death, there is no guarantee that the funds will not be consumed by the expenses that might have resulted from a long illness of serious accident.
Find out ahead of time what government benefits are available – while most funeral and burial benefits provided by the Social Security Administration or Veterans Administration are limited, under certain conditions, benefits are available. To find out exactly what you might be eligible for, contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov and for veteran’s assistance, call 1-800-827-1000 or go to www.cem.va.gov
Arranging a funeral can seem overwhelming and complicated, but there are providers that can be a vital resource for you. If you would like additional information from trained professionals, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org who will send you contact information for your area.
Content provided by Thomas Cox, Dignity Memorial