We recently met with a client (let’s call her Mary) that had just lost her mom. It wasn’t necessarily a surprise to Mary as her mom was in her 90’s and had been declining in health. Mary’s mom had done all the typically recommended estate planning; correct beneficiary designations, updated her will and trust, etc. However, according to Mary, one of the most helpful things her mom did was to take care of her funeral arrangements ahead of time. Mary’s mom picked out her casket, plot and all the other necessary funeral arrangements. This was a huge relief for Mary.
Even though Mary knew this day was coming, the fact that she didn’t have to worry about those details during such a difficult time was such a relief and Mary was very grateful that her mom had taken care of this for her.
As we were writing this article, we googled funeral planning to see if we could provide you with some links to resources on this subject. Interestingly, the first number of hits brought up articles that highlighted the problems with pre-paid funeral expenses. Although we agree that other options could potentially be more financially sound than pre-paying your funeral expenses, we believe the authors of these articles are missing the point. The point is that Mary had a few less decisions to make as she was going through her grieving process because her mom planned ahead of time. Regardless of whether or not her mom pre-paid those expenses – the decisions were already made. Mary looked at this as one last gift her mom gave her.
The net is that taking the time to make these decisions ahead of time can provide much relief for those you leave behind. You just need to be careful and diligent if you decide to go this route. There’s plenty of information online that provide insight (pro and con) regarding planning for your own funeral (see below). We would be happy to help you weigh your options to make sure you take into consideration the financial aspect of planning your funeral ahead of time.