Funerals are expensive. In fact, some would argue, they are more expensive than they need to be. If you don’t plan these costs in advance, the remaining family members will stumble across the bill. Moreover, it forces them to make many difficult financial decisions at a time when they are under emotional stress. Therefore, it is really better for everyone if you plan in advance. Here are six things to do to prepare for future funeral expenses.
Why prepare for future funeral expenses
A few years ago, a friend of mine came to visit him shortly after dealing with his brother’s death. His death was unexpected. Most of the horror, sadness, grief, and terrible things were as a result. However, the whole situation of dealing with funeral decisions and the costs associated with them increased the tension dramatically.
Their parents were not actually in a position to pay for their son’s funeral. Therefore, she ended up bearing much of the brunt. Despite this, many family members wanted to participate in the decision about the funeral. They wanted to help pick out the casket, the flowers, the restaurants…all of which cost money.
Some common funeral expenses
So, in addition to all the shock and grief over death itself, my girlfriend found herself:
- Facing countless decisions about the ‘right’ things to get a funeral
- Debate with relatives about options and costs
- On the phone with banks trying to get loans to cover costs
- Covering her family’s travel costs to get to the funeral
- In addition, there was a financial burden caused by an unexpected vacation
- Dealing with funeral businessmen who were selling a lot in the sense of “Well, sure, you can put your brother on this plot in the cemetery is cheaper, but doesn’t he really like the very expensive plot of land here?”
It’s hard to make tough financial decisions at the best of times. Not to mention one decision after another, during one of the saddest periods of your life. This is what happens to most families when the deceased person fails to prepare for future funeral expenses.
6 things to do to prepare for future funeral expenses
With this in mind, you can start preparing for future funeral expenses today. Here are six things you’ll want to do to get started:
1. Find out which funerals you need to prepare for
Obviously, you’ll want to prepare for future funeral expenses for yourself. This is your responsibility. In fact, this is probably the reason you came to this article. However, once you do, you may want to think about other funerals you will likely need to cover costs when they occur. These include:
- aging parents
- Any older family member or close friend for whom you may find yourself financially responsible
- Siblings (depending on your family status)
- Children (nobody wants to think about this, but it’s something some families choose to prepare for in advance)
2. Practice talking about money and death now
How you prepare for future funeral expenses may vary from person to person. Your relationship with these people may affect him as well. The fact that talking about money and death are among the most difficult topics for people does not help at all.
Say, for example, that you want to talk to your parents about their funerals. However, they refuse to bring up the topic at all. In my family, for example, the conversation is always met with the blunt, “Oh just bury me in the backyard” and change of topic.
The more you and your family members learn to talk about both money and death now, the easier it will be to have conversations about planning a funeral. It’s something you can build on, especially if death is not currently in sight. So, start simple. Bring the topic up informally. Make it about those topics in general, not about “when you die.” Build for tougher conversations.
This is important even if the only funeral you plan is yours. After all, maybe someone in your life (your spouse, best friend, adult child) needs to know what you’re up to. So, start talking.
3. Download the Funeral Planning Checklist
Before you start preparing for future funeral expenses, you really need to know all that is involved in planning a funeral. Therefore, you must find, download and print a file Funeral Planning Checklist. Review them carefully so that you fully understand the decisions to be made at the time and after death.
4. Estimating funeral costs and making decisions
With a funeral planning checklist, you can learn your options for each step of the process, the decisions you’d like to make, and the estimated cost. For example, would you choose cremation or burial? If you chose cremation, what kind of urn would you want? Some people choose to bury or bury the urns; Will do? Do you want the jar to say anything? etc etc., and that’s just one of many decisions.
Let’s say you definitely want to cremate the body. Look for tractor options. price out. Get a good idea of the potential cost.
Do this for each step of your funeral and burial expenses.
5. Decide if you want a prepaid burial plan
If you’re really prepared to prepare for future funeral expenses, you need to decide whether or not to get a prepaid burial plan. This is where you make all the decisions now and work with a funeral home to pay for everything up front. Make sure to bypass everything, such as the plot of land, the gravestone, etc., if you decide to go this route.
Do you have to prepay? There is a lot of controversy frankly about this. a 2007 AARP Report He notes that down payment with a funeral home peaked in the 1990s and has declined ever since. a 2021 AARP Article In this thread it is recommended not to pay in advance.
They recommend instead that you plan everything in advance, then put that money into a bank account payable upon death. You have designated someone as a beneficiary for this account. You make all your desires known. You can continue to add to this bank account over time. And then, when you pass, they can access that money and use it at your funeral. Of course, you have to choose someone you trust to carry your desires, which goes back to the importance of communication.
6. Decide if you want funeral / burial insurance
Instead of a pay-on-death account (or in addition to one), you’ll probably want to pay for insurance that will help with funeral expenses. There are actually quite a few different options for similar end-of-life insurance. You can get funeral insurance, burial insurance, and final expenses insurance. Of course, life insurance policies sometimes also contain payments that help with funeral expenses. Therefore, it is important that you review all of your options carefully. You’ll also find some crossover between these terms, so the main thing is less type of insurance and more reading about each contract so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Have you had the experience of dealing with the financial burden of a funeral? Share your stories in the comments so we can all better understand this important issue.
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Catherine Vercello is a professional writer who loves to live a balanced life. She values a good work-life balance. She enjoys balance in her relationships and has worked hard to learn how to balance her finances to allow for a balanced life overall. Although she is only blonde at times, she always strives for perfect balance. She’s excited to share what she’s learned with you and discover more together along the way.