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Life and Health


By October 1, 2010No Comments

Most of us don’t enjoy thinking about our own funeral. If you’re like many, the mere sight of a casket or urn is enough to send shivers down your spine. However, if you take some time to plan ahead, you could save your family tons of heartache and money down the road. According to a 2007 AARP survey, 34% of Americans over the age of 50 have done some pre-planning and 23% have pre-paid a portion or all of the funeral or burial expenses for themselves or someone else. That means a whopping 20 million people age 50 or older have already paid for at least some funeral expenses. Are you one of them?

Why pre-plan?

If you’ve ever planned a last-minute funeral, you know first-hand that it’s an extremely stressful event. Families planning an unexpected funeral often argue about what their loved one would have wanted. They are forced to make hasty decisions during an already painful time.

To top it off, these families also face the exorbitant price tag of their loved one’s funeral. These days, the traditional funeral and burial can cost up to $10,000 or more, depending on your location. Thanks to inflation, the cost of funerals continues to rise, year after year. That’s why pre-planning is so important. If you don’t want to leave your family with the financial and emotional burden of planning your funeral, you should consider pre-planning.

Pre-planning 101

If you’re ready to prearrange your funeral, simply contact the funeral home of your choice and ask about their pre-planning options. They might ask you to schedule an appointment with a pre-planning specialist. During your meeting, you can select the funeral merchandise and services you desire down to the smallest detail. The funeral home will record all of your wishes. When the time comes, all your family has to do is contact the funeral home, and they will put your plan into motion.

Funeral homes can help you set up a funeral pre-payment plan, as well. If you choose to pre-pay for your arrangements, many funeral directors will offer a price guarantee. That means you can lock in funeral or cremation services at today’s prices. Whether your funeral takes place three or 30 years from now, the price will not rise. This could save your family thousands of dollars in the long run. Once you have made your funeral prearrangements, you can elect to pay a portion or the entire bill before your death. Final expense insurance is one popular way to fund a prearranged funeral.

Final Expense Insurance

Also known as burial or funeral insurance, final expense insurance is a Life insurance policy with a low face value, usually between $5,000 and $50,000. You buy Final Expense insurance directly from an insurance company-not from the funeral home. You can name any beneficiary, typically a family member, who would make the claim and receive the money upon your death. That beneficiary would then be responsible for using the money to pay for your prearranged funeral services. If your benefit amount exceeds the cost of your funeral, the beneficiary gets to keep the difference. For example, if you have a final expense policy for $14,000 and your services and burial end up costing $10,000, your beneficiary would pay the bill and pocket the extra $4,000.

Endless advantages

Preplanning and prepaying for your funeral offers countless benefits, including the following:

  • It ensures your family isn’t left with the stress of hastily planning a last-minute funeral.
  • It guarantees that money will be available for your funeral service and your final wishes will be followed precisely.
  • It removes financial burden from your loved ones.
  • It allows you to lock in services and merchandise at today’s prices and avoid the rising costs of inflation.
  • It guarantees your final arrangements will be handled even if you have no surviving family members left.

By deciding on the details and paying for your funeral now, you’ll gain peace of mind that your wishes will be followed to a tee. And perhaps more importantly, you’ll save your family a lot of stress, heartache and cash down the road.