Sure, many of us have planned a surprise birthday party for a friend or a surprise visit to our parents for the holidays, but have you ever thought about planning ahead for your funeral arrangements? While it is not nearly as entertaining, planning for funeral arrangements can be an empowering, comforting, and thoughtful gesture.
Planning of this type refers to the process when an individual works with a funeral director to ensure that arrangements for a funeral service and burial or cremation are in place. Many people elect to address this type of planning in conjunction with their estate planning. The Elder Law Attorney working on their estate plan can help clients understand how to fit funeral planning into their financial picture and discuss choices for funeral homes and payment options. Additionally, it may be wise to make sure the attorney references any planned funeral arrangements in the Will.
Funerals have developed a modern reputation for being very expensive. There are a few ways that people choose to pay for funeral arrangements. A common one is establishing a Trust with the funeral director (Minnesota does not allow this type of planning). Another option is to purchase a life insurance policy equal to the funeral costs and payable the funeral home. In either case, the money does not become available to the funeral home until after death. Additionally, the funeral contract may designate a transfer of the funds paid to another funeral home. Consider speaking with an Elder Law Attorney or a funeral director for more information about these payment methods or to learn about other choices available.
During planning, you have the opportunity to choose a venue, select specific hymns or songs, designate a casket, and add any other personal touches you desire. Some Minnesotan’s even go so far as to select the type of food they want served after the service. If you want to be a part of writing your final chapter, some individuals have contributed to their own obituaries as well. Perhaps you don’t want to control the arrangements, but you have a specific friend or family member in mind who you would like to do so. In such a situation, it is incredibly important to speak with an Elder Law Attorney so as to include those directions within a Health Care Directive.
Why might people want to plan their own funeral? Well, because if they don’t that means that their family or friends will have the task delegated to them. While funerals are inherently somber affairs, they represent an opportunity to plan a final celebration of your life. Who is better able to reflect upon your life and envision its celebration than you? Proper planning for end-of-life services can allow family members to grieve in a healthy manner. Proper planning also sets aside the costs for the funeral in advance so family does not need to find the funds to pay for the funeral upon your death.
For more information surrounding your rights in relation to funeral planning, visit the link below and review the Federal Trade Commission’s series of articles on “Shopping for Funeral Services”: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0070-shopping-funeral-services