Professional Guidance

Today, more than ever, people of all ages agree that having thoughtful arrangements in place in advance of a death is certainly a good idea and a responsible thing to do. These arrangements can include the preparation of a legal will, advance directives for healthcare, the selection and purchase of cemetery property and the selection of and payment for funeral or memorial arrangements

The funeral professional you choose will assist you with the advance selection of and payment options for a meaningful funeral or memorial ceremony to meet your needs. They will guide you through the choices of caskets, cremation urns and burial vaults. Numerous decisions will also be made at this time with their professional guidance. 

What is pre-planning?

There are two phases in pre-planning a funeral: 
  • Pre-arrangement involves the selection of funeral-related services and products
  • Pre-funding means paying for the selected services and products in advance

Why pre-arrange?

  • Provides time to plan a ceremony that is meaningful for survivors and reflective of one's personal wishes. 
  • Reduces the likelihood of emotional overspending, indecision and/or possible family conflicts. 

Some or all of the following might be a part of the pre-arrangement process:

  • Discussing your wishes with family and/or friends. 
  • Selecting specific funeral services, e.g., traditional, graveside, full service cremation or memorial services. 
  • Selecting specific products e.g., a casket, outer burial container. 

Why pre-fund?

  •  Advanced payment serves as a hedge against inflation by paying for tomorrow's funeral at today's prices. 
  • Protects financial assets in the event of the need to apply for SSI/Medicaid assistance for long-term healthcare. 
  • Important aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. 
  • Provides peace of mind. 

Decisions made in advance may certainly relieve a level of unnecessary concern and eliminate potential burdens for survivors. Consult with your licensed funeral professional to decide what is most appropriate for you, your family and friends. 

 When to pre-plan

  • After any significant transition or lifestyle change, e.g., the birth of a child, or the death of a family member, and/or before health begins to decline. 
  • When considering estate planning options e.g., making a will, prior to preparing for any type of public assistance (Medicaid/Assisted). 

Questions you may want to ask your local funeral professional:

  • Which charges will not increase over time?
  • Which charges may increase over time?
  • How and where is my money invested?
  • How do I know my investment is secure?
  • What happens to excess funds, if any?
  • Can my funds be transferred?
  • Can I make payments over time?
  • Are my funds protected from Medicaid?
  • What happens if the merchandise I select is no longer available?
  • Will I encounter additional expenses if I choose to involve a second funeral home in another town, city and/or state?
  • How will these arrangements be coordinated?

For  more information concerning this important aspect of estate planning, contact a funeral professional in your community by clicking the "Find a Funeral Home" tab and ask about the pre-planning options available to you. Your funeral professional can explain the options of a pre-arranging and/or pre-funding to develop a plan that meets your individual needs.