You’ve purchased life insurance. You may even have a trust for your assets. But have you preplanned your last party – your funeral and cemetery services?
No one wants to think about death. But advance planning provides peace of mind, financing savings and other advantages for your heirs, according to J’aime Kim, a community service counselor for Dignity Memorial’s properties in Orange County, Calif.
- You make rational decisions. “We like to talk to people when they’re level-headed, and there’s no strong emotion attached to the purchase,” Kim says. People who purchase funeral services while grieving tend to engage in “emotional overspending,” according to Kim. She says there are 72 decisions to make in 24 to 48 hours after a death – usually while you’re also scrambling for basic information to complete a death certificate.
- Your kids (or relatives) don’t have to argue about what they think you might have wanted. When a person passes away suddenly, without having made his or her wishes known to those who survive, “The children will argue about what Mom (or Dad) wanted,” Kim says. “Instead of the family unifying at this sensitive time, they’re fighting.”
- Your kids or relatives aren’t left with lingering guilt. Survivors suffer buyer’s remorse. Did I do the right thing? Did I spend the right amount? Kim recalls one woman whose lawyer knew only that he wanted to be cremated. He hadn’t left instructions for disposition of the ashes. So the daughter had to contact all her family members trying to find out more about what her father wanted – all while going through the grieving process.
- You protect the family’s estate. Purchasing at today’s prices saves your heirs money because
- Cemetery plots double in price every seven to 10 years.
- You can take advantage of discounts and some added-value services.
- You can also choose an affordable payment plan, which is not an option in sudden death. In that case, you’ll have to pay a lump sum before the funeral takes place—and before you receive the insurance funds you are counting on for reimbursement.
Kim says she’s been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who believe in preplanning. “Nobody’s making a mad dash to come see us at the mortuary,” she acknowledges. But she meets people at restaurants, over coffee or at their homes. And planning for something you don’t expect to happen anytime soon – with a written action plan that captures your wishes, “can be surprisingly fun,” she says. Other personal preferences that you can cover include readings, favorite poems, food and music at the actual services and after-service gatherings.
Kim refers to advance planning as a mentality. “It’s a mind-set focused on protecting your family and giving them peace of mind.” But, when you think of it, it’s also about pre-planning your last party with a clear vision of how you want your life celebration day to enfold.
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What do you think about pre-planning your last party and funeral services? Please share your thoughts below …