The Plan Everyone Should Make – Have You?
You carefully nurture your 401(k). Your will is always current and you have diversified your investments. You're not just sitting on your hands hoping you will be set for retirement; you're taking steps to financially secure the future for yourself and your loved ones.
But there's one important financial planning matter you may be avoiding, and if you are, you're not alone. Even though 70 percent of Americans say they want to minimize the emotional and financial burden their death may place on their loved ones, just 24 percent have actually done something about it - by arranging their own funerals in advance.
Perpetuated stereotypes and a deep-seated cultural aversion to talking about death are often at the root of people's failure to plan their final arrangements. No one wants to think about their death or the loss of a loved one any sooner than they must, but it is more important than ever to prepare in advance.
To help you incorporate funeral planning into your overall strategy, it's important to understand a few key points.
There’s a difference between owning cemetery property and prearraging your funeral services
Owning cemetery property only addresses your final resting place. Your final arrangements include much more than that, such as what kind of celebration, service or memorialization you want. A service planned in advance can include all elements of your final arrangements, including songs or readings that are important to you or the incorporation of your favorite hobby into a personalized funeral or memorial service.
Decide on the service
Deciding on the type of service you want is a first step towards feeling confident that your wishes will be fulfilled. Determine if your service should have religious elements, if it should be intimate or large, or if there are any unique aspects you want incorporated.
Another important item to discuss is final disposition. Do you prefer burial or cremation? Regardless of your preference, you should consider cemetery property and inquire about all options available for memorialization and disposition whether for traditional burial or interment of cremated remains.
Make time for the preplanning conversation
Designate a time to have this vital discussion. Opening the conversation by telling a loved one you want to ensure things are done according to your wishes may be helpful. Or, your loved one may respond if you present the discussion as your desire to help them prepare to deal with the future.
Sit down with your children and share with them your wishes for your final arrangements. They’ll appreciate that you’ve taken steps to alleviate them of the burden of making difficult decisions about your funeral at what will be an already difficult time.
Whether your motivation is to ensure your wishes are carried out or to protect your loved ones from making painful decisions at a time of loss, creating a plan for your final arrangements is an important responsibility. Amid all the plans life asks us to make, this is one that deserves all our attention.