As a parent, you will give your children many lovely gifts. A lifetime of presents may include everything from a birthday puppy to a college education, a trip to Disney to relationship advice.
But the next time you want to give your children something special, consider pre-planning your funeral.
There are many benefits to planning in advance. We count down the top six reasons families tell us pre-paid funeral plans are the best gift they ever received from their parents.
6. You get to choose exactly what you want.
Pre-planning your funeral allows you to carefully consider your options and make the choices that ensure that your life is remembered and celebrated the way that you want. Even if you tell your family about your end-of-life wishes, they may not remember or agree. The only way to know for sure that you will get a cremation with a celebration of life by the lake or a New Orleans-style jazz procession is by planning in advance.
My parents purchased prepaid funeral expenses many years ago. After all these years, when we went to use these services, everything was paid for, except the death certificates. (which was understandable.)
—Carol S., Medway, MA
5. Your children won't have to find a way to pay for your funeral.
You may not be able to shield your children from the emotionally difficult parts of a passing, but you can help ensure that they don’t have to worry about money at the same time. In the days immediately following your death, your assets may be unavailable and life insurance can take six to eight weeks to pay. Without a prepaid plan in place, your children will be expected to cover all of your funeral expenses before funeral services. Pre-planning—and prepaying—means relief from that burden.
Having a burial arrangement is one of the greatest ways to let your loved ones know that just because you are no longer physically there you are still looking out for them and their well-being. It’s the greatest gift you can ever give.
—Rayette A., Kent, WA
4. Your family members won’t need to worry about getting it wrong
Would Dad have wanted the hand-carved, solid mahogany casket? Would Mom have wanted every last member of her church to attend the funeral service? When plans aren't prepared beforehand, loved ones guess—and then worry that maybe they got it wrong. Save them from doubt and anxiety over getting it right by planning in advance.
From experience, it is really important to pre-plan your wishes ahead of time. When my Mother died it was so hard & such a shock to our family. My Father & I went down to Greenoaks & made all his arrangements, paid for them so when the time came for him it would be taken care of and easier for my Sister & myself. It was a true blessing an actual gift he gave us.
—Monica N., Baton Rouge, LA
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What Affects Funeral and Cremation Costs?
There are hundreds of decisions that must be made when planning a funeral, cremation or memorial service, and making funeral arrangements can often seem confusing or overwhelming. Because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to planning a funeral or memorial service, there are different costs and expenses to consider. Learn what to expect and get your free Guide to Understanding Funeral and Cremation Costs today.
3. Your family won’t have to face quick decisions.
At the time of need, funeral arrangements are usually made in a couple of days. Even if you lay out your wishes in a will, your children can be left scrambling, since funerals often take place before a will is located or read. To protect your loved ones from facing hurried decisions during an already difficult time, plan your funeral in advance. Putting the details in writing not only ensures your wishes will be followed, but saves others from needing to make judgment calls on your behalf.
Doing pre-need arrangements was a tremendous gift our dad did for us. At the time of dad's death, I was so heart broken and was so thankful dad had made all the tough decisions ahead of time. He didn't leave much for me to do. I was able to fall apart and grieve his passing.
—Debra B., Lakewood, CO
2. You lock in today’s prices and save money.
One of the more practical benefits of planning your funeral in advance is financial. As the cost of living rises, so do the costs of funerals and burials. When you plan and pay in advance, you essentially lock in a price guarantee. For example, if you plan today and choose a casket that costs $2,000, you will never have to pay more than that for that casket, even if it doubles in price. Paying for things at current prices protects you—and your children—against inflation.
"Both my parents had purchased a pre-paid cremation policy in 1984, which saved me a considerable amount of money related to today's prices."
—Beth C., Houston, TX
1. Your loved ones can focus on remembering and healing.
Perhaps often forgotten, but the top reason families tell us that prepaid funerals are the best gift they ever received is the emotional value of prepaying for a funeral.
The days immediately following a death are emotionally difficult. Pre-planning your funeral, cremation or burial, documenting your wishes, and paying for arrangements give your loved ones the time, space and permission they need to grieve without having to make hundreds of funeral decisions. The time they might have spent making arrangements can be spent with family and friends, remembering a special life and beginning the healing process.
Prepaid funeral plans are a loving thing to do
It’s always difficult when a loved one dies, but it’s even more challenging when surviving children don’t know what Mom's or Dad’s final wishes were. It can be heart-wrenching for children to have to face hard decisions for a parent. That's why planning, documenting, funding and sharing final arrangements is so important. Though you can’t protect your children from grief, you can help ease their sadness about your death by ensuring they don’t have to second-guess or make hasty decisions about your preferences.