Advance Funeral Planning Makes Financial Sense


Death is not a topic that many of us want to think about or discuss. Nonetheless, most people can agree that planning for what happens after a loved one passes away can minimize the burden on grieving family members. Making preneed decisions about funeral arrangements also provides the entire family with peace of mind that their loved one’s wishes will be honored.

While the emotional benefits are clear, few people understand that preplanning final arrangements also makes good financial sense. Accounting for future funeral expenses is part of a sound financial plan for seniors. There are a few key ways in which funeral preplanning can impact a family’s bottom line.

Avoid Overspending

In cases where a person has left vague or no instructions for their funeral or interment, family members must try to guess at what a late loved one would have wanted. In these scenarios, strong emotions tied to grief can cause families to spend far more than they should on a memorial. Discussions about the end of life and advance planning can help minimize or even eliminate overspending. Preplanning allows a person to set a budget and communicate exactly which merchandise and services they want (and do not want) included in their funeral.

Find the Quality and Value They Want

Most people shop around to find the right automobile, electronic gadget or vacation package that delivers the quality and features they want at the most reasonable price. The same research and careful selection should also apply when it comes to choosing a funeral provider. Investigating different funeral homes and comparing available options to find the right one is an important part of planning a funeral. Comparison shopping now can help your loved one feel certain that they’re receiving the quality and value they deserve.

Lock in Today’s Prices

In addition to preplanning, many funeral homes also allow consumers to prepay their funerals. This option locks in current prices for products and services, which is a savvy financial move, since inflation is likely to cause the prices of these items to increase. Preneed plans can be paid for in installments or a lump sum and the funds are typically used to purchase an insurance policy or put into a trust. The funeral home is listed as the beneficiary and receives the funds upon the person’s death. It is important to work with a funeral professional to understand the laws that regulate and protect preneed funds in your state. Your loved one should feel confident that their money is secure and in the hands of a reliable provider.

Take Advantage of Additional Benefits

Some individuals may be eligible for additional funeral benefits if they are military veterans. By planning in advance, families can learn about these benefits early on and factor them into their plans logistically and financially. Furthermore, they will have gathered all the information they need to receive these benefits at the time of need. A local Dignity Memorial funeral provider can provide information regarding additional benefits and eligibility guidelines.

Making final arrangements in advance is important for everyone, regardless of age or financial status. In addition to saving family from difficult decisions at an already trying time, preplanning a funeral also makes good financial sense. Even if you choose not to fund your arrangements in advance, deciding what kind of memorial you want will help you make other financial plans and give your loved ones valuable guidance.

Molly Gligor leads the Houston area network of Dignity Memorial® funeral, cremation and cemetery providers. As a licensed funeral director for the past 20 years, she has assisted thousands of families during difficult times, helping them celebrate the significance of lives that have been lived and preserving memories with dignity and honor.

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Another option is body donation. Everything is set up before we die, they cremate the body when the donations are completed and then they send the ashes to the family. It's all free, many people want to contribute to medical research, and you can spend your money on a nice celebration of life. A party celebrating your life rather than your death can be healing for everyone and it is a tiny percent of what a funeral costs.
I have already started this for my mother. Be aware that money set aside for funerals is usually put into an insurance policy for which there are age limits. The sooner you look into this the better, especially if you want to lock-in rates. My mother is 95 and too old for an insurance policy but I can still set aside the money in an insurance plan. It doesn't lock-in any rates, though. This is also good planning since the money for the funeral will be available after the person dies since all other accounts are frozen until the estate is settled.

Check with more than one funeral company, if you can. I found that some do a "cafeteria plan" where you pay for each thing. With one company, having my mother's funeral in her church would have cost another $1,000. With the company I went with, it was inclusive. They had one price and if there were things you didn't want, they subtracted them out so my mother can have her eventual funeral in the church after all.
I agree that pre-planning funeral arrangements is very important. Like you said, it is the best way to ensure that your wishes will be honored and it makes financial sense. Both of those things ease the stress of the grieving family.