Preplanning is not prepaying.
When you think about planning a funeral in advance, you probably assume you’ll have to break out the checkbook. Think again. Preplanning and prepaying are NOT the same thing.
There is a big difference between creating a funeral plan and buying one. You can prepare a comprehensive plan for how you would like your funeral or memorial service handled without spending a cent.
Preplanning a funeral simply means that you record, either on paper or electronically, how you want your end-of-life arrangements handled. Making those decisions does NOT have to cost money, but it is worth its weight in gold. When you create a funeral plan, you take the burden of guessing what you want off of your loved ones.
A funeral plan includes things like:
- Whether you would like to be buried versus cremated.
- What type of service you prefer (body versus no body present).
- In the case of cremation, if you would like to be scattered or memorialized in an urn and where you would like the urn kept.
- What elements you would like to have included in your service (music, readings, etc.).
- And any other details you would like to be included in your final send off.
Buying a prepaid funeral plan, on the other hand, is a financial decision. Sure, you record your final wishes, but you also commit to a long-term financial obligation. This is an important distinction because buying a prepaid plan means you enter into a contract with a specific provider or set of providers. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to treat it as you would any significant financial transaction–do your homework, make sure that the provider(s) is reputable, and confirm that the financial aspects make sense for your particular situation.
As far as paying for your funeral goes, we agree that you should think about how the costs will be covered. Buying a prepaid plan is just one of the ways to do that. Many people find that funeral insurance makes sense, while others set aside funds in a savings account or money market. The tool that’s right for you will depend on your unique financial situation. You can learn more about the various ways to pay for a funeral by visiting our website.
The Funeralwise.com Wise Planning System is a free option for do-it-yourself funeral planning. You can define what you want with as much or as little detail as you’d like. You can also share your plan with someone you trust so that they’ll know it’s there if they need it. Unlike many of the other online planners available, the Wise Planning System includes a cost estimate which allows you to get a real-time estimate of what your selections will cost based on industry averages. These estimates can be helpful when you begin to shop for providers in your area.
Whether you choose to use the Wise Planning System or some other tool, we hope you’ll create a funeral plan and share it with your loved ones. That way, your family will be prepared in the unfortunate instance that they need to know what you want when the time comes.