How can pre-planning a funeral and memorial help a family?
Pre-planning can help reassure family members while you are alive and healthy and it also helps immensely when a death in the family actually occurs. Whether your loved one passes due to illness, accident or some type of tragedy, having a plan in place will help your family weather the storm of activities that come with saying good-bye and getting business in order after death.
People with assets across different financial vehicles such as: stocks, bonds, money-market accounts and certificates of deposit, IRAs, veterans benefits, etc. can benefit from pre-planning by speaking with their accountant or investment advisor. In some instances it is wiser to consolidate some of these financial/investment streams into areas where there are less taxes at the time of death. Deciding ahead of time on who will inherit what and how much, can depend greatly on how your money is allocated. Discussing this with your family and finding the best ways for your finances to be managed after your death is critical. If you do not decide, then the state decides who inherits. Pre-planning also allows you to plan for the cost of your funeral and burial.
Funeral and Memorial Service
Pre-planning a funeral or memorial service helps your family and loved ones to know exactly how you want your death managed. Of course, the financial is critical, but so too is this area. Many loved ones want to make sure your wishes are carried out and to do this you need to discuss what you do and do not want to happen upon your death. Here are just a few of the items to discuss:
- Do I want a public or private funeral? Do I want a wake?
- Do I want a traditional burial or do I prefer alternative burial methods such as cremation, or eco-friendly burials.
- Where do I want the funeral held? Who will preside over the service?
- Who would you like to preside over your funeral church service or mass?
- Would you like to pick specific songs to be sung or played at your funeral?
- Who would you like to be pallbearers, readers, etc.?
Avoiding Family Disputes
Most family disputes after the death of a loved one revolve around how family heirlooms and the estate finances are distributed. Pre-planning can help your family avoid these disputes. Making a list of your heirlooms and personal property that will have to be dispensed after your death and then assigning as many of the major items to a specific person in your will or in your pre-planning can help reduce family friction after your death. The same is true with your financial assets. Of course, pre-planning doesn’t always eliminate all contention but it certainly helps.
Peace of Mind
Peace of mind and the certainty that all is taken care of to the best of your ability allows you to know that your family will be okay and everything is in order for your time of passing. Pre-planning also relieves your family from the emotional burden of making the arrangements.
Deepens Your Relationships
Working with your family on pre-planning helps bring clarity to you and to them about the priorities in life. Your family will never forget you and the fact that you cared about each of them during this planning process. Planning together and learning about and from each other during the planning time becomes a part of your legacy to your family. Most of the time pre-planning draws a family closer together and you will have orchestrated that by this joint planning time. Pre-planning can truly be a gift of love to your family.