Do you have a prearrangement in place? The biggest question we hear about preplanning is simply "How does preplanning help my family?"
The answer is funeral preplanning is a gift to your family. At the time of a death, there are so many decisions to make. If a family has never discussed the final wishes of their parents or siblings or children, all of those decisions need to be made in a short period of time, in a very emotional and stressful setting.
If you have already discussed, considered, questioned and made decisions for your own funeral service in a well thought out manner, pressure is taken off of the grieving family members. In an ideal world, everyone in the decision making process will only think of celebrating a life with joy and honor, but that is not always true. Sadness often overtakes common sense, anger often causes unexpected or unkind words to be spoken and the simple shock of a death interferes with clarity of the tasks needed.
If your funeral is preplanned, you have the opportunity to select your casket, urn, the songs that you would like at the service, and who your casket bearers will be. You can identify important hobbies, pre-write your obituary, select your favorite outfit, and whatever else that is important to you. If you are a veteran, you will learn what benefits you are entitled to receive and how that process is accomplished.
In addition to preplanning, you will also have the option to pre-pay for your services. The reality is that a funeral is a costly event. If you have the opportunity to partially or completely pay for that, it is a blessing to your surviving family. Rather than worry about the expense, or fighting with others over responsibilities, it will simply become an opportunity for all survivors to cherish your memory and honor your life, the way it is supposed to be. They can then move forward on learning how to live without you, which is difficult enough in itself.
Important things I’ve learned and would encourage all my friends to do ASAP:
- Make sure all bank accounts have direct beneficiaries. The beneficiary need only go to the bank with your death certificate and an ID of their own. Did you know most banks will immediately freeze the deceased account if no beneficiaries are assigned and you will lose access to funds needed? THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STEP!
- TOD = Transfer on Death deed if you own a home. Completing this document and filing it with your county saves your heirs THOUSANDS. This document allows you to transfer ownership of your home to your designee. All they need to do is take their ID and your death certificate to the county building and the deed is signed over. Doing this will avoid the home having to go through probate.
- Living Will: Allows one to put in writing exactly what you want done in the event you cannot speak for yourself when it comes to healthcare decisions. Expires at time of death.
- Durable Power of Attorney: Allows one to designate a person to make legal decisions if one is no longer competent to do so.
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare: This document allows one to designate someone to make healthcare decisions for their person. Expires at time of death.
- Last Will and Testament: Designates to whom personal belongings will go too.
- Funeral Planning Declaration: allows one to say exactly one’s wishes as far as disposition of the body and the services.
- Create a Trust Account via Estate Planning: Ensures your assets will go to whom you want, when you want, in the manner you want. Protects your assets from depletion by nursing home costs. Can minimize income and estate taxes, leaving more money for you and your heirs. Can protect your children’s assets from lawsuits, creditors, and ex-spouses.
- Make a list of all banks and account numbers, all investment institutions with account numbers, lists of credit cards, utility accounts, etc. Leave clear instructions as to how and when these things are paid. Make sure heirs knows where life insurance policies are located.
- Make 100% sure SOMEONE knows your Apple ID, bank ID account logins and passwords!!!!
- Make sure you have titles for all vehicles, campers, etc.!
- MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!! - Talk with those closest to you and make all your wishes KNOWN. Talk to those whom you’ve designated, as well as those close to you whom you did not designate. - Do this to explain why your decisions were made and to avoid any lingering questions or hurt feelings.
Gather personal information for your obituary, including date of birth, educational experience, names of parents, place of birth, name of spouse, date of the wedding, location of the wedding, hobbies, interests, special groups, and survivors list.
Military Service Information