Three Reasons to Plan Your Funeral Now — And How to Get Started

by Camille Johnson

Death is a topic that few people want to confront. So when it comes time to think about funeral planning, many people avoid the subject. However, while it’s tempting to put off funeral planning as long as possible, having the foresight to pre-plan your funeral can save you and your loved ones grief later on.

Three Reasons to Pre-Plan Your Funeral
There are a lot of good reasons to pre-plan your funeral! Here are three reasons you should start thinking about your final arrangements today:

1. Take the burden off loved ones
The most compelling reason to pre-plan your funeral is to spare loved ones the burden of planning and paying for a funeral themselves. After you pass away, you want your loved ones to focus on celebrating your life and grieving their loss, not negotiating with funeral directors or scrambling for funds.

2. Reduce family conflict
A funeral plan also ensures your family knows exactly how you want to be laid to rest. That eliminates potential conflict over questions like whether you should be buried or cremated or who should conduct the funeral.

3. Save money
Finally, pre-planning your funeral can be a great way to save money. When you pre-plan, you have time to shop around and choose arrangements that align with your wishes and your budget. When families make funeral arrangements after a death, ABC News says they’re more likely to overspend or even be taken advantage of financially.

How to Pay for a Pre-Planned Funeral

Before you start planning funeral arrangements, have a clear understanding of what you’d like to spend on a funeral and how you’ll pay for it. These are some common ways people pay for funeral expenses:

1. Final Expense Insurance
Final expense insurance is a type of life insurance designed specifically for funeral expenses. It offers up to $20,000 in coverage that can be paid out to a loved one or funeral home. It’s a popular choice for funeral expenses thanks to its affordable premiums relative to traditional life insurance, but like other life insurance policies, final expense premiums increase with age. For that reason, this type of coverage is best for adults under 70 who are in good health. 

Even then, it pays to read reviews and shop around. For instance, Funeral Advantage receives a better than average rating through ValuePenguin. You can see what others are saying and decide what’s right for you. 

2. Life Insurance

Whole life insurance can also be used to pay for a funeral. Seniors who have other reasons to maintain a life insurance policy in retirement can earmark some of the funds for funeral expenses. However, since whole life policies are expensive to maintain, it’s not the best choice if you primarily need it for funeral expenses.

3. Joint Accounts and Payable-on-Death Accounts

Seniors who have the cash on hand to pay for a funeral should hold the funds in an account that their executor can easily access after their death. Payable-on-death accounts are advantageous because they don’t have to go through probate before the funds are released, but unlike joint accounts, beneficiaries can only access the funds after your death.

What Will It Cost?

Funeral prices vary depending on the type of service you choose and whether you’ll be buried or cremated. Traditional funerals, which include embalming, funeral service, and burial, cost thousands of dollars. Plus families need to invest in a cemetery plot and extras like flowers.

Opting for cremation or green burial, forgoing a formal ceremony in favor of a graveside or memorial service, and choosing a simple casket can help you save money on funeral costs, per MoneyTalksNews. However, even a budget-friendly funeral can carry a hefty price tag. 

Since funeral expenses are so variable, it’s best to use a checklist and contact funeral homes for price lists in order to estimate your final arrangements.

Funeral planning may be hard to think about, but pre-planning your funeral pays off. When you pre-plan your funeral, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll get exactly the send-off you want and your loved ones won’t have to worry about a thing. No matter if you want a big, traditional burial or a simple cremation, make sure you have a plan and share it with your loved ones. 

About the Author: Camille Johnson created the Bereaver after she went through the ups and downs of the bereavement process herself following the loss of her parents and husband. With the help of her friend who was also experiencing a loss of her own, she learned how to grieve a healthy way, and she wants to share that with others. There is no one way to grieve, but it is important to do it in a way that supports your physical and mental health throughout.

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