Today many people have heard, or actually considered the idea of pre-arranging a funeral, either for themselves or a loved one. Here are some of the more common questions which are frequently asked. The answers that follow should help you better understand this important aspect of estate planning. Please feel free to contact us with your questions; we are available to talk to you anytime.
What is Pre-arrangement?
"Pre-arrangement" is simply planning your funeral before your death. After death, the task usually falls to a small group of family members or a single survivor, who may have little or no warning. Pre-arrangement relieves your survivors of that responsibility. You're able to clearly and calmly plan a service that reflects you personality and needs. It's a simple process. One of our associates will help, and the plans can all be recorded in our Personal Planning Guide, which you will keep. Pre-arrangement means peace of mind - for you and your family.
How many kinds of pre-arrangement are there?
There are many kinds. Some people choose to pre-plan their entire funeral, including the type of service - viewing period, religious ceremony, burial or cremation - the cemetery plot, the casket and vault, and all the other incidentals like clothing, flowers and music. Others prefer to pick only the casket and vault. Still others like the idea of pre-planning the service but leaving the choice of casket and vault to the family. What you pre-plan is up to you, but we'll assist you in any way we can.
Do I have to pay for pre-arrangements?
No. Many people choose to pre-plan but not pre-finance their funerals. We'll simply keep your choices on file for future reference. However, most people do choose to pre-finance their arrangements. The advantage of pre-financing is that we can often guarantee the price of the funeral and make sure your family doesn't need to pay more when the time comes. Many types of pre-financing programs are available, through insurance, annuities, CDs and trust funds, with payment options ranging from a single payment to three, five and ten year plans. Pre-financing is an optional, though highly recommended, benefit of preplanning your funeral.What happens to my money when I pre-pay my funeral expenses?
State regulatory agencies have requirements for pre-financing a funeral. When a funeral home receives money for a pre-financed funeral, we have two options: 1) place the funds in a Certificate of Deposit or trust account at a bank, or 2) for those who qualify, purchase an insurance policy or annuity. Many funeral homes prefer to place the money in an insurance policy because the interest earnings pass tax-free to the family, and these plans offer a variety of payment options. And if the purchaser dies while still making payments, the policy proceeds may amount to far more than they paid in. In that case, there could be extra money, over and above the funeral cost, coming back to your beneficiaries. No matter which option you use for pre-payment, you can be sure that your money is protected.
What happens to my pre-arrangement if I enter a nursing home?
Few people are aware of provisions under Federal Title 19, which states that an individual can shelter funds to serve the family later by providing for funeral arrangements. In most states a pre-financed funeral is not considered an asset and will not prevent a person from applying for Medicaid benefits. If a person does not prepay their funeral arrangements before applying for Medicaid, there may be state-specific restrictions and limitations to the funeral arrangements that can be made. If you pre-arrange your funeral before you require nursing-home care, you can be assured of getting the type of funeral you want, while protecting your family from unnecessary financial worries.
Can a will take the place of a pre-arrangement?
Most everyone should have a will. It's the only way to be relatively sure that all your assets and earthly possessions are distributed the way you want them to be. Many times, however, a will is not read until after the funeral. And a will doesn't give your family all the information they'll need to plan the funeral because it doesn't contain information about what kind of service or funeral merchandise you wanted, address costs or payment options. A will and a pre-arrangement can meet all your needs.