Are You Prepared?

Created: | Category: Preplanning Options.

In life, we plan for many things- education, vacation, retirement. Yet many of us delay making end-of-life plans. Taking just a few moments to identify your planning strengths and needs can help you begin to plan wisely for the future…and for your peace of mind today.

Take this brief quiz to help determine how prepared you really are.

  1. Do you have a will? Yes. No.
  2. Have you discussed your final wishes with your family? Yes. No.
  3. Have you recently updated your designated beneficiary on your life insurance policies, 401K, etc? Yes. No.
  4. Have you prepared a health care directive? Yes. No.
  5. Did you know there are more than 100 decisions that must be made in the first 24 hours following a death? Yes. No.
  6. If you were to die tomorrow, would your family be financially secure? Yes. No.
  7. Have you secured your cemetery property? Yes. No.
  8. Would your loved ones know what to do or who to call if something happened to you today? Yes. No.
  9. Do your loved ones know what benefits will be available to them following your death (i.e., Social Security, Veterans, insurance or pension funds)? Yes. No.
  10. Are your insurance policies, financial information, and important documents organized and stored in a safe, secure, and easily accessible location? Yes. No.

How did you do?

If you answered YES to seven or MORE of these questions, you’re already on your way to creating a secure end-of-life plan.

If you answered YES to LESS than seven of these questions, now is the time to get your affairs in order and make important end-of-life decisions for yourself, before your family has to do it for you.

The Benefits of Preplanning

Created: | Category: Preplanning Options.

Having to make unexpected funeral arrangements for family member, such as a parent or grandparent, can add further emotional strain during an already overwhelming situation. Family members may differ on how these arrangements should be made and this can cause division and needless upset, just when they need each other the most.

This can be prevented. It is a loving act of kindness as well as an emotional relief to all surviving family members if arrangements are taken care of ahead of time. This helps prevent an added burden, among those who may not agree with each other on how the funeral arrangements should be handled. Sadly, some loved ones end up having hard feelings with each other, during this emotionally taxing time.

Making funeral arrangements ahead of time takes the doubt and confusion away from all those who will be tasked to make difficult decisions on your behalf. And in many ways, it is the last gift you can give to your loved ones. That gift is peace of mind. They will know exactly what you wanted and will feel relieved that they won’t have to guess what you would have wanted.

Another advantage of preplanning your funeral in advance is that you also have the option to pay the costs ahead of time. You can lock in today’s prices ahead of inflation while making rational choices that fit within your budget. If you end up not needing these services for many years to come, you have the added assurance your loved ones will not be weighed down with unexpected financial obligations at higher future prices.

When you preplan your funeral service ahead of time, you can take your time researching all of the options and asking the necessary questions from the funeral home. You can make your own decisions, such as whether or not you want a traditional funeral or a cremation service. And once you have decided what you want, you can carefully document these wishes so your family will know exactly what you wanted.

Preplanning and prepaying, getting every question answered, and knowing ahead of time you are giving your loved ones a final loving gift is easy to do. Engaging the expertise of your local funeral home to help you understand your options and document your wishes can even be a gift to yourself, the peace of mind knowing you have left behind no added concerns for those you love.

Why Preplanning Makes Good Sense

Created: | Category: Preplanning Options.

Financial Benefits

Like many things in our lives, planning ahead just makes sense. So it’s also wise to complete your funeral and cemetery arrangements in advance to take advantage of significant financial opportunities that could await you, including:

  • Estate tax reduction: Advance planning may reduce your heir’s future estate tax burden.
  • Medicaid/SSI spend-down exemption: Prepaid funeral and cemetery costs are often exempt from the spend-down process to qualify for Medicaid or state assistance.
  • Inflation-proof plans: Prefunding your arrangements now can freeze costs at today’s prices.
  • Elimination of future costs: Preplanning can remove the threat of unexpected financial costs for your family when they are the least prepared.

Peace of Mind

Not only does preplanning make good financial sense, it provides an even more valuable benefit- peace of mind in knowing that you’ve taken care of an important responsibility yourself and not leaving it for those you love most to struggle with. By preplanning now, you can:

  • Ensure that your personal wishes are known.
  • Spare your loved ones the agony of having to guess what you would have wanted.
  • Remove a tremendous emotional burden from your family.
  • Make decisions at your own pace- calmly and informed, even in the comfort of your own home.

Getting Started

Along with the advice of your financial planner, preplanning your final arrangements should be completed only through a reputable firm with secure financial back and an impeccable business record in the community.

We encourage you to consult with an attorney or financial advisor to understand your state’s regulations. And remember, always ask questions and ensure that you’re comfortable with the choices you make.