As we get older, planning for funeral expenses becomes more important –and there are special issues for self -employed folks like us –for example – when you pass will your business be sold, or will your spouse take over running it? (Note – Since everyone’s situation is different, I don’t have any wisdom to offer on this. But there are two people you need to consult with – A business Broker and your tax person).
Making plans for your own funeral might sound morbid, but going through this process will spare your loved ones a great deal of grief in the future. Mourning the loss of a family member is difficult enough without having to stress about paying for a funeral. A casket alone can run anywhere from $1,000 to upwards of $10,000, so it’s no surprise that burial services can quickly add up — and impose a financial burden on those nearest and dearest to you, as this article from Psychology Today explains.
Get Final Expense or Pre-Need Insurance
Final expense insurance, also referred to burial or funeral insurance, provides necessary funds for end-of-life arrangements after a person has passed on. You can start paying into such a plan now so that the money is there when the time comes. The exact rates of such coverage will vary depending on factors like age, sex, health, and more. Expect to pay some $30 to $70 per month depending on your circumstances.
Another option is to buy a pre-need insurance. Instead of going through a regular insurer, this is purchased directly from a funeral home. Ask to see the general price list of various funeral homes and shop around before choosing the one you want, as fees can vary greatly. The United States Government’s Federal Trade Commission actually has a so-called Funeral Rule, which requires these service providers to offer a list of all potential expenses.
If you for some reason are unable or unwilling to invest in either of these options, another possibility is to simply set up a joint savings account. This is something that your spouse or other designated party can easily access after you pass on. Automate the process so that a small chunk of cash is deposited directly into the account every month without your having to think about it. This is considered the best way to save.
Write Down a Detailed Plan for Your Funeral
Planning a funeral is about far more than money. Write down a detailed plan of your wishes. Do you want to be buried or cremated? Are there certain flowers, songs, or photographs you want incorporated? Where would you like your final resting place to be? This list from Funeralwise covers these aspects plus other essential points for consideration. Knowing the answers to these questions also allows you to better determine just how much your end-of-life expenses will be.
Compile this along with financial documents, such as your burial insurance paperwork, and keep it alongside your estate plan. This legal documentation determines what happens to your assets after you pass on and will require you to estimate their total value, covering everything from your house to cars. As this article from Business Insider explains, the estate plan should be kept in a readily accessible place; for instance, keep one copy in your home office and another with your lawyer.
Tell a Loved One Where to Find the Paperwork
Tell a trusted loved one where they can find the estate plan and funeral wishes. If your family can’t find this paperwork after you pass, there is no way for them to follow your instructions. If they aren’t sure how to proceed, strife may ensue. It’s not uncommon for family to fall out due to disputes after a death, whether they are arguing about money or burial arrangements.
While it might seem morbid to get into all these details, this is simply another step toward easing your family’s distress after your pass on. Instead of trying to decide on floral arrangements, they can focus on processing their grief and celebrating your life. Focus on the positives for yourself as well: You can rest easy knowing your final wishes will be carried out just as you wanted. This is a weight off your shoulders in the big picture.
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