Death tends to be unexpected. Whether a death is sudden or a result of a long illness, it is best to plan as much as possible for the unexpected. Our law firm helps people plan for death by creating comprehensive estate planning documents such as wills, trusts and power of attorneys. I also encourage my clients to plan and prepare for their funeral. I have worked with many families over the years and being prepared for the funeral can bring a sense of relief at a difficult time.
The first thing you will want to consider is who will be in charge of your funeral arrangements. If you have multiple family members, it is a good idea to put in writing who will be in charge. I have my clients place in a legal document who will handle the funeral arrangements. This is not a good time for a family dispute.
The next decision you will want to make is what arrangements you would like made for the disposition of your body. Would you like to be buried or cremated? Would you like your body donated for research. Some people have chosen to have their body frozen. I also recommend this decision is placed in writing. And if your wishes change then update the information.
The next item to consider is how your loved ones will pay for your funeral. In order to plan for the funeral the family will need immediate access to funds. You can prepare for this in advance by doing one of several things. You can prepay your funeral at a funeral homes. I think this is a great way to take care of your final wishes. The personnel at the funeral home are trained to guide you through the process of planning and prepaying for your funeral. A lot of people are uncomfortable doing this but it is a gift you can give your family they will very much appreciate.
If you don’t want to be buried but would like to be cremated there is an organization in Maryland called the Maryland Cremation Society. Over the years I have referred a lot of clients to the Maryland Cremation Society. Cremation can be an economical funeral alternative and you can prepay for your cremation. The Maryland Creation Society will retrieve your body, perform the cremation and return your ashes to your family.
Another option to preplanning your funeral is to purchase a funeral life insurance policy. This is a particular type of policy that will directly pay the funeral home for your service. Most life insurance policy require a death certificate to pay out the proceeds. A funeral life insurance policy will pay the funds immediately to the funeral home without the need for a death certificate.
Finally you can set up a joint account with a trusted family member or friend with the understanding that the funds will be used to pay your funeral. As a joint owner of the account the co-owner will have immediate access to funds to pay your funeral expenses. Of course only do this with someone you completely trust.
Planning and preparing for your funeral may be difficult but it provides guidance and ease at a time when your family will need it.