Posts Tagged ‘Funeral Planning’

Common Funeral Planning Mistakes

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Grief - man with white roses at urn funeralFuneral planning is never an easy task, especially since it’s something few people are trained for (and because it’s something you hopefully don’t have to practice very often). Being caught unaware of the correct protocol is one of the easiest ways to overpay or get taken advantage of, which is why it’s a good idea to become familiar with the biggest funeral planning pitfalls ahead of time.  (more…)

Financial Spring Cleaning

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Estate Planning PaperworkSpring is a time of renewal and rebirth, when the melting snow gives way to new life and people start reorganizing their closets for the warm season to come. Financial experts also suggest you use this time to consider pulling out your estate and funeral planning to ensure that everything is in order and up-to-date.

Where to Start?

When we talk about making advance estate and funeral plans, we mean much more than putting money in a 401(k) or taking out a life insurance policy. While both these things are great first steps, they don’t encompass the breadth of options available to you as you organize your end-of-life plans. (more…)

Funeral Planning Glossary

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Dove release at a funeral ceremonyFuneral pre-plans, preplanning a funeral, pre-need cremation…there are so many different terms out there related to the funeral planning industry it can be hard to keep track. Although many of the phrases are used interchangeably, there may be subtle differences that provide different financial and personal options.

Here’s our breakdown of what they mean.

  • Preneed Insurance/Burial Insurance/Funeral Insurance: All of these phrases refer to the same product—an insurance policy that provides enough money to cover the cost of the funeral, with little to spare. Although every policy is a little different, the expenses covered usually include the funeral home services, a casket and/or urn, the memorial service, and even burial and headstones at the cemetery. Depending on who you purchase your policy from, you may be able to lock in today’s rates or arrange the entire funeral in advance. (more…)

How to Plan a Simple Funeral

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

How to Plan a Simple FuneralIn all the hassle of planning funerals and choosing caskets and selecting the perfect spray of sympathy flowers to demonstrate your loss, it’s not uncommon for families to lose sight of the bigger picture of death. A funeral, no matter how or when or why it occurs, is your final chance to say goodbye, and the most important thing is that your focus remains on the deceased. If your goal is to get rid of the elaborate trappings of death and put your attention where it matters most, a simple funeral might be right for you.

Basic Funeral Options

Direct Cremation/Direct Burial: The fastest and easiest way to plan a simple funeral is to opt for direct burial or direct cremation. These options, which take care of the body without a ceremony or any elaborate details, are low in cost and provide much the same results as a more elaborate ceremony—you either end up with a box of ashes or a place to visit the deceased in a cemetery. It’s merely the process of getting there that is pared down.

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Common Funeral Planning Mistakes

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Common Funeral Planning MistakesFuneral planning is never an easy task, especially since it’s something few people are trained for (and because it’s something you hopefully don’t have to practice very often). Being caught unaware of the correct protocol is one of the easiest ways to overpay or get taken advantage of, which is why it’s a good idea to become familiar with the biggest funeral planning pitfalls ahead of time.

  • Waiting until the Last Minute: Don’t wait until a terminal illness or catastrophe brings funeral planning to the forefront. The best funeral plans are made when you and your loved ones are in good health and are able to make calm, rational decisions with plenty of time to think them over.
  • Going with the First Funeral Home You Come Across: You may get a recommendation from a hospital or hospice. You might call the first funeral home you see in the phone book. You could even stick to the same funeral home you used the last time a death occurred. While these are great ways to find a funeral home, be sure and call around for additional (more…)

What Type of Wood Should I Choose for the Casket?

Friday, July 4th, 2014

What Type of Wood Should I Choose for the Casket?

For the typical U.S. burial, an estimated one-third of families opt for wood caskets. Unlike their metal counterparts, wood caskets aren’t pitched as offering high preservation qualities, and instead are chosen for their lower cost and general elegance. Because you are talking about an organic material, wood caskets will decay faster than metal ones, with “softer” woods holding up for a shorter amount of time than hardwoods.

The harder and less porous the wood, the more expensive it will be. So too will the finish of the wood and the details contribute to the cost.

  • Pine: Pine caskets are the lowest-cost option, often coming in at under $1,000 (especially if you look for them (more…)

How to Write Your Own Obituary

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Composing an obituary When it comes to funeral planning, some people prefer to have everything taken care of ahead of time. In addition to setting aside money for a funeral, this includes choosing things like caskets and headstones ahead of time. And if you really don’t want to leave anything to chance, you can also write your own obituary.

After all, no one can sum up your life quite as well as you can. Awards and achievements—those things that look good on paper—might make for a nice newspaper article, but they rarely capture who you are as a person and what kind of message you want to leave behind. If writing your own obituary and placing it with your estate plans is something that appeals to you, here’s how you can best go about it. (more…)

5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Funeral Planning

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Cemetery is the dawn's lightOnce you’ve made the decision to begin funeral planning, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the information and options out there. Choosing cremation vs burial, picking between dozens of local funeral homes, considering funeral insurance vs a pre-plan funeral package…these are just a few of the options that pop up in the beginning of your search.

Because few purchases will ever be more personal than the ones you make regarding your own death, it’s important to take a deep breath and relax as you move forward. Although time is one of the few things none of us has an unlimited amount of, you should never plan a funeral in haste. It’s too easy to overpay or buy services you don’t need if you feel pressured to make immediate decisions.

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How Much Does Burial Insurance Cost?

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

People at funeral consoling each otherOne of the easiest ways to pre-pay for a funeral is to buy burial insurance (also known as funeral insurance). Instead of picking out details like caskets or cemeteries now, you simply set aside a lump sum that is payable out to your beneficiary upon your death. They can then use the money to fund your funeral in a way that fits with your wishes and their grieving needs.

Because burial insurance is a “guaranteed” payout (unlike car insurance, which will only pay out in the event of an accident, everyone will eventually die and collect on their burial policy), most of the costs are fixed. Your policy provider will take into account your age, your desired method of payment, and how large your payout is. From there, you will choose a policy that fits with your needs. This means that while one person (say, a 50-year-old in good health) might pay a fairly small monthly charge, another person (someone in their 70s who is a smoker) can expect larger monthly fees and even big upfront costs.

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Pre-Plan a Funeral Online

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Pre-Plan a Funeral OnlineIf the idea of calling funeral homes and meeting with estate planners to make advance funeral arrangements isn’t one you cherish, you may be able to find online options to save you time and money. Although unheard of just a few years ago, online funeral planning is now a viable option that allows you to plan and even pay for your funeral from the comfort of your own home.

How Online Funeral Planning Works

There are two ways you can pre-plan a funeral online. The first option requires nothing more from you than to make decisions regarding your wishes. For example, you can:

Print out a funeral planning worksheet, which you can then fill out regarding your specific wishes.
Find a funeral planning app or other online option that allows you to make decisions and email your answers to family members.
Coordinate funeral pre-plan options with a specific funeral home, which will use the information provided to contact you at a later date.

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