Funeral Planning Glossary
Funeral 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.
- Life Insurance: Unlike preneed or funeral insurance, life insurance is meant to provide a financial cushion for those you leave behind. Although part of this money certainly can be used to pay for a funeral, it’s typically earmarked as a way to provide for the loss of income that death causes.
- Funeral Pre-Plan, Preplanned Funerals, Pre-Arranged Funerals: Any time you see the phrase pre-plan or pre-arranged, it’s safe to assume that what is happening is that you are planning a funeral before you need one. Whether you go so far as to put money into trust by the funeral home to be held until you need them, or if you simply fill out a checklist of desired services and products, the idea behind a pre-planned funeral is that you make your own decisions regarding your funeral so that your family doesn’t have to. You can typically choose between cremation or burial, and can cover all the details from embalming to the memorial service. (The regulations regarding funeral pre-plans vary by state.)
- Pre-Paid Funeral: Pre-planning a funeral isn’t always the same as pre-paying for one. Because pre-paid funerals specifically mention money, they cover everything from funeral pre-plans with attached payment plans to funeral insurance policies. And because the safety of your investment is important, it’s always recommended that you talk with your financial advisor, attorney, or family before you make any of these plans. (As is the case with pre-arranged funerals, regulations for this type of service vary by state.)
- Funeral Planning: Perhaps the most comprehensive term in the funeral industry, funeral planning covers just about any type of arrangement or service you make—regardless of whether you do it now or wait for your family to handle it after your death.
Any step you can take toward planning your funeral is a good one. Because death is an event that eventually happens to everyone, it’s worth your time to look into your options. Whether you pay for everything upfront or merely make a list outlining your wishes, funeral planning offers many different options to the modern consumer.