Funeral Planning for Your New Year’s Resolution
For most of us, New Year’s resolutions are an opportunity improve our lives. We make promises to eat better, exercise more, remember to visit the dentist twice a year, and otherwise look after our health. After all, a new year is a fresh start, and what could be better than to find ways to enjoy a more positive, fruitful life?
One answer might be to find a way to enjoy a more positive, fruitful death.
Although exercising and eating right are admirable goals, you might also want to consider ways to improve your finances for the future—the way future, to a time when you will no longer be alive. Although none of us will get to choose the time or the place we pass on, we can ensure that arrangements are in place and paid for while the opportunity is still here.
Make This Year about Finances
Advance funeral plans are usually made at a time in our lives when we’re putting our financial affairs in order. For most people, this happens during a major life change: marriage, divorce, starting a family, buying a new home, or getting ready for retirement. After all, it’s impossible to make any of these changes without taking a long, hard look at our finances—both right now and in the future. And because you often have to call on the support of a financial advisor, estate planner, or attorney, it makes sense that you also take a moment to consider your final interment options.
Funeral pre-plans take on a variety of forms, many of which go hand-in-hand with other financial decisions. For example, you can:
- Take out a burial insurance policy to go on top of a life insurance policy
- Set aside a portion of your estate to cover funeral expenses
- Budget for a monthly funeral pre-plan package
- Open a trust or other savings account to be earmarked for funeral funds
- Use a lump sum payment (from a home sale or other major life change) to purchase a cemetery plot
- Talk with a funeral home to learn more about monthly or lump-sum options
Set Funeral Goals and Stick to Them
Even if you aren’t in a position to take strong financial steps toward funeral planning, it’s also a good idea to make a resolution to consider your options and share them with your family. Maybe this is the year you should research the pros and cons of cremation, or consider organ or body donation as a final gift. Perhaps you aren’t sure what you want and you’d like to know how your family feels on the subject.
Although financial funeral planning is always best, it’s equally important to talk with loved ones about your wishes. Let them know how you feel about your final wishes, and discuss how funeral costs can be covered (either now or at the time of death). Even without making any huge commitments, you can take positive steps in organizing your affairs, and you can settle into the new year knowing that you’ve done your part to reduce the burden of decision making and funeral planning on your family.