Are you ready for your funeral? Is your family? Or are you putting off planning your exit because the subject is unpleasant? If you are, you may end up adding a whole lot of stress to your family’s grief and they may put together a farewell that is nothing like what you want. Take a cue from the wealthy and powerful who plan their funerals, making sure they are in control of their lives even after life – like Prince Philip of Great Britain.
Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, left a detailed funeral plan that went into effect after he died on April 9, 2021 at age 99. He requested a ceremonial service rather than the state funeral he was entitled to, which may have given him more freedom in planning. And he did quite a lot of planning.
Shortly before his death, he instructed, with the Queen’s approval, that the attendees list be cut from 800 to 30 because of COVID-19 precautions. His coffin was borne to the chapel in a Land Rover, his favorite vehicle brand, which he had had painted military green and redesigned to serve as his hearse.
The service itself also spoke to mourners in Philip’s voice. He chose the readings and hymns and planned the military salutes and processions. As a dedicated Royal Navy veteran who had seen battle during World War II, he specifically requested that Royal Marine buglers play “Action Stations,” an alarm that alerts sailors to prepare for battle. Funeral expenses were not an issue for the Royal Family, of course, but it must have been a comfort for the Queen to know her beloved husband went out exactly the way he wanted.
Your Legacy: Peace of Mind
That peace of mind for the ones you leave behind is a strong argument for planning your funeral now, before you need it. Unless you too are a member of the Royal Family, prepaying for the funeral will also save your loved ones the stress of making sure the expenses are covered. Deciding financial questions can be stressful whether you can afford to pay or not. Still not convinced? Here are the top three foolish reasons to avoid making funeral plans while you are alive:
Foolish Reason # 1 – I don’t care what happens to me when I am dead.
You may not care, but your family will have to. When a person dies without funeral plans, someone in the family decides what kind of funeral to have and where you will be buried, or your ashes strewn. And when there is a death in the family, decisions tend to be colored by grief, not governed by reason. Family squabbles may occur if there are loved ones that disagree about where your final resting place should be. How sure are you that your spouse, your children, stepchildren, siblings, parents, etc., will all agree on the many decisions that will need to be made? If you come from a big family or a blended family, most likely there will be some dissent.
Foolish Reason # 2 – I don’t want to think about it.
Of course you don’t! No one wants to think about his or her death. But have you ever purchased automobile insurance? Homeowner’s insurance? Life insurance? Arranging your funeral, like purchasing life insurance, is one more provision you can make for a time when your family must go on without you. You might just be surprised what a relief it is to take that step and get your funeral arrangements done. You won’t have to think about them again and, more importantly, neither will your loved ones.
Foolish Reason # 3 – I can’t afford it now
Will your family be able to afford it? They are the ones who will have to pay, perhaps when they can least afford it. A funeral purchased when a death in the family occurs usually must be paid in full before interment. That often makes a huge dent in a family’s budget, especially in cases of an unexpected death. When you purchase your funeral before there is a crisis, you may choose from a variety of payment plans that meet your budget. And your heirs can use your life insurance or inheritance the way you intended it.
Now that you know the top three foolish reasons to put off planning your funeral, here are the top three intelligent reasons that have made prepaid funerals all the rage.
Intelligent Reason # 1 – Your family will not have to deal with both a heavy emotional and financial burden while grieving.
Only by prearranging (prepaying for your services) are you able to take care of the actual expense of the funeral or cremation service ahead of time. Prearranging significantly lowers the cost of the products and services that will be used during your service and for your final resting place. You benefit from selecting today’s prices, free from future inflationary pressures. Essentially you are able to purchase tomorrow’s funeral at today’s price.
Intelligent Reason # 2 – Understanding that writing your funeral wishes in your Last Will and Testament is simply not enough.
Writing your burial or cremation request in your Will simply leaves instructions for how you would like your remains to be handled. That is too vague. Having a prearranged plan accompanying your Will spells out exactly where your body or ashes shall be placed and lets your family know that these arrangements have already been planned and paid for. It is good practice to place a copy of the prepaid funeral arrangements right alongside your Will, where your family can easily find them.
Intelligent Reason # 3 – Your funeral is your last chance to make a statement to the world. It increases the chances that the world will remember you as you wish to be remembered.
Because of his carefully planned funeral, Philip left this world as a respected military veteran, a beloved husband and a doting grandfather. Whatever the world may have thought of him in life, his decision to have a simple ceremonial service instead of a grand state funeral left a positive impression. You can have the same effect by arranging a funeral that presents exactly what you want to show and leaves your loved ones with the memories you want them to hold on to.
A pre-paid funeral plan puts you in control and ensures that you will leave your family memories, not bills. Contact OC Estate and Elder Law at (954)251-0332 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how prearranging can help you control your wealth from beyond the grave. Our attorneys are fluent in English, Spanish, and Russian.