Thinking about your death can seem morbid, especially when you’re young and healthy. However, funeral planning isn’t the kind of thing you should put off. The truth is, death can come at any time. If you want to decide how you’re sent off and spare your family the grief of planning a funeral while mourning, you need to think about final arrangements before you need them. Why Pre-plan Your Funeral? Planning a funeral while grieving isn’t just stressful for the bereaved. It’s also expensive. On top of guessing the type of funeral arrangements you’d want, your family may have to come up with $9,000 or more to say goodbye. Unfortunately, those costs rise even higher when grieving families get taken advantage of by funeral homes. With their thinking clouded by grief, the bereaved are more likely to overspend on final arrangements or pay for services they don’t need . How to Pre-plan   A Funeral Planning your funeral in advance allows your loved ones to focus on grieving instead of funeral logistics. It also lets you plan a final farewell that matches your budget and your wishes. These steps explain how to get started. Determine how you’ll pay for a funeral There are two primary ways people pay for funerals: in cash and with insurance. If you have enough money to pay for a funeral in cash, put the funds in a payable-on-death account so your family can access them without going through probate. Avoid prepaying for a funeral at a funeral home, as there’s no guarantee that the funeral home will still be around when you pass away or that you’ll be living in the same place. If using insurance, weigh the pros and cons of buying life insurance versus a smaller burial insurance policy. Life insurance can be used to pay for a funeral, but whole life insurance is expensive to maintain. With smaller benefit amounts and lower premiums than life insurance, burial insurance is a good alternative. Unlike pre-need funeral insurance, burial insurance pays funds directly to beneficiaries who can use any excess funds for other expenses. Burial insurance policies are typically sold through life insurance companies as burial insurance, funeral insurance, or final expense insurance. Some companies, like Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company, specialize in burial insurance. No matter what company you choose, do your research to find an insurer with a good reputation and BBB rating. Decide between cremation and burial

If you have strong religious or personal beliefs, you may already know where you stand on the cremation versus burial decision. If you’re not sure, consider the costs of the different arrangements. Direct burials range from $1,500 to $6,000, whereas a direct cremation can be as low as $450, but typically between $1,600 and $3,000.

Choose your service type While opting for a direct cremation or burial saves money, most people want to give their loved ones an opportunity to say goodbye. Funeral services come in a variety of formats and price points. The traditional funeral with a wake or visitation followed by a service is the most expensive. Some families opt for a graveside or memorial service without a viewing, while others hold a viewing without a formal service. Whatever you choose is up to you, but keep in mind that even a downsized service can be expensive depending on the casket, flowers, and other arrangements. To better understand your costs, call around and get quotes from vendors. After taking these steps, the final thing you need to do is share your plans with your loved ones. In addition to talking about end-of-life wishes, make sure you store information about your funeral plans in a safe location your family can access. While conversations about death aren’t easy to have, taking the reins on funeral planning now ensures your loved ones have the time and space to grieve after you’re gone.    This article was contributed by Camille a friend of My Living Legacy.

Additional Resources

Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company