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How Do I Select a Funeral Plan?

Estate Planning For Life's Stages

Taking out a funeral plan does not only have cost benefits but can also ease some of the emotional distress at an already difficult time.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and thousands of unexpected deaths, families are being forced to find the money for a funeral with no time to plan or save. Many have no option but to buy a “Direct Cremation” to save on costs.

The Money Pages’ recent article entitled “Four steps to choosing and purchasing a funeral plan” explains that the national median cost of a funeral with viewing and burial in 2019 was $7,640. If a vault is included, something that is typically required by a cemetery, that cost rises to $9,135. This means that for many, it’s not possible to raise these funds when a family member dies.

If there are no plans in place and no money set aside in advance, a $750 direct cremation is obviously much more feasible.

However, to avoid emotional turmoil for the family, a funeral should be discussed and considered in advance and if possible, planned. A big problem when trying to buy a funeral plan is confusion, because all funeral plans may appear to look alike at first.

A funeral helps the family heal and in dealing with a death. That’s why funerals have certain aspects of the service that help loved ones process the loss, grieve, say goodbye and start the journey of adapting to their loss.

When considering where to purchase a pre-arrangement, consider what the most comfortable way of purchasing is for you. You may want to visit a funeral home or go to a company that provides later life planning. Many people these days like to make these decisions online and far away from the funeral home. In fact, about half the people over the age of 70 would also like to do it that way because it is less threatening, morbid and finite. The move to shopping online has increased significantly since the pandemic lockdown restrictions forced businesses to close. Shopping online—even for funeral services—has become a more preferred method.

Most plans aren’t used for some 10 or 12 years after purchase. Therefore, the most important thing to consider isn’t the price, but that you’re buying from a secure company that’s been around for at least 15 years. You don’t want a brand new company with no track record. If the company is starting to service plans it sold several years ago, it’s demonstrated a level of financial stability and security that’s critical for you and your family. You want to know that they’ll still be around to help, when the time comes.

There are different financing options, but look for a fully-guaranteed funeral plan. That means that the cremation fees are fully guaranteed as well and that there will be no surprises when the time comes or unexpected charges.

The thought of buying a funeral plan can be overwhelming, but if you consider what you want and understand what to look out for, you can make the right purchase for you and your family.Ozarks Legacy Law's office in Aurora Missouri

Reference: The Money Pages (Feb. 4, 2021) “Four steps to choosing and purchasing a funeral plan”

Suggested Key Terms: COVID-19 (coronavirus), Funeral Planning