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Smart, forward-thinkers who want to be ready for all of life’s milestones must think about the last one; planning and paying for their funeral. While not the most pleasant of subjects, it’s important to consider all the options for the event and address how it will be financed. Otherwise, the expense may be a burden on the family and cause additional stress at an already difficult time.

Here are the ABC’s of funeral planning.

Arrive at a plan.

Options vary widely on what’s involved with the funeral process. Deciding on being buried or cremated, a full funeral or graveside service, and the type of casket or urn all factor into the plan and the price. Individuals should carefully consider their preferences and budget when laying out their funeral.

Be ready to shop.

Funeral homes are for-profit organizations, so prices can vary widely. Since funerals typically cost several thousand dollars, some legwork should be involved in the decision. Talking to a hand full of them is smart and can save hundreds of dollars on funeral planning.

Clarify the fine print. 

Know exactly what is included in the agreed-upon price. Do grave plots come in the package? Does visitation? Ask questions and redline anything that is unacceptable. All contracts should be thoroughly reviewed before signing.

Deny expensive additions.

Funeral costs can jump dramatically with casket upgrades, expensive flowers, and unnecessary keepsakes. Just say no, thank you. Simple choices create a nice send off without breaking the bank.

Earmark money to finance it. 

Paying for a funeral can put a big burden on a family if the individual doesn’t plan for it up front. Start a savings account and either transfer money from another account or deposit a small amount into it every month. This will lessen the stress on loved ones when the time comes.

Firm up plans with loved ones.

Once the plans are made, a person’s family and friends must be apprised of the decisions. Explain in detail who is handling the funeral, how the body will be interred, where and if it will be buried and what type of funeral, if any, is expected. The person or people that will be responsible for paying for the funeral need access to the savings account designated for funeral expenses.

Get it all down in writing.

Telling loved ones is smart, but also write down every detail of the plans that have been made. That way everyone involved can be on the same page and understand their loved one’s preferences.

Taking the time for funeral planning is just as essential as saving for a home or planning for retirement. It removes the burden from loved ones, saves money, and makes certain final wishes are carried out properly.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.


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