This year Scott T. made a New Year’s resolution to get organized. If something unforeseen happened, Scott isn’t certain his family would be able to find legal, financial or other important information. “A friend of mine unexpectedly died last year and I watched his family struggle to make decisions about funeral arrangements and spend hours trying to find the info they needed. I wouldn’t want my family to go through that–any advice?”
Scott, you bring up excellent points for joining the ranks of the 16.5 million people who will preplan their funerals this year. As another writer put it “no one is promised tomorrow.” According to 2000 U.S. Census data, people under 50 account for one fourth of all U.S. deaths. It also reports that deaths are more common than births: a baby is born every 12 seconds while a death occurs every 8 seconds.
When a death occurs, one of the best gifts you can give your family is peace–the knowledge that they have acted in accordance with your wishes. Preplanning also:
- eliminates the possibility that your family will debate, discuss and guess your wishes
- protects your family from the stress of hunting for important information and documents
- removes the possibility that grieving family members will feel the need to overspend
Below are tips from the experts to help you move forward.
Set a Timeframe
The best time to preplan is when you are healthy so that you can have time to reflect and decide what is best for you. Many find that setting a finished plan goal date works best.
There are over 100 detailed decisions a family needs to make upon the death of a loved one and a trusted professional can help streamline the process and answer questions. At Krause Funeral Homes, Preneed Specialists concentrate on listening and recording clients’ wishes. They are trained and licensed beyond the State’s licensing requirements and have helped more people organize their wishes than any other funeral home in Wisconsin. Christine Jacob, Krause’s Preneed Director, says “We find that it works best to meet face-to-face for about an hour and can arrange to meet in our office or any quiet place convenient for people. If that option isn’t available, we can set-up a phone conference or simply answer questions via email.” There is no charge for meeting with a Preneed Specialist.
Set Aside Introspective Time
For most, preplanning involves some easy-to-answer questions and some that need more thought.
Educate Your Loved Ones
Once your wishes are in writing you need to tell someone where they are. While you may have put directives in your will or a safe deposit box, often these are not opened or read until after a funeral. And unless someone has access to your computer passwords and knows which files to look for, a computer document may never be opened. A safe bet is to keep a copy of your wishes at the funeral home of your choice.
Related helpful advice can be found here:
- Talking to Your Adult Children About Your Funeral Wishes
- Talking to Your Parents about Putting a Plan In Place
- Talking to a Spouse Who Is Reluctant to Put a Plan In Place
- Prefunding a Funeral
- Why Preplanning Makes Sense
Don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.