Get the send-off you want. Acting as your own funeral planner leaves nothing to chance.
There is a cultural tradition in New Orleans known as a jazz funeral. After the funeral service, a horse-drawn carriage carries the deceased to their final resting place. A band follows the carriage, playing a slow, solemn tune as the mourners walk to the cemetery. Along the way, the sad occasion becomes a celebration of the life the dead is leaving behind. The music turns joyous, the mourners dance, and the spirit of the beloved can leave knowing they are celebrated and appreciated.
One woman, 93-year-old Pat Green, enjoys the tradition so much that she became her own funeral planner and held her jazz funeral before she passed away. The procession came complete with a rolling bar and some of the best jazz musicians in the city.
Pat provides a lesson for all of us: you don't have to wait to plan your funeral. In fact, when you act as your own funeral planner, you ensure your last wishes get carried out the way you want them to.
Benefits of Being Your Own Funeral Planner
Planning your own funeral isn't as macabre as it sounds. In fact, there are many benefits to it, not the least of which is taking the burden away from your loved ones. According to MarketWatch, an average funeral can cost more than $7,000. In addition to the expense, a funeral requires a lot of decisions, without very much time to make them.
Preplanning a funeral can save money for your family, give you time to plan for the costs, and leave your loved ones with time to grieve rather than trying to make decisions. In fact, many people consider it part of estate planning right along with writing a will and choosing life insurance.
There are a few ways to act as your own funeral planner, but some very important steps are to write everything down, store the document in a safe place, and give a copy to your loved ones. If no one knows your expectations, your planning won't help them.
Make a list that includes your insurance policy, the location of your will, your funeral home choice, any burial or cremation payments and arrangements you've made, and anyone you would like to be contacted. The more details you add, the better.
Some other considerations may include:
- Do you want a wake or family visitation?
- Are there religious traditions you would like mourners to observe?
- Where will the funeral take place?
- If you choose a burial rather than cremation, who will be the pallbearers?
- Are there readings or eulogies you want to be read?
- What songs or hymns do you want to be sung?
- Is there a photo you want to be displayed?
- Is there jewelry or sentimental items that should go to the grave with you?
How to Preplan a Funeral
State laws vary, but according to the National Funeral Directors Association, you may need to work directly with a funeral director to preplan your funeral. They also point out that the Federal Trade Commission regulates funeral providers and that funeral homes must give consumers a "General Price List" of all goods and services.
One advantage of preplanning and paying for a funeral is that as costs rise, you can pay less by prepaying than you would if you wait until you need a funeral director's services.
One easy way to preplan for funeral expenses is through a policy such as Pekin Insurance's Pathway® insurance. Your premium goes into a trust to pay for funeral costs at over 450 funeral homes. Because the money is in a trust, it remains protected from things like long-term care expenses or debt collections.
Using a policy like Pathway® gives you options for pre-payment of a funeral and the associated expenses. Some people like to pay in a single payment and then receive increases on the face value of the policy based on interest. Others prefer to fund their policy on a payment plan. Whatever you choose, a Pathway® policy helps you handle future expenses so your loved ones don't have to.
Although being your own funeral planner might be an emotional experience, it shouldn't be difficult. You don't have to answer a medical questionnaire, and you can put everything in place so your loved ones don't bear the burden.
Call your Pekin Insurance pre-need agent today to learn more about a Pathway® policy and how it can help you prepare for the future.