Planning ahead makes all the difference
By Tim Yoder
We typically make plans for the future – for marriage, vacation, retirement. But it’s harder to prepare for the end of life.
As a funeral director, about half of the families I meet with have preplanned and prepaid funerals, saving a surviving spouse or children from significant guesswork. I often hear from someone who’s preplanning, “I am doing this so our family won’t have to.” That’s planning driven by love.
Preplanning can control expenses. Without it, decisions must be made quickly and during a highly emotional time. That’s not a good combination for making significant financial decisions. Here are preplanning ideas to consider:
- Plan with a funeral home you expect to use. Then you are working with a real person who is more likely to manage costs for you since they have a reputation to protect in the community. Mail-order life insurance for these expenses can have decreasing death benefits as you age and cost more than the death benefit you receive.
- Consider a pre-paid contract that is irrevocable, if you might use Medicaid for paying nursing home costs. Irrevocable contracts are protected from spend-downs requirements when Medicaid is paying long-term care costs. Not all states have an irrevocability rule.
- Make sure you can transfer your funeral plan. State laws vary, so you want a transferrable plan if you might later move to Florida, for example, or in with children in another state.
I understand that people who preplan their funerals live longer. It seems a healthier route for people of faith whose hope is built on more than life on earth.
Free end-of-life guide
Everence offers a free guide on funeral-related planning, Make your wishes known: Your faith values, memories and legacy. This guide can help you make a wide range of funeral planning decisions, including your obituary and church service planning. This resource can be downloaded at Everence.com or ordered by calling (800)348-7468 ext. 3202.
Tim Yoder co-owns Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, Goshen, Ind., and is a licensed pastor with the Church of the Brethren.