Prepaid funerals help secure our financial future
Have you thought about your final arrangements for your passing? By planning early, you can avoid costly mistakes and create a sense of peace for your family.
September 3, 2014 - Author: Julie Moberg, Michigan State University Extension
As one nears retirement, getting financial issues in order can give you a peace of mind and a more carefree retirement. Many people do not like to think about their own passing but, if one takes just a little time to meet with a funeral director or coordinator these decisions can give a person a sense of peace.
Often this process helps to ease the burden for the family during a time of grief. It lets the family know what one’s final wishes are, which can lessen the emotional strain on the family members. It is an easy process when you are assisted by a funeral coordinator.
Funeral coordinators have a form to help guide discussions and decisions on arrangements. One can include as many family members as they wish. Prepayment is not a requirement for the preplanning process. However, if one wishes to prepay for a funeral, funeral homes have multiple prepayment plans. Costs can vary between funeral homes so it is advisable to get estimates before buying or agreeing on a service. Funeral homes are required by law to give you accurate up to date pricing information, reference A Guide to Legal and Emotional Concerns; Michigan Legal Aid. They are required to give you a free copy of their price lists. They are also required to give prices over the phone if you ask for them. This can be an emotional process so it may be helpful to have another family member or friend help you make decisions about the arrangements and what to purchase. One should not be pressured into buying products or services that they are not comfortable with or cannot afford. Clergy or spiritual advisors can also be helpful in making these arrangements.
Michigan State University Extension advises that by planning ahead you can compare prices and make choices without guilt or pressure. Using the itemized price list from a funeral home can save you money by allowing the consumer to pick services they want and comparison shop among the funeral homes. If one chooses to prepay for funeral services, a prepaid funeral contract is drawn up and signed. Prepaid funeral contracts are extensively regulated through state law, reference Changes and Choices, Legal Rights of Senior Adults; Michigan Legislature.
If a person is on limited income and eligible for Medicaid, they can prearrange their own funeral and still be eligible for Medicaid. A contract can be made irrevocable and not counted toward Medicaid eligibility when the price is $2000 or less and the contract is for your own expenses. One can also assign life insurance proceeds to pay for your funeral expenses. The amount varies each year based upon cost of living expenses. Medicaid eligible individuals can also purchase items such as a casket, burial plot, vault, headstone, and opening and closing of the grave site without affecting one’s Medicaid eligibility.
Regardless of your income level, it remains a good idea to look into and set up a prepaid funeral. There are many advantages to doing it early. It provides emotional relief for the family at the time of death. By planning early, you can save money by comparison shopping and not being pressured to make quick decisions at an emotional time.
For more information on financial management visit www.msue.msu.edu.