By Last Updated: January 31st, 2022

Why You Should Plan Ahead: A Primer on Prepaid Funeral Plans

Making funeral arrangements after a loved one dies can be overwhelming for family and friends who are in shock and grieving. It puts pressure on family members to make the right decision for someone who isn’t here to tell you what they want. Preplanning a funeral, or purchasing a prepaid plan, alleviates the burden of having to make tough decisions on a moment’s notice. It also gives family and friends the space to spend time with each other rather than with a funeral director.

What is a Prepaid Plan For a Funeral and Why Should You Do It?

A prepaid plan is just how it sounds—you are preparing and rendering payment for services ahead of time. When you enter a prepaid agreement, the funeral home will set aside the money you pay today to plan for funeral services later on.

Prepaid funerals are a great option for everyone. Here are some reasons why preplanning is worthy of consideration:

Less to Worry About

When you have everything set up ahead of time, your family won’t have to worry about anything when the time comes.They can instead spend time honoring a life well lived and taking comfort in each other.Plus, if you are preplanning for yourself, it gives you the peace of mind that you won’t leave behind a financial burden for your family.

It’s Your Choice

One thing families who experience sudden death struggle with is knowing what the deceased wanted as their final wishes. When it comes to preplanning, there is no guesswork as the deceased’s wishes are made known through advanced preparations.

oak wood funeral casket with loral arrangement in New City Church in LA

It Saves You Money

Because the cost of living increases each year, there is no way to predict the cost of a funeral in the years ahead. When you make a prepaid plan, you lock in current prices, which saves you and your family money in the long run.

“Most traditional funeral homes will have more limited options, whereas crematories and direct cremation allow for more creative control.”

I’ve Chosen a Prepaid Plan—Now What?

After you decide to go the prepaid plan route, you have other important decisions to make. Here are a few things to consider as you start making prepaid preparations:

Should You Choose Cremation or Burial?

When it comes to cremation versus burial, you’ll want to consider cost, what kind of memorial service you’d like, whether you’d like immediate burial or direct cremation, and more. Opal Cremation would be happy to answer your questions about cremation as our professionals are always ready to help.

Which Funeral Provider or Funeral Home Should You Go With?

Do your research. Compare reviews, ratings, prices, and services from specific funeral homes or crematories. Be sure to ask for the general price list that offers a comprehensive breakdown of services and packages. If a funeral director doesn’t have a general price list or refuses to give you one, this is a violation of FTC standards–so that will probably eliminate this provider for you!

What Kind of Travel Protection Services Are Included?

Check to see that the prepaid plan offers travel protection. Travel protection ensures that family won’t have to make costly arrangements to bring a loved one back home, whether they are out of state or outside of a predetermined radius.

What Kind of Memorial Services Are Included?

When selecting a prepaid plan, look at what the provider offers. Most traditional funeral homes will have more limited options, whereas crematories and direct cremation allow for more creative control. When making your own personal plans to leave behind for your loved ones, consider writing out your exact wishes so there is no second-guessing from family members. If you are planning for someone else, you might want to have a conversation about what they imagine their memorial service to look like.

lit prayer candles at a funeral service

Where Do You Want Your Final Resting Place to Be?

Again, when it comes to preplanning, it’s important to figure out an individual’s preferences. If they are looking for a standard burial, then their options will be limited to a cemetery or mausoleum. However, if they choose cremation, the options are more diverse, as cremated remains can be scattered, put in an urn or container, turned into a stone or jewelry, or divided among family members. An individual who preplans may also want to designate a specific family member or person to be in charge of the cremains.

“A guaranteed plan makes sure that all of your prepaid services are covered, even if the prices go up.”

With Preplanning, How Do You Know That Your Money Will Be Safe?

There are two safeguards for families planning ahead:

Trust Accounts

  • You enter into a trust account when you agree to make prepaid arrangements with a funeral home.
  • Most states and funeral homes are required to put a patron’s money into a state-regulated account.
  • State laws make sure that the money can only be accessed in the event of your death.
  • If you’d like to change funeral providers, your money can be transferred to another funeral home.

Guaranteed Plans

  • When entering into a prepaid agreement, ask if the services are guaranteed.
  • Since funeral prices increase every year, the prepaid services you purchase could be worth more down the road.
  • A guaranteed plan makes sure that all of your prepaid services are covered, even if the prices go up.
  • Non-guaranteed plans work like down payments, where family members will have to foot the difference when you pass away.

What Are the Differences Between Preplanning, Funeral Insurance, and a Payable on Death Account?

As you research different prepaid options, you might notice different terminology for what sounds like the same thing. Here’s what you need to know about the nuances between some of the phrases:

What is Preplanning?

Preplanning is a catchall term for planning for a funeral in advance, which may involve putting some money away without being under a specific contract. While preplanning is a great start, it won’t involve the benefits of a prepaid contract to protect you in the future.

What is Funeral Insurance?

Funeral insurance functions like life insurance, but it covers lower costs, typically between $5,000 and $25,000. One thing to note is that the money left to family does not have to be used for funeral expenses.

What is a Payable on Death Account?

A payable on death account is when the deceased leaves money to a beneficiary that can be used for anything because it’s been set up through a bank. This can potentially cause issues within a family if you choose one beneficiary to receive the money to distribute, as the distribution is left to their discretion. Beneficiaries are generally under no legal obligation to distribute the money or abide by the deceased’s wishes.
Do you have questions about making prepaid cremation arrangements? Opal Cremation can walk you through how to start making a plan, step-by-step.. Compassionate professionals are eagerly awaiting your call and will provide you with all of the information you need about Opal Cremation services. Contact us here.

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