Ad­vance plan­ning eases bur­den on fam­ily

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Senior Satellite - By RYAN HELFEN­BEIN

A new year is al­ready upon us. It seems that the older we get, the faster time moves. Un­for­tu­nately, with that pas­sage of time comes loss. Our friends be­gin to dis­ap­pear around us and we can’t help but re­late to the obit­u­ar­ies as the in­di­vid­u­als listed sud­denly be­come not so much older than we are. The re­al­ity is we will all be in a po­si­tion of plan­ning for that fi­nal day. The only ques­tion is – are we go­ing to leave ev­ery­thing for our fam­ily to fig­ure out, or will we leave them with clear in­struc­tions and fi­nan­cially pro­tected plans?

Let’s be hon­est death is not an if, but a when. It is truly the only as­pect of life that is a guar­an­tee. Now, some might ar­gue that death and taxes are both a guar­an­tee, but we hear time and time again on the news of some­one in court for skirt­ing the task of pay­ing their taxes. The one thing we will never hear of is some­one dodg­ing the duty of breath­ing their last breath. As we come to re­al­ize that we can­not skip the end, or, per­haps just at­tend one too many fu­ner­als for peo­ple our own age, we can­not help but be­gin to con­sider mak­ing those fi­nal plans so that our own loved ones never have a con­cern as to what is to be done. The ques­tions of who is to do what and how the cre­ma­tion and/or fu­neral ex­penses are to be paid can be an­swered well in ad­vance.

To many this task of plan­ning ahead starts with the lo­cal at­tor­ney’s of­fice. From there we move to the in­sur­ance agent and/or fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor. Af­ter that, we brush our hands to­gether and stand tall be­cause our plans for the end are com­plete. Well ... not quite. Yes, it is im­por­tant to meet with these pro­fes­sion­als so that your prop­erty and as­sets are pro­tected and dis­trib­uted ac­cord­ing to your wishes. But the one pro­fes­sional that seems to be left out from this equa­tion is the one that will be im­me­di­ately con­tacted when our in­ter­nal clock de­cides to stop. For ex­am­ple, at 2 a.m. on a Satur­day morn­ing of a hol­i­day week­end, will your next of kin be call­ing the lawyer, fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor or ac­coun­tant? Nope, it will be one of us dark suited night owls — the un­der­taker. It stands to rea­son that our first step to plan­ning ahead should be with a Cer­ti­fied Pre-Plan­ning Coun­selor within the fu­neral in­dus­try. This is a pro­fes­sional who not only holds a state-is­sued mor­ti­cian’s li­cense (ie. an un­der­taker), but has also ob­tained ad­di­tional train­ing, ex­pe­ri­ence and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the Na­tional Fu­neral Direc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion in help­ing fam­i­lies cre­ate ad­vance plans. This cer­ti­fi­ca­tion as­sures that you are work­ing with a pro­fes­sional who has gone above and be­yond what is nec­es­sary in or­der to at­tain spe­cial­ized skills in the field of ad­vanced plan­ning and fu­neral fund­ing.

When com­plet­ing ad­vanced plans, this cer­ti­fied un­der­taker will walk you through op­tions based around what you would want for your­self and de­velop a de­tailed plan to carry out those wishes in the fu­ture. An es­ti­mate is cre­ated for you re­gard­ing the costs of all as­pects of the plan and ex­plained to you in de­tail. You may also be pre­sented with op­tions for ways to have the plan com­pletely fi­nan­cially pro­tected so that you can leave that con­sul­ta­tion with a smile on your face. Why? Be­cause you never ever have to think of it again! No mat­ter where death oc­curs — any­where it the world — no mat­ter what the fu­ture cost might be, and re­gard­less of who is over­see­ing your af­fairs, when the time comes, all is in or­der and your plan will be car­ried out. No ques­tions, no con­cerns and ab­so­lutely no fi­nan­cial dis­cus­sion will be had in the fu­ture. In dis­cussing this with a good friend of mine from church, he pointed out that you are now able to leave the memo­ri­al­iza­tion as­pects to your fam­ily as the busi­ness mat­ters are com­plete. Those left be­hind are now able to con­cen­trate on how to re­mem­ber you through the se­lec­tion of flow­ers and pho­tos, the cre­ation of trib­ute videos, and more — all with­out the con­cern of “how much.”

Plan­ning is some­thing that we all do on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, but it seems that some things are eas­ier to plan for than oth­ers. Plan­ning a va­ca­tion vs. plan­ning for our own demise would most likely be at two dif­fer­ent spec­trums of en­ter­tain­ment for most, but un­for­tu­nately only one is a guar­an­tee. The next time you see that obit­u­ary in the pa­per that has the same date of birth as you do, wouldn’t it be nice to know that if that was to be your own, that you have your ad­vanced plans in place and noth­ing left to plan for but good times ahead.

RYAN HELFEN­BEIN

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