Advance planning eases burden on family
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.