10 Things Everyone Should Know about Planning a Funeral or Memorial Service |

LWMJanFeb2015-smallfinal_Page_19No one wants to talk about death or dying or to plan their own funeral. The death of someone you care for, together with wanting to make the right decision leaves many families feeling overwhelmed. Often these decisions must be made when a family is grieving and is the least prepared. That’s why it’s so important to give serious thought to your personal wishes and to prearrange your services in advance.

1. Be informed about the choices available.

How would like to be remembered? Your funeral or memorial service should be personalized to reflect your wishes and should bring comfort to your family and friends. Prearranging gives you the opportunity to become informed about your options in an unpressured environment, when you have the time to think things through.

2. Record your wishes. 

Your survivors benefit the most when you prearrange. It also ensures that your wishes are made known. Make sure your wishes are recorded in writing and shared with your family. Keep a copy with your important papers that is easily accessible to your family members.

3. Talk about it with your family and incorporate their wishes. 

A funeral or memorial service is an important part of the grieving process. For family members and loved ones alike, the service provides an opportunity to express their grief, to share memories and to celebrate the life lived. Prearranging is an excellent time for families to discuss and make objective decisions calmly and rationally together.

4. Decide the final disposition. 

Determining your final disposition by burial or cremation is a personal decision, influenced by your faith and beliefs.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask about prices.

Prearranging enables you to keep your  nancial commitment to a comfortable level while eliminating the future  nancial burden placed on your surviving family members.

6. Consider planning and prepaying for your arrangements. 

Prepaying for your services can take care of the actual expense of the service ahead of time, easing the future  nancial burden on your surviving loved ones.

7. Why insurance may not be enough. 

Usually, life insurance, as well as final expense insurance provides a one-time lump sum benefit after a death has occurred. There is no guarentee that the funds will not be consumed by the expenses that result from a long illness or serious accident. Purchasing prearrangements combine the benefits of insurance with a guaranteed service and price.

8. A prearranged funeral or cremation service and medicaid assistance. 

In Virginia, a prearranged funeral or cremation service funded by the life insurance may be treated as an exempt asset for medicaid qualification purposes. This allows you to prearrange the service you desire while maintaining your assistance eligibility. Please consult with your attorney before applying for medicaid assistance to learn more about Virginia’s requirements.

9. Find out ahead of time what government benefits you are eligible to receive. 

Unfortunately, most funeral and burial benefits provided by the social security administration as well as the Veterans Administration are limited. Most families find that additional funding is necessary in order to provide the type of service they find appropriate for their loved one. To find out exactly what benefits you are eligible to receive contact: www.ssa.gov and www.cem.va.gov.

10. Speak with your local dignity memorial provider. 

Our funeral counselors are trained professionals who can be a vital and supportive resource for you and your family. With years of experience, they can explain all the options available and help you make informed decisions. They can guide you step-by-step through the process of prearranging.

By Donna S. Buchanan

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