What is Prearrangement?
Prearrangement is the planning of funeral services before the need arises, often years before death occurs. A funeral director records your preferences for the type of service desired, music and flowers, casket selection, and other information. You and your family receive a copy of the preferences, and the funeral home keeps a copy as well. Keeping these records in an accessible place is important to surviving family members.
People prearrange funerals for many reasons. Some have definite preferences concerning the funeral service or merchandise and want their families to be informed and involved in the decisions. Others want to save their survivors from having to make decisions at a difficult and confusing time.
Some individuals who have been faced with making selections for loved ones may wish to spare others from the indecision, guessing, emotion, or anxiety they experienced. Still others may prearrange because no one else is capable of making responsible decisions. Many like the benefit of financial savings that come from prepaying expenses. In any case, funeral prearrangement can alleviate many concerns and is often viewed as an element of estate planning.
Do You Have to Pay for Anything?
No, although families choose to for many reasons. Prefinancing alleviates financial concerns, preventing an unnecessary burden at a time of loss because it ensures funds are available when needed. Prefinancing can help offset inflation - allowing you to pay tomorrow's costs at today's prices.
Additionally, some people choose to prefinance to preserve an individual's Medicaid or SSI eligibility.
What are Prefinancing Options?
Generally, trusts and life insurance provide ways to fund your choices. Each provides a different set of advantages and options. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. In most cases, they are revocable, meaning that funds can be withdrawn at any time. At the time of death, however, these funds can be paid directly to the funeral home upon presentation of the death certificate. The process assures your funeral expenses are cared for.
Trusts are often used to protect an individual's assets and solve some estate consequences. For those in nursing homes, for example, this method helps assure that funds will be available long after all other finances are depleted and help preserve Medicaid or SSI eligibility. Taxes on earnings can be the responsibility of the funeral home and not the individual.
With life insurance, coverage often begins the day you apply for a policy, and you may not be required to hold your policy for a specified period of time before you receive full benefits. This funding helps assure you're financially cared for no matter when death occurs. Flexible payment plans may also be available. Earnings from life insurance are not taxed like trusts are. In most cases, the use of services indicated at the time of prefinancing means no additional costs should be incurred at the time of death.
What if Plans Change?
If all or part of funeral preparations take place at a funeral home other than the one prearranged with, records of your preferences can be transferred. If funds were in a trust, they normally will be paid to the funeral home providing services. Additionally, insurance will be applied toward your arrangements regardless of the funeral home that provides services, subject to the funeral home's policy and state laws. The funeral home you arrange with may offer some special programs to assure you're protected no matter where death occurs.
How Do You Prearrange?
Services can be planned for you and your family members at a convenient time by contacting the funeral director to discuss the selection of merchandise and services. Simply ask the funeral director of your choice to meet with you and discuss choices, either at the firm or in the comfort of your own home. This simple gesture of consideration can help your family. Funeral arranging before the need arises is thoughtful and easy to do.
Pre-arrangement decisions free the family from the unnecessary burdens of indecision. We have trained staff available to meet with you at any time. We can provide attentive answers to your questions concerning pre-arrangement and carefully explain your choices and provide full information.
If you would like, you may print the Individual Service Profile, fill it out, and bring it to us or mail it to us at P.O. Box 92, Albany, GA 31702-0092 and we will place it in our files.
If you need any assistance please feel free to call us at (229) 883-4152 or e-mail us using the form on this page.