Planning Ahead

As an Advance Planning Specialist, I’ve been helping families with Advance Planning for the past 17 years. I have worked with large family owned funeral homes, small family owned funeral homes and corporately owned funeral homes and cemeteries.

Today I would like to share the reasons why people choose to prepay for their funeral and cremation services. I’ve met with thousands of families and in my opinion, it boils down to three main reasons.

1. Price Guarantee: You really can pay today’s price for funeral services and merchandise that will be used sometime in the future. The Goods and Services page clearly defines which items are Guaranteed (usually items that are within the control of the funeral home) and which are Non-Guaranteed/Cash Advance Items. I’ve heard the stories: “My mom paid for her whole funeral and when she died the funeral home wanted more money.” Most of the time this is easily explained by the Non-Guaranteed/Cash Advance items going up in cost.

2. Safe from Medicaid, Bankruptcy and Creditors: A nursing home stay is a real possibility for many of us as we age. Monies placed in an Irrevocable Funeral Trust are exempt from Medicaid. This allows the family to plan and pay for the funeral they choose before their assets are depleted.

3. Funeral Bill paid within 48 hours: Having the money already set aside in an Irrevocable Funeral Trust can ensure your family has no financial responsibility at the time of your death. Each funeral home has their own at-need payment requirements: Some want a portion paid down before the obituary can be placed, some run the credit score of the next of kin prior to meeting with the family, some require two signatures on a loan for the funeral amount, some charge a fee to assist with claiming a portion of an insurance policy. There is one funeral home I am aware of that wants 100% paid before they will schedule services.

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I lost my husband five years ago. After the dust settled I considered what my children would go through at the time of my death. My daughter was a full-time student and living locally. My son and daughter-in-law live in Arizona. They would have the immediate expense of two plane tickets, and at least a week off work for both of them. Compound this with the stress of bringing a checkbook or a credit card to meet a funeral director the day after they lost their mother. It brought tears to my eyes five years ago, and it still does today.

I funded my funeral in 2010. My children were not interested in talking about it then. They are not interested in talking about it now. And that is ok.

Feel free to call me at (260) 456-0890 with questions about funeral planning. I am here to help.

Please visit our website at www.northernindianafuneralcare.com. Take a look around, notice our A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and the endorsements from the American Legion Department of Indiana and the Fort Wayne Professional Firefighters Union.

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