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Consider thinking ahead about your funeral

February 26, 2011

In today's society we often plan ahead for many events - weddings, vacations and even retirement. However, many of us never plan for funeral service until we are forced to face those difficult decisions at a stressful and life altering time.

Decisions that a family will have to make when a death occurs can be overwhelming. As a funeral director, it is our duty and honor to provide guidance and assist families in planning a meaningful service that truly reflects the life of the loved one. We also must remember that the way we as humans care for the deceased is what gives us dignity. While funerals and memorial services are conducted as tributes to our lost loved ones, we must realize these services are also therapeutic and help family and friends grieve and gain closure.

One option to help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that may overwhelm your loved ones is by preplanning your funeral arrangements. Preplanning is simply taking care of your funeral service needs and wishes now, before the need arises.

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Preplanning can be as simple as selecting a funeral home and expressing your wishes, or as detailed as itemizing products and services and paying for them in advance.

When preplanning, the individual has a choice in how to pay for those services selected. This can be done several ways. If you have an insurance policy, it can be assigned to the funeral home to cover the cost. For those who do not have insurance but wish to pay the entire amount, the funeral home would deposit their money into a CD at a local bank. By doing so, it would lock in the cost; that way a family would not have a financial burden on them at the time the death occurs. Another option would be making payments. The funeral home would set up a depository account where you can make payments until you reach your set goal.

It is important to realize that the only way to truly lock in today's price is by paying the entire amount up front. In order to safeguard an individual's investment, the funeral home would register the pre-need contract with the state's attorney general's office. Pre-arrangements can easily be transferred from one funeral home to another, if for instance you move to another town or state or if you are just not satisfied with your current funeral service provider. In most cases, transferring does not cost anything and you may find you can save money at another funeral home.

Prior to pre-planning your funeral services you must make the important decision in selecting a funeral home. Today, more and more people are becoming educated and informed prior to making important decisions. Whether we are buying a new car or a set of appliances we comparatively shop for the best values and solutions for our needs and wants. Why should funeral service be any different?

(Ryan Summerfield is a Licensed Funeral Director and the founder/owner of The Randolph Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Valley Bend and The Summerfield Funeral Home in Parsons. For more information, feel free to contact Ryan at 304-338-4800 or 304-478-4800.)



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