Pre-arranging your Choices

Many people choose pre-arrangement in order to help their families and avoid questions and confusion later on. Pre-arrangement is not a preoccupation with death; it is a personal tool for preparation.

The first step toward pre-arranging is to get together with your loved ones. Offer your thoughts and then listen carefully. Give their ideas special attention. Since your funeral will most directly affect your family, it is essential to include their suggestions in your plans (and also to make sure they're aware of your final choices).

Next, arrange a conference with your funeral director and family members. Use this opportunity to ask as many questions as necessary, and to discuss the choices that will help to create a tribute that is appropriate and meaningful for you.

If you choose to pre-pay, ask for a specific list of those items that are included as well as those that are not. There are several options available for funding the pre-arrangement, and they may vary somewhat in each state or province. Talk to your funeral director about funding the pre-arranged funeral service. He or she will be able to give you helpful information and thoughtful guidance.

Check to see if the funeral home puts the money in a trust or escrow upon pre-payment. An affirmative answer is usually a sign that the funeral home is a reputable provider of pre-planning services. You also may check to see if the payment agreement can be made now with money delivered later. In some areas, consumers are allowed to make the funeral home a beneficiary of life insurance meant to cover this particular service.

Your funeral director has the proper forms needed for making pre-arrangements. He or she will likely keep a copy of these forms on file, but you should ask for copies as well. Keep them with your valuable papers, review them periodically, and update them as necessary. Get everything in writing and in detail. Like many contracts, details can become unclear over time if only a general agreement is made. This step may help your family to avoid difficulties in the future.

For further information or to begin making pre-arrangements, you may wish to contact your local Selected Independent Funeral Home by using our Member Locator.