Funeral and Estate Planning is a Smart New Year’s Resolution. Find Out Why.
This New Year, go beyond the surface-level resolutions and delve into the power of funeral and estate planning.
The journey through advanced funeral and estate planning may not be fun, but it is an important act of profound care for yourself and your loved ones. This roadmap outlines your wishes and extends a guiding hand to those who will carry out your legacy. It’s essentially a gift of peace, ensuring that your loved ones find solace rather than stress after your passing.
Please read on as we define funeral and estate planning and explore its many advantages.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning is the process of detailing how your assets will be managed during your lifetime and who will inherit your estate after your passing. The plan contains several legally binding documents, including:
- A will: Your will or living trust outlines how you want your assets divided after you pass on. If you leave no instructions for surviving family members regarding the distribution of your property, they will have to make educated guesses about how to honor your wishes. In some cases, the state may even intervene to make decisions about how your assets should be distributed.
- Durable Power of Attorney: This document allows your designee, or agent, to take control of your financial and legal matters if you become incapacitated.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney: In the event that you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself, this document allows your designee, or agent, to make these decisions on your behalf.
- Living Will: This document includes specific instructions regarding what kind of medical care and treatment you do or do not want if the determination is made that there is no realistic hope of your significant recovery from an end-stage condition. If you do not want life support devices or wish to donate your organs, for example, your living will would state those preferences.
What does funeral planning entail?
Advance funeral planning involves making decisions about one's final arrangements before the need arises. It can encompass a range of considerations, from specifying the type of funeral service desired to selecting burial or cremation preferences and even choosing a final resting place. Beyond the logistical aspects, advance funeral planning allows you to tailor your send-off in a way that reflects your unique personality, values, and cultural traditions. It is a proactive approach to death care that provides a sense of control over your legacy and offers great relief to loved ones during a challenging time. In essence, the process is a compassionate and empowering gift, ensuring that your final chapter of life is orchestrated with dignity, respect, and a personalized touch.
Here are five compelling reasons to make or update your funeral and estate plans today:
1. Everyone can benefit from having an estate plan.
You may not have many assets and assume you don’t need a plan. But no matter how large or how modest it may be, virtually everyone does have an estate. It is comprised of anything you own, including your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, and personal possessions.
2. Without an estate plan in place, the future is uncertain.
You might be surprised to learn that an astonishing 67% of Americans don’t have a will or living trust in place. If you should pass away without one, the probate laws of the state in which you live at the time of your passing determine how your assets will be distributed. That means unintended beneficiaries could benefit from your assets and create an additional burden for your grieving family. Planning your estate allows you to organize your records and ensure that your beneficiary designations are correct. You can include planning for your funeral arrangements in your estate plan, as well.
3. Your funeral plans can be as detailed as you like.
The funeral planning process puts you in control. If you wish, you can outline virtually every detail of your funeral or memorial service, such as:
- Preferences for burial or cremation
- Your choice of a funeral home
- The type of casket or urn you’d prefer
- Details about the kind of service you want
- Your choice of a funeral provider
- Designated pallbearers
- The music and readings for your funeral or memorial service
- Suggestions for the repast
4. There are many advantages to funeral pre-planning.
Most of us want to have a say in the decisions that affect us, and that extends to end-of-life choices. While no one can predict the time and circumstances of their passing, many people take comfort in knowing they’ve selected the type of burial, location, and funeral they want. It removes the guesswork for the surviving spouse and/or other family members. Planning ahead also relieves the emotional burden on loved ones at a difficult time.
5. Family conflicts are less likely.
It is not uncommon for family members to have differing opinions and perspectives. Factor in the intense emotions surrounding a loved one’s passing and some serious squabbles are likely to arise. While you can’t guarantee your family members will abide by your choices, advance funeral planning documents your wishes and provides a helpful guideline for your loved ones.
Knowing you have properly prepared plans in place that contain your wishes and will protect your family delivers great peace of mind. It’s one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for yourself and for those you love. Contact a qualified law firm or estate planning attorney for guidance with your legal documents. For assistance with your funeral planning needs, please reach out to our compassionate funeral directors.
Funeral and estate planning is a powerful gesture that empowers you to shape your legacy and grant your loved ones enduring peace. If you have questions or need more information, our caring staff is here for you. Please contact us anytime.
About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization, Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services has provided a ministry of care to thousands of grieving families. We promise to provide our highest level of distinguished service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. With two convenient locations serving North and West Philadelphia, it is always our pleasure to be of service. For more information about our funeral, cremation, memorial, repast, and grief counseling services, please visit batchelorbrothers.com.