Here’s Why Estate Planning and Funeral Planning are Smart New Year’s Resolutions
As January approaches, most of us start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you’re determined to finally take that vacation of your dreams, lose the weight that’s been bothering you, or spend more time planning for your future.
Two of the most important ways you can plan for your future are by setting up your estate plan and your funeral plan. While it can be daunting to face the thought of your own demise, too many people put off estate and funeral planning until it’s too late. Read on for some important things to know about these essential preparations.
What does estate planning involve? Estate planning is the process of detailing how your assets will be managed during your lifetime and who will inherit your estate once you have died. This plan is comprised of a will and several other documents. If done properly, it can minimize taxes, legal fees, and court costs.
I don’t have many assets, so do I still need one? Believe it or not, you do have an estate. Nearly everyone does. Your estate is comprised of everything you own, including your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture and personal possessions. No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate and you can’t take it with you when you die.
What happens if I don’t put an estate plan in place? According to Forbes, an astonishing 60% of American adults over age 50 don’t have a will or living trust. If you should pass away without one, the probate laws of the state in which your resided determines how your assets will be distributed. That’s why it’s essential to start planning your future now, so that unintended beneficiaries don’t benefit from your assets and create an additional burden for your family at an already difficult time.
What are the elements of a proper estate plan? In addition to detailing how your assets should be bequeathed through a will or living trust, it also takes into account the management of your financial and health considerations if you should become incapacitated. A Financial Power of Attorney outlines who you want to make your financial decisions on your behalf should you become debilitated. Without this document, no one will have the authority to step in and handle bill-paying and other financial matters. The Healthcare Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you name someone as your healthcare decision maker in the event that you can’t make decisions yourself. A living will, also known as an advanced medical directive, outlines your wishes regarding medical care in the event that you are incapacitated, terminally ill, or unable to communicate. Planning your estate will also help you organize your records and ensure that your beneficiary designations are correct. Many people opt to include preplanning for their funeral arrangements in their estate plans, as well.
Why do people pre-plan their funeral services? Planning ahead relieves the burden on your loved ones at a difficult and emotional time. It also gives your family direction regarding your funeral wants and desires, so they can rest assured they’re giving you the proper send off.
What can be included in my funeral plan? You can outline virtually every detail of your funeral or memorial service in your plans, such as:
· Choose burial or cremation
· Select the type of casket or urn you’d prefer
· Choose the type of service you want
· Select a funeral home
· Designate pallbearers
· Choose the music and readings for your service
· Indicate your preferences for the repast
The biggest benefit is peace of mind. Knowing you have properly prepared plans in place that contain your wishes and will protect your family will ease your mind. It’s one of the most thoughtful and considerate things you can do for yourself and for those you love. Be sure to contact a qualified law firm or estate planning attorney for guidance with your legal documents. For your assistance with your funeral plans, please reach out to one our compassionate funeral directors.
About Batchelor Brothers Funeral Services: As a leading African American-owned and operated funeral and cremation organization serving three states, 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 one. In all aspects of the funeral process, we strive to be the absolute best and are honored to help preserve our clients’ legacies for future generations. For more information, please call us at 215-549-4700 or visit our website.