The Women's Journal

Why Do People Pre-Plan Funerals? Peace Of Mind.

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William_King_spicer_mullikin_sqBy William E. King

Funerals are not enjoyable to think about, but there are many reasons that people put their concerns aside to start thinking about planning ahead.  Every person has his or her own motivation for pre-planning, but they often fall into some specific categories:

Husbands and Wives

I sit down with many couples who tell me they have been thinking about making their final preparations for a long while and are finally going to do it. They come to me with specific plans on just how they want things to be handled at their death. I have observed it is much easier for couples to choose things together. It’s comforting for them to know exactly what the other wants when it comes to prayers, hymns, flowers, or casket. There are times when one spouse wishes to have a traditional service with a burial and the other would like to have a cremation service. As the couples finish their pre-planning they admit it wasn’t as difficult as they imagined and they now have Peace of Mind knowing their wishes are written down and their choices made.

Widowed Seniors

Individuals who have gone through the process of planning a funeral for a spouse understand very well that many decisions and choices need to be made at a very emotional time. Many things are just a blur immediately following the death of a loved one. After some time has passed, surviving spouses realize that it would be a gift to the children if they were to put their funeral plans in writing. The family doesn’t have to wonder if they are doing what mom or dad would want.  Sometimes the plans are a duplicate of the services performed for the first spouse. Other times the services are completely different. Again, once the pre-planning is completed the individual has the Peace of Mind that all is decided.

Terminal Illness

It is devastating when a terminal illness is diagnosed. After shock, confusion and, many times, much medical treatment, the families are urged to think about final arrangements. I have firsthand experience of how difficult it is to do this. Many tears are shed during these conversations, but it is important to learn just what it is the person wants for his or her funeral. Terminally ill people need to have the power to make decisions, to be in control if they want to be. If the individual doesn’t want to be involved, the family still has the time to ask questions and talk to each other so there aren’t major items to be decided at the time of death. During these situations I have been able to answer many questions and give the family options they can discuss. Peace of Mind makes it a little bit easier for the family.

Qualifying for Medicaid

An illness can necessitate taking someone out of the home and putting him or her in a nursing care facility.  When this turns into a long-term care situation it becomes very costly. As monies are depleted, it might be necessary to qualify for Medicaid. Pre-planning and pre-funding a funeral is a legal way to protect the funds necessary to pay for a funeral service.

Funeral services (traditional or cremation) can be chosen and paid in advance. Funds can also be set aside for the obituary notice, death certificates, gravesite, marker, military honor guard, clergy or church fees, and more. When a funeral is pre-funded,  the family may receive price guarantees from the funeral home for the goods and services the funeral home will be providing even if these are not needed for many years. This also gives the family the Peace of Mind of knowing that the funds are safe and that they won’t have to worry about funeral home costs when the time comes.

William E. King is a funeral director at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes. Bill is the Advanced Planning Manager and has 20 years of experience in the funeral industry. He received a BA from Loyola College Baltimore and later a Mortuary Science degree from the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville.