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Monday, March 3, 2014

Saving after death

Death is a topic that few wish to discuss. Yet it's imperative to broach, particularly if family finances are a concern. Anyone with a decent conscience should worry about burdening those left behind, so sorting out the finance to cover all costs while you can is a must. Still, too few are willing to make arrangements whilst still sound in body and mind. The sad truth is that some unethical companies may prey on grieving families by up-selling services and accommodations that might not even match the deceased's wishes. Prevent mourning family members from taking on exorbitant funeral costs at a time when their judgment will most certainly be skewed; simply think about funeral and burial plans now, and then put all wishes in writing.  Sound overwhelming? Just take it all step by step.

Funeral expenses
Caskets can be rented for ceremonial purposes to save money

Make wishes known

First off specific choices need to be made such as whether one prefers burial or cremation, and where one's final resting place will be. This is also the time to decide specifics in type or casket or urn and style of funeral or wake. The living will most likely add personal touches to existing wishes (remember that funerals help mourners grieve) but there is nothing wrong with picking songs that hold significance and will help set the tone of services. No matter what the style, funeral services should be a direct reflection of the person being honoured. Note too, that veterans may be offered assistance with arrangements but personal wishes should be stated for that service, as well, and put in writing. By having a clear funeral plan family members are less likely to choose unnecessary expenditures as a result of grief. A written plan can also offer guidance to anyone who runs risk of veering from wishes of the deceased.

Beware of “upgrades”

Even the most ethical funeral homes are in business to make money. Specific sales tactics are used to guide purchase choices that may include many unnecessary upgrades. The grief-stricken may be led to over-spending in hopes that the deceased will be longer preserved and safe from the elements. Financial burdens can be magnified by choosing an elaborate vault, higher-end hardware and casket or urn embellishments that will serve no real function other than to cost the living substantial amounts of money. One of the greatest gifts a person can give to their family is to make such decision in advance for themselves so that extra costs are not tacked on later.

Appoint friend or family member to see things through

Everyone grieves differently. Some take care of needed tasks and then break down after some time has passed. Others may mourn quickly and so much that they are incapacitated. When choosing someone to see wishes are upheld pick someone who really understands you and who can handle such a stressful situation with tact, diplomacy and strength. Even at its most basic, a funeral service will be financially taxing; don't let more costs incur due to grief and despair—pick someone who can handle the situation calmly and effectively. Remember too that it doesn't have to necessarily be a family member, and may be even better if it's not. Pick someone, notify them and also put their name in with all other written wishes.


To protect one's family from feeling the financial burden start saving now for burial or cremation arrangements. Many funeral homes and cemeteries will accept payments over time so that all costs are cared for whilst still living.  Another financial aspect to consider is debt. Legally, creditors are not allowed to harass family members once they have been referred to the deceased's appointed attorney. However, any cosigners on existing debt will most likely be required to settle up after the death of the other responsible party. If the deceased leaves anything in the way of an estate all financial dealings will go into probate to decide which creditors will be paid before doling out the rest to heirs. To save family from such drama do all possible to resolve all debt issues now.

Image license: Kirie Mukai, CC BY 2.0