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Friday, February 27, 2015

Advantages of pre-planning interments

Interments or burial ceremonies come in many shapes and forms, but waiting until the passing on of loved ones to act does not necessarily make good financial sense.Whether it be an underground ossuary, lawn crypt or above ground mausoleum, preparing for the inevitable often gets ignored while planning for the possible does not. 

To illustrate why advance end of life organization makes sense consider the use of auto insurance. In the U.S., we are all required to own at least liability insurance for the mere potential of an accident, yet far less own burial space despite the 100% probability of dying. That is also a far higher percentage than home-ownership, yet health insurance, which in some cases, does not always get used, is also mandatory.

So why do people shy away from pre-planning their interments? Often, it is because the topic itself is unpleasant and is not something people like to discuss. Yet, life insurance is somewhat related and many people own polices for their loved ones after they pass away. Preparing more than just a will helps protect people you care about against a number of things including substantial and sudden financial expenses.
  • Emotional trauma
  • Price inflation
  • Financial distress
  • Elaborate final arrangements
  • Unfulfilled personal wishes
  • Unorganized possessions and information
Put in other words, organizing end of life events protects loved ones from unnecessary heartache and complications while simultaneously preserving capital, net worth and even insurance benefits. It also gives individuals and family members a chance to avoid conflict over how final arrangements are handled while simultaneously feeling the peace of mind that the dearly departed's wishes have been carried out as they intended. 

Even if a well prepared will already exists, things change. For instance, assets are bought and sold after creating wills. Intentions and distribution of estate assets get readjusted and personal goals evolve. Personal planning helps details these things in a way a will typically does not and allows for organized documentation of accounts, belongings, obituary information, death certificate data and interment wishes in a way that simplifies end of life.

Not many people want to see their loved ones feel hurt or overburdened after their passing, nor do they necessarily seek to have their bodies treated indiscriminately. This can be avoided with a few simple steps and less financial preparation than many retirement plans. A little forethought goes a long way and taking the time to think about what can be done now for the good of the  future makes more than just emotional and personal sense, but financial sense as well.

Image: Manfred Bruekels; "Das Mausoleum"; CC BY-SA 3.0