Estate planning involves addressing some unpleasant situations. It’s natural to feel apprehensive or uneasy when thinking about your own death, but taking the appropriate actions now can save your family headaches later on. One key issue you should always address as a part of your estate plan is your funeral arrangements. If you don’t, your family may have to pay for the funeral at a difficult time, and may net receive compensation.
Scenario 1: You pay.
The simplest way to make sure your family doesn’t have to pay for your funeral is to pay for it yourself. Funeral directors often offer pre-paid funeral options. You can enter into a pre-paid funeral arrangement now and make sure that your funeral is paid for without having to worry about the costs later. However, if the funeral home later goes out of business before it provides the service, you may be out of luck. Alternately, you can opt for burial insurance that pays for your funeral expenses.
Scenario 2: Your family pays and is reimbursed.
If you don’t plan ahead for your funeral expenses, the bill is typically left to your family members to pay. Funeral directors will require your family to pay for your funeral expenses, though they typically do not require immediate payment. Having your family pay for your funeral is often very difficult given the emotional and stressful time.
However, once your family pays, it may be able to receive reimbursement from your estate. Your estate is all your money and property that you leave behind. If your family members pay for your funeral, they can later file a claim with the estate to recover the expenses. Because the probate process can take a long time, your family may not be reimbursed for the costs quickly.
Scenario 3: Your family pays and is not reimbursed.
If your family members pay for your funeral and your estate doesn’t have enough money to pay them back, they may not get any money for the funeral expenses at all. If you leave behind more debts than assets, your state’s laws determine which of your creditors get paid first. In some situations, those paying for your funeral may not be entitled to any money at all.
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