No one wants to dwell on the fact their own mortality. Why then, would you want to create your own funeral plan? There are actually several very good reasons why you should consider doing so. Toward that end, a Vero Beach estate planning attorney at Kulas Law Group explains why it is in your best interest to include funeral planning in your overall estate plan.
The Cost of Dying Is High
Thinking of your death and funeral in terms of the cost may be difficult to do; however, the reality is that dying is expensive. Moreover, by addressing the issue ahead of time you are able to prepare your estate and your loved ones for the eventuality of your death and the associated expenses. Experts tell us that, on average, you can expect to pay around $10,000 for a relatively modest funeral and burial service. Of course, purchasing a high end casket, planning a larger service, or adding in a more elaborate tombstone will increase the overall cost.
Funeral Planning Protects Your Loved Ones
If you have ever experienced the loss of someone close to you, you understand how the days, weeks, and even months that follow can pass by in a grief filled fog. Your loved ones are likely to experience the same emotional response following your passing. One thing you can do now to help protect your loved ones is to incorporate a funeral planning component into your comprehensive estate plan. Consider the following reasons why doing so is a good idea:
- Survivors make poor decisions. Your surviving loved ones will not be in a position to make wise choices about much of anything because they will be saddled with grief. Moreover, they may completely forget any of your wishes when planning for the disposition of your body and you service.
- You can prevent conflict. Someone has to be in charge of your funeral and burial. If it isn’t clear who that person is, conflict is likely. When two or more people think they know what you would want, it can cause the entire process to become a battle.
- Salespeople prey on grieving loved ones. Grieving survivors often purchase services they don’t really need and spend considerably more on the funeral than was necessary because they make easy prey for salespeople. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission even has a set of rules for funeral homes that are intended to protect surviving loved ones from being taken advantage of and/or spending money they would not spend if they were thinking clearly.
What Should Be in Your Funeral Plan?
Including a funeral planning component within your estate plan takes a considerable amount of stress and pressure off of your surviving loved ones. It also ensures that your wishes will be honored when the time comes. One popular funeral planning option is an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust. An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is a special type of trust that is funded by the proceeds of a life insurance policy. As the Settlor, you create the trust and appoint a Trustee to administer the trust. This should be the person you wish to be in charge of your funeral and burial after you are gone. You then purchase, or transfer in, a life insurance policy, the proceeds of which pay out immediately into the trust upon your death. Those proceeds then fund your funeral service. Because trust assets are non-probate assets, your Trustee will have immediate access to the trust funds, making it simple and easy to access the funds needed for the funeral.
Along with providing the funding, however, you can also use the trust terms to ensure that your burial and funeral are carried out according to your wishes. For instance, you can use the terms to specify where you want to be buried or that you want to be cremated. You can be extremely detailed — providing a list of music, dictating the guest list, and choosing the flowers – or keep it general. Your Trustee will be legally obligated to abide by those terms once the trust activates. This all but eliminates the possibility of conflict over the details of your funeral and burial.
Contact a Vero Beach Estate Planning Attorney
To learn more, please join us for an FREE upcoming seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about including funeral planning in your estate plan, please contact an experienced Vero Beach estate planning attorney at Kulas Law Group by calling (772) 398-0720 to discuss your legal options.