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Although nobody likes to think about it, ensuring that the funeral arrangements for your parents, as well as the corresponding cost, is an important task. For many of us, the job of both planning for our parents’ funerals, and paying for the related expenses, will fall to us. Often, because families put off these types of conversations, an already emotional time can become even more difficult. For that reason, it is imperative to have the conversation early. But how do you get it started?
The truth is that there is no easy way to talk about this subject. And, it can particularly difficult planning the final goodbye for those we love. Yet, doing so can end up to be one of the best gifts that can be given.
Being well prepared for a discussion with your parents is essential. However, getting the conversation started can turn out to be the best way to resolve questions regarding your parents’ wishes, as well as about the potential costs.
It can also help you to begin processing your grief and fear, as well as assist you with becoming closer to your parents as they age. During your talk, you will learn more about what is important to them, as well as any legacy that your parents would like to leave with the ones they love.
Getting the Conversation Started
Beginning the conversation with your parents about their funeral arrangements can be the most difficult part. However, once you have begun, the conversation can oftentimes be a relief for everyone who is involved in the process.
In initiating the discussion with your parents about their funeral arrangements, there are some experts who agree that it is wise to set a specific time and date to talk. It will be important that all who are involved attend this meeting. Therefore, if you have siblings and / or other close loved ones, all should be in attendance. That way, it may help with eliminating any misunderstandings in the future.
When meeting with your parents about funeral arrangements, it will be important that you, and they, are able to clearly focus on the discussion. Therefore, it is recommended that you eliminate any interruptions. With that in mind, turn off all cell phones, and be in a place where your parents feel comfortable and relaxed.
In starting the conversation with your parents, it is essential that you let them know that your motivation is to ensure that their final wishes will be met and that you will help them along the way.
It can also be helpful to acknowledge that the conversation may be a bit awkward. For example, if you begin the conversation by stating to your parents that you understand this can be a difficult topic, but that it is also very important that it gets discussed.
It can be good to know if or when your parents are ready to discuss the topic. For example, if it is too difficult for them, know that it is ok to set up another specific time to talk. This is because in some cases, not having the conversation at a specific time can be better than having a bad conversation.
How to Proceed with the Discussion with Your Parents
During the discussion with your parents, there are some important questions that you can ask, to ensure that you will be carrying out your parents’ wishes in the future. Some of these questions may include:
- Would you prefer to be buried or cremated?
- If you would like to be cremated, where will you want your ashes buried or scattered?
- What type of memorial or funeral service would you prefer?
- Would you like to have any special music played at your service?
- Are there any particular readings – such as poems, scripture, etc. – that you would like to be read during your memorial service?
- Would you like to have any flowers at the service – and if so, what type would you prefer?
- If people wish to make a donation, is there any particular charity that you would like the funds to be donated to?
It is important to make sure that you ask open-ended questions, as versus those that will only require a yes or no answer. This can better ensure that your parents can provide more details regarding their final wishes.
At the same time, however, also be sure not to overwhelm your parents with too many questions that make them feel intimidated. Rather, you should have a nice, calm discussion with them.
When your parents are speaking, listen to any concerns or fears that they may have. The key to this awareness is good listening. Doing so, you will be much better prepared to provide them with what it is that they wish for.
You can also let your parents know that, even though you may be taking care of some advance planning at this time, they can always make changes later on. This way, they will not feel like they are “locked in” to anything that they are not fully comfortable with.
Other Key Takeaways from the Discussion
In broaching the subject of funeral planning with your parents, you may find that they have already taken care of certain items. For example, they may already have an advance medical directive and / or other important paperwork in place. (If they do not have an advance directive, it is important to also discuss their wishes regarding this matter – and also to be sure that your parents’ doctors have a copy of the information).
To ensure that you have covered the key topics, be sure that you are able to talk with your parents about the following:
- What type of service would they prefer
- Where (i.e., what funeral home) would they want their service to take place
- Where do they intend for their final resting place
- Is there any particular music that they would like during their memorial service
- Who will be involved in the memorial and / or the funeral service
What are Final Expenses?
One of the key discussions that will likely come up are final expenses. While many people believe that final expenses are only the cost of one’s funeral service, these costs can go far beyond that.
For example, in addition to a person’s memorial service, final expenses can also include items such as a burial plot and headstone, or conversely, the cost of cremation and an urn. In addition, there can be several expenses that are included with a person’s memorial service, such as transportation, flowers, and announcements.
These costs can all add up. Today, the average cost of one’s funeral and related expenses runs close to $10,000. A good way to estimate what your parents’ expenses may be is to make contact with several funeral home in your area – or the area in which your parents choose as their final interment – and inquire as to what the cost range may be.
How to Ensure that the Cost of Funeral and Other Final Expenses are Paid
To ensure that you parents’ final expenses can easily and quickly be paid is to determine whether or not they have made any arrangements such as a pre-paid funeral plan and / or final expense insurance
Having a final expense insurance policy can be extremely helpful, as these types of life insurance policies are geared for those who wish to provide funds for their funeral and other final costs.
This type of insurance coverage – which is also oftentimes referred to as funeral insurance or burial insurance – is typically offered to those who are age 50 and over, and they will usually have a death benefit of somewhere between $5,000 and $25,000 – although, there are some insurance companies that will provide the option for a higher amount of benefit.
These policies are also somewhat easier to qualify for than a regular life insurance policy. This is because many final expense insurance plans will not require that the applicant for coverage undergo a medical examination as a part of the approval process. In fact, in some cases, there are no medical questions on the application – and, provided that the premium is paid, the insured is guaranteed to be accepted for the coverage, and their policy cannot be canceled.
Many final expense life insurance policies are permanent, whole life insurance coverage. This means that the plan will have both death benefit protection, as well as a cash value component. The cash that builds up within the policy is allow to grow on a tax-deferred basis. This means that there are no taxes due on the gain unless or until it is withdrawn.
If a large amount of cash accumulates in the cash value component, some individuals opt to borrow or withdraw it to help in paying off debt, and / or for supplementing their retirement income. (It is important to note, however, that any amount of balance from the cash component that has not been repaid will be counted against the amount of death benefit that is paid out to the policy’s beneficiary).
Having final expense insurance coverage can be helpful in other ways, too, as many of these plans have the option of making the funeral home the beneficiary. In this case, it can ensure that your parents’ funeral costs are paid even more quickly, as the funds will go directly to the provider upon your parents’ passing. (Any excess proceeds will then go to a named beneficiary).
Just like with other types of life insurance policies, the proceeds from final expense insurance are received free of income taxes by the beneficiary. Because of that, 100 percent of the funds may be used for paying the insured’s funeral and other related costs.
In some cases, an insured will add an additional amount of death benefit coverage to their final expense insurance policy. That way, if he or she has any unpaid debts, and / or if they may have certain uninsured medical or hospice costs, the money from the policy may be used for these items, as well.
Where to Find the Best Rates on Life Insurance Coverage for Your Parents
Talking to your parents about funeral arrangements can be difficult. However, there are some ways to make it easier and less stressful – while at the same time ensuring that you are all prepared. One way is to work with an independent insurance brokerage or agency that can assist you with finding the best final expense insurance policy, as well as the best premium rates.
If you’re seeking final expense insurance coverage for yourself or for your parents, we can help. We work with many of the top insurers in the market today, and we can assist you with determining the cost of a final expense policy. In many cases, the premium is more affordable than people may think. We can provide you with the information that you need quickly, easily, and conveniently – all from your home computer. So, you can discuss this option with your parents at any time. To move forward and obtain the information that you need, just simply take a few moments to fill out the form on this page.
Should you have any additional questions that you would like to discuss with one of our experts, please feel free to contact us directly, toll-free, at 888-389-8676. We will be happy to walk you through the quote process, as well as answer additional inquiries regarding coverage and how it works.
We understand that talking to your parents about funeral arrangements can be difficult. It can be an emotional time for you and for them. But the good news is that you have many options available to you regarding helping to pay final expense costs. So, contact us today – at BurialInsurancePlans.org, we’re here to help.