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Planning for That Final Moment

There is a phrase people use when referring to estate planning and all the things you do as a responsible adult so when you get into retirement years, you don’t have to worry about those things. That is because one of the big objectives of retirement planning is to put all of your “affairs in order” as they say so if something came up, your kids would not have to deal with it. So you go through the checklist and make arrangements for your will and your DNR or “do not resuscitate” so the medical people will know what to do in the event you cannot be brought to consciousness. But one level of preparation for your final years of a very full life that you may not have decided about is funeral preparations. Many funeral homes sell packages where you can pay for your casket and much of the funeral expenses well in advance. This is very appealing because you can think ahead about how you would like the funeral to go and select the casket and make arrangements so there is less guesswork for your family and loved ones if the moment comes up too quickly.

That is the real appeal of preplanning all aspects of what might happen when your final moments come. You don’t want to leave your children to have to try to figure out your life insurance, your estate issues, your will and your funeral if your demise comes along suddenly. Most of these preparations are pretty cut and dried and you want all the paperwork in order, legal and the person assigned to resolve your estate informed and legal so there is no time lost on getting things the way they should be if the moment were to come. The big step of pre-buying your funeral plot, casket and paying for the funeral in advance is something to give some serious thought to. For one thing, you must be absolutely sure you are in the town where you will want to be buried.

Many times later in life, a retired person wants to pack up and move to where the kids are living. That is one of the good things about begin retired and relatively unencumbered by a lot of possessions. If you are living in an assisted living center, the move is just not that difficult. So you don’t want to own property, even if it’s just a burial plot and have to deal with transferring all of that paperwork to another town if you do move with your kids. But the compelling reason not to put money into a funeral arrangement package is that funeral homes are not great at managing those funds. There have been plenty of stories come out of late of mismanagement of funds buy funeral homes. Or if the company owning the funeral home is bought, many times the new company will not honor your contract with the previous owners and your relatives find this all out just when they least need to hear about problems. A much better option is to take the same money you would have put into funeral arrangements and put it into a trust set aside just for this purpose. You can name who you want to have access to the trust and even write out in specific detail what you want the money used for and how you want the funeral to go. That form of living will or ethical will gives your relatives the resources they need to conduct your affairs and the directions you want them to have.

But they have the flexibility to pick the funeral home and buy the plot that seems right at the time. The money can accrue interest and it is secure because it is still owned by the family right up until it is needed. The desire you have to get your final arrangements arranged is a good one. But thinking through some of the problems that can come up if you do too much prearranging gives you the wisdom to make the right choices so you can enter your retirement years knowing that everything is arranged when and if, God forbid, the moment of your departure comes along. PPPPP Word Count 715 .


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