Insight on Estate Planning - June/July 2019: Estate Planning Pitfall - You haven’t made formal funeral arrangements

Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.
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Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C.It’s difficult for many people to think about their own mortality, and it’s not surprising to learn that many put off planning their funerals. Unfortunately, this lack of planning can result in emotional turmoil for surviving family members when someone dies unexpectedly.

Also, a death in the family may cause unintended financial consequences. Why not take matters out of your heirs’ hands? By planning ahead, as much as it may be disconcerting, you can remove this future burden from your loved ones.

First, make your funeral wishes clearly known to other family members. This typically includes instructions about where you are to be buried or cremated, if you prefer a formal or religious ceremony and even what clothing you will be buried in. It may also cover a memorial service in lieu of, or supplementing, a funeral. If you don’t have a next of kin, or would prefer someone else to be in charge of funeral arrangements, you can legally appoint another representative.

There’s a division of opinion in the financial community as to whether you should prepay funeral expenses. If you prepay and opt for a “guaranteed plan,” you lock in the prices for the arrangements, no matter how high fees may escalate before death. With a “nonguaranteed plan,” prices aren’t locked in, but the prepayment accumulates interest that may be put toward any rising costs.

At the very least, prepaying expenses avoids any mad scramble to locate and access funds that would be needed to pay for the funeral.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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