The unprecedented pandemic we’re all living though is changing how we all think about life and death. We’re now much more aware of the unexpected and how it can catch us off guard. That’s why we’re presenting a 45-minute funeral planning webinar, which you can take part in from the comfort of your home.
The Plan Your Final Arrangements: A Loving Gift for Your Survivors webinar will be live at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. RSVP here, as spots are limited.
Buddy Phaneuf, President of Phaneuf Funeral Homes and Crematorium and a fourth-generation funeral director, hosts the webinar. It is based on a recent study with participants from a variety of ages, genders, ethnicities, religions and financial backgrounds. The participants identified three core reasons why people are interested in planning their end-of-life arrangements:
- Sharing final wishes: Letting your wishes known in advance, whatever they might be, ensures your loved ones have all the information they need to arrange the farewell you envisioned.
- The cost of funerals: Funerals, even cremations, can be expensive if not planned in advance, especially if it’s an untimely death. Planning the arrangements ahead of time can eliminate financial uncertainty.
- Providing peace of mind: Knowing that everything is taken care of relieves a great deal of stress from loved ones who are already reeling from a huge loss.
“I remember meeting with the distraught son and daughter of a woman who recently passed, and I said, ‘Did you know your Mom had the forethought of mind to make these arrangements years ago?’ I could see the answer from just the looks on their faces and a sigh of relief,” Buddy Phaneuf said. “Their Mom had never told them that she had made arrangements in advance, but there was a huge burden taken off the two children. ‘We were dreading this. We had no idea what my Mom wanted. She never talked about it,’ her children said. Planning is a really loving gift that people can arrange ahead of time, not only providing peace of mind for the person themself, but also providing peace of mind for their family members and their survivors.”
What’s this going to cost me?
The funeral planning webinar discusses the actual costs for funerals, burials and cremations. One of our most-frequently asked questions is, “What’s the average price for a funeral?”
That answer depends on what you consider average and your vision of a funeral. For some people, the ideal funeral service is a very simple cremation. “I don’t want to have a wake. I don’t want to have a service. I just want you to pick me up at the time of death, handle the cremation, and do all the legal paperwork.”
Others see their funeral as a larger gathering of loved ones and friends who help each other with closure by sharing stories, tears and laughter at a visitation or during a service with stories, religious passages and songs.
Historically, funeral home charges make up about 40% of the total price, merchandise is about 40%, and cash advances make up about 20% of the overall cost. We’ll go into details of those three categories during the webinar.
Do I have to prepay in order to plan?
The short answer is absolutely not. We have many people who just want to provide their end-of-life wishes ahead of time. We offer a planning guide for that, which will be sent to participants of the webinar. We will cover the benefits of prepaying in the webinar.
You have the option to lock in prices: Historically, funeral prices go up about 5% a year. Consider a funeral that costs $5,000 today. Ten years from now, that same funeral may cost you $7,500. A top reason why people choose to prepay their arrangements is to lock in pricing.
Your wishes are locked in: New Hampshire has some of the best laws in the country when it comes to consumer protection and prefunding funeral arrangements. One law states that if someone has prearranged and prefunded a funeral, they cannot have their wishes changed at the time of death.
“I had a gentleman come in and his grandmother died. He was the legal next of kin. She had made all her own arrangements and paid for everything. He said, ‘I’m not from around here. My mom was her daughter, and she’s passed away, and it’s really just me and there are some other grandkids. I know my grandmother picked a full traditional funeral and had a service, but I’m just going to get her cremated and scatter her cremated remains,’” Buddy Phaneuf said. “Those were not her wishes, nor what she paid for, and it is against the law in the state of New Hampshire to make any changes as the grandson suggested. However, once you pay for your arrangements, you can make changes to them while you are still living.”
Once you RSVP for one of the webinar sessions scheduled for Tuesday, June 9, write down some questions to ask during the event. Planning and paying for arrangements is a final selfless act of love that people can make to relieve worry from family members.