My wife Rose and I have been retired for more than a decade now. We’re both in great health, and are active in the lives of our children and grandchildren. While we certainly don’t plan on slowing down just yet, we know we’re of an age where we know we aren’t going to live forever. We recently started talking about our final wishes, and how we can ensure that they will be followed, regardless of what our children and other surviving family members’ financial situations are. We have three children, scattered across the U.S., one of which struggles a bit financially. We want to make things as easy as possible for all of them, so they’re not burdened with the planning and costs associated with either of our passing.
My wife and I grew up going to church every Sunday. Our children, however, didn’t follow in our footsteps in that regard. We raised them to make their own religious decisions, and they each chose a slightly different spiritual path. While we respect their choices and beliefs, we decided a while back that we both wanted our end-of-life services to reflect our strong religious faith.
We also understand that, because of our more traditional upbringing and religious beliefs, our services will likely be on the more expensive end of the spectrum, and the last thing we want is for our children to feel as is if they can’t fulfill our wishes, or worse, that they will spend more than they can’t afford to try to meet our expectations. In addition to the financial aspect of coordinating our end-of-life services, we also understand how stressful the planning can be as well.
During dinner one night last week, Rose and I were remembering when my father passed away, many years ago. It was rather sudden, and my mother was left both unprepared and distraught. While they had talked here and there about his wishes, he had never taken the time to document anything, and so she did the best she could to coordinate services to honor him. Shortly thereafter, my mother decided to pre-plan and pre-pay for her end-of-life services, so that we wouldn’t have to face the same situation she did.
When my mother died a few years back, Rose and I remember feeling hugely grateful that she was so prepared. This discussion prompted us to begin talking seriously about our wishes, and about how we can make it easiest on our children when we pass.
Benefits of Pre-Planning
Because we both want traditional funerals, we know exactly what services we want. It’s just a matter of determining the details – picking out a casket, choosing a cemetery plot, a headstone, etc. We decided to get a basic quote, and to then speak with a financial advisor to determine the best way to pay for everything, so that our children don’t have to.
It’s so important to us that our children not be burdened with the costs of our services, especially if we have the option to pre-pay now, or over the next several years. By considering our options for making final arrangements and discussing our financial options for pre-paying, we already feel better knowing that our children won’t have to worry about it.
How Pre-planning Changed Our Lives
We were able to estimate the costs of our final arrangements with our local funeral home, and put a down payment on the services. Our next step will be to spend down some of our assets, and to use some of those funds to pre-pay for our funeral services. With the rest of the money, we will probably spoil our grandchildren as much as possible. We’re ready for this phase of our lives, and our goal is to make it as easy on everyone we love as possible – both emotionally and financially.