By making your own arrangements in advance, you take away the guesswork for your family, with what you want or do not want. Pre-planning will help keep your family in emotional check, by helping them not to overspend when they are upset.
By pre-planning and pre-paying, your wishes are locked in place, and prices typically are guaranteed. When you pre-pay your arrangements, the money is placed in a trust or life policy. These pre-paid funds will accrue interest that typically keeps up with inflation. This way your family does not have a bill at the time of death. If you pre-pay your wishes at one funeral home, you are not bound to that funeral home forever.
Perhaps you move, the original funeral home goes out of business or merges with another company, or you or your family simply changes their mind about which funeral home renders the final services. Your final wishes travel with you. You, not the funeral home, own them.
Many times I have had families come to me and arrange a funeral for someone and then a year or more later the family finds an old burial policy for that person. The money is not lost! Simply providing a death certificate along with a letter from the funeral home that provided services will release all monies plus interest to the surviving family.
Kenneth McKenzie is the owner of McKenzie Mortuary in Long Beach.