Critter Corner: Why Would Someone Want to Preplan Their Funeral?

Dear Angel,

My father told me yesterday that he is preplanning and prepaying for his funeral. I just listened as he spoke, but didn’t ask any questions. It was such a serious topic that I didn’t want to look disrespectful by questioning him. But, maybe you can tell me . . . why would someone want to preplan and prepay for their funeral? Thanks for your help!

Enid Vance

Dear Enid,

Many people feel that it is the responsible thing to do to preplan and prepay for their funeral. Some even see it like planning for retirement. It requires honest evaluation and sometimes hard decisions, but it’s something they feel needs to be done.

There are some good reasons why your father may be prepaying and preplanning for his funeral now, as follows:

  • Inflation: As you can see by the price of everything these days, inflation is certainly something to take into consideration. Similar to gas and food and nearly everything else, each year funeral costs continue to rise. Planning and paying for a funeral now may be a way to avoid those increasing costs.
  • Reducing the Financial Burden: Prepaying for a funeral and associated costs may eliminate or reduce the financial burden on those left behind.
  • Making Your Own Decisions: No one can predict the time and circumstances of death. Yet, most people like to feel in control over decisions that affect their lives, and that often extends to after-death decisions. Many preplan their funeral/memorial service because they take comfort in knowing they’ve selected the type of final arrangements they want for themselves.
  • Lessening Future Family Conflict: A person pre-planning final arrangements should take into account intense emotions and potential personality conflicts in a family that could be a recipe for family squabbles. Preplanning helps avoid these potential squabbles, as family members are simply abiding by the decedent’s wishes.
  • As a Gift to Loved Ones: Planning a funeral is a huge hurdle for grieving family members who may be physically and emotionally exhausted. When planning has been done ahead, the burden of making rapid, costly decisions is eased.
  • Prepaid Funerals, if Done Properly, Don’t Affect Medicaid Eligibility: Medicaid has rules that allow you to set aside money for your own funeral, burial, or cremation without having that money “count” as part of your assets when Medicaid determines your eligibility for long-term care coverage. When the proper irrevocable funding vehicles are used to prepay a funeral, the value of the prearranged funeral contract and the funding vehicle are excluded as a countable resource in determining SSI & Medicaid eligibility. Read more in our Prepaid Funeral FAQs.

Prepaying for a Funeral

One way to plan in advance for a funeral is to sign a formal contract called a preneed funeral plan. With this plan, money to pay for a funeral and/or burial is held in a trust, in an escrow account, or paid through an insurance policy on the life of the person purchasing the plan. Parts of or all of the funeral service and burial are designed in advance and pre-funded in advance and the family has little to do but show up. Your father can contact our office to learn more.

Hope this helps!


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.