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Losing a loved one is never easy. Many of us have felt this deep loss and can understand. Grief, confusion, and shock are just a few of many reactions that can happen when one hears the news of a loved one’s passing.

In the midst of these emotions, a myriad of decisions also need to be made:

  • What kind of funeral service should be held?
  • Should the casket be open or closed?
  • Where will the loved one be buried?
  • If cremated, who gets the remains?
  • How much is all this going to cost?

We can’t prevent our family’s heartache at our time of death, but we can help them by planning ahead so they aren’t faced with tough decisions at a difficult time.

If you plan ahead, you can be assured that your final wishes are carried out and your surviving family members will not have to guess as to what you may have wanted. You can also be assured that the financial burden of paying for final expenses will not fall to the loved ones you leave behind.

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Failing to Plan Ahead for Final Expenses

Benjamin Franklin said that there were only two things you can be certain of in life: death and taxes. All Americans plan ahead in regards to their taxes (for the most part), so why don’t all plan ahead for their death?

Well, for starters, we don’t like being reminded of our own mortality and most of us tend to procrastinate when it comes to unpleasant tasks. People are also living longer which naturally postpones having to think about one’s death.

Not to mention, medical and technological breakthroughs that may affect one’s ability to live healthier and longer are discussed in the news every week. All of these reasons may affect people’s failure to plan.

Failing to plan ahead can become a nightmare for your surviving loved ones.

Why You Need to Plan Ahead for Final Expenses

Let’s go over some reasons as to why it’s important to plan ahead:

  • It ensures your final wishes are carried out.
  • It helps to avoid family disputes.
  • It reduces the emotional burden on surviving loved ones.
  • It reduces the financial burden on surviving loved ones.
  • It can help others.

Ensure Final Wishes

Everyone is different. Your family can attempt to guess as to what kind of funeral you may have wanted, but it would be much easier on them if you planned ahead and wrote down your wishes instead. You can include your final wishes in your will.

If you do not leave written instructions about your final wishes, state law then dictates who is responsible for these decisions. Typically states will give this right to the following people, in order:

  • Spouse or domestic partner
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Next of kin
  • A public administrator (appointed by the court.)

Avoid Family Disputes

Sometimes conflicts between family members can arise in these types of scenarios.

One member may believe you wanted your funeral one way, while another insists on a different way.

Your brother may insist he was promised your 1965 Mustang, while your wife may want to keep it for your son.

By court law, your small business may be left to your wife who has her own career and no interest in managing it, but needs money. She may decide to sell it while you hoped it would stay in the family.

With emotions running at an all-time high, it’s easy for arguments to erupt and poor last-minute decisions to be made. Planning ahead will ensure these disputes are avoided.

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Reduce Emotional Burdens

When a loved one dies, the circumstances can prove to make it very difficult for survivors to make decisions about a person’s final arrangements. Below are just a handful of decisions a grieving loved one may have to make quickly:

  • Decide whether burial, cremation, or donation of the body to science is desired
  • Choose a funeral provider and cemetery
  • Select a casket and burial vault, if needed
  • Decide on an open or closed casket
  • Make arrangements for a memorial service
  • Choose pallbearers and a religious leader to oversee the funeral
  • Select clothing and jewelry
  • Make arrangements for music and flowers
  • Write an obituary and notify newspapers
  • Decide how much money to spend on the service

Your loved ones may feel a great sense of relief and comfort carrying out a person’s final wishes when those wishes are made known in advance.

Reduce Financial Burdens

A funeral may be one of the largest single expenses a family will face. Depending on the type of service held, funerals can cost well over $10,000.

And what about medical bills? An unexpected death often goes hand-in-hand with either a severe accident or serious medical condition, both of which likely means significant time spent in a hospital.

The inability to pay exorbitant medical bills accounts for 40% of bankruptcy filings in the United States. Imagine leaving this mess behind for the ones you love most.

Not only may a family become emotionally drained, but their savings account may also see sudden emptiness as well.

Purchasing life insurance not only provides funds to replace income and pay bills, the death benefit can also be used to pay for the costs of a funeral and burial. Life insurance is a gift of love you can provide even when you are no longer around.

Help Others

When planning ahead you can also decide whether you would like to help others through organ donation or donating your body to science. If these wishes are not discussed in advance, how would your survivors know you wanted this?

Now is the time to plan for your final wishes and expenses.

It may be difficult to think about your own death and make these final decisions, but it would only be harder on the loved ones you leave behind.

To ensure your final wishes are carried out, and to relieve many potential burdens on your loved ones, take the time to plan ahead for final expenses.

Writing a will and purchasing life insurance are two of the most important tasks you can do in regards to planning ahead.

Writing a will can be done online or through an estate attorney. It doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive.

Quotacy can help you with the life insurance part.

Run term life insurance quotes on Quotacy without giving away any contact information. This allows you to review your policy and pricing options in peace until you’re ready to apply, which you can also do right online.

Have you waited a bit too long to plan for your final expenses and now think you cannot qualify for life insurance? It doesn’t hurt to try. Apply through Quotacy and we’ll provide you alternative coverage options if you aren’t eligible for traditional life insurance.

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a product available to individuals ages 50-80 and, like its name implies, coverage is guaranteed. The rates for these policies are more expensive than traditional life insurance, but having this policy can save your loved ones from financial devastation.

About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Natasha Cornelius, CLU

Senior Editor and Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.