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How to ensure that you get the funeral you want

One of the many advantages of estate planning is that it gives you the opportunity to detail your wishes for your burial or cremation and any ceremonies or celebrations of your life around it. As you do it, it’s wise to determine what this is going to cost and to put enough money aside so that your family isn’t left to foot the bill or have to ask others for money to help them cover it.

Too many people assume that their estate will cover their funeral costs. However, it could be months (at the least) before your estate is settled and funds can be disbursed. There are options to make the funds available to your loved ones upon your death or soon after.

While many funeral homes offer prepaid funeral plans, some experts advise against these. A lot can happen between the time you prepay and the time the services are needed. Prices can go up, for one thing. Further, this ties your family into using a specific business.

A designated bank account

You can set aside money in an account with a payable-on-death (POD) designation that allows the money to be accessed by the person you choose as soon as they present a death certificate. Just make sure the person you designate knows about the account, what it’s for and what your wishes are. It’s a good idea for you to give them a copy of the instructions you’ve provided in your estate plan.

You can also place the money in a joint savings or checking account. However, unlike a POD account, your co-owner can access the funds at any time. Therefore, it needs to be someone you trust.

There are other options, like using a life insurance policy and designating the beneficiary to use the proceeds for the funeral – again, making sure they have your instructions. Whatever option you choose, make sure you have a good estimate of how much the send-off you envision will cost. Funerals can easily run into five figures and will only get more expensive.

It’s also crucial that the person you designate to be in charge wants that job and that they have your instructions so that they don’t have to get a copy of your estate plan and dig through it to find them. Having experienced legal guidance can help you ensure that your wishes are known and followed.