Most people don’t think about their own funeral expenses…ever! It’s only after they die that another family member steps up and handles the details, often under emotional duress.
Personally, I’ve had two experiences that shaped my decision to prepay my funeral expenses:
Years ago the wife of a friend of mine, who is from South Korea, died suddenly. Due to the language barrier and lack of familiarity of dealing with such matters, he asked me to handle funeral arrangement for his wife. This was my first experience with such matters and I felt like a complete duck-out-of-water! There were so many decisions to make; so many options to consider that I was pretty much overwhelmed. I did the best I could but I’m certain with more time and research I could have negotiated a better deal for my friend.
Fast forward to 2017 when my father passed away rather suddenly. Even though he was almost age ninety-nine, he was in great health until the very end and we all expected him to live past 100. However, in his case, he had prepaid his funeral expenses at the time of my mother’s death some five years earlier. I was with him when he did that and I can remember at the time thinking it was a bad idea. Why give the funeral home the use of your money for no telling how many years?
When dad died, I learned why. I was in charge of his funeral and his estate but this time it was different. I called Scott McBrayer, General Manager of Ridout’s Valley Chapel in Homewood, and you can’t imagine my relief when Scott told me, “Stewart, don’t worry about anything. Everything is prearranged and prepaid and we’ll take care of every detail”. And that’s exactly what they did. Even at my age and dad’s age, losing my father and best friend was an emotional hill to climb and I was so grateful to dad for removing this burden.
So, I decided to pass the gift along to my family and prearrange and prepay my own funeral. Making the arrangement decisions for myself versus someone else was very easy. I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want and I’m certain I saved my family thousands of dollars in the process. It took about 25 minutes and I was done. I left there with a sense of peace knowing my family would not have to struggle with arrangements at my death. Scott McBrayer, who is also Mayor of Homewood, has become a good friend in the process.
Would I recommend you consider prepaying your funeral expenses? Absolutely.