Funeral Prearrangements: A gift for you and your loved ones

Prearranging funeral services may be one of the greatest things you can do for your surviving loved ones.

By Natalie Goglia, Palmetto Mortuary

We all know it is going to happen. At some point, funeral arrangements will need to be made. So many questions run through people’s minds. What do I really want for my funeral? Why should I preplan?  There are times when I take 45 minutes at the beginning of a prearrangement conference just to make the person/couple feel comfortable with me prior to planning such an important life decision. This article will highlight the benefits of preplanning.

  1. You Choose

Prearranging funeral services may be one of the greatest things you can do for your surviving loved ones. Rarely is there a person in your circle who wants to plan your funeral services whether they are elaborate or just a simple cremation. Typically, emotional decisions that need to be made quickly are not the most rational. Prearranging/Prepaying one’s services greatly relieves the family stress and financial burden.

  1. Guaranteed Price

Inflation will happen, funeral prices will go up. When you sign a guaranteed contract, the price becomes fixed. But, what happens if the funeral closes its doors after they have taken your funds? When you prepay funeral arrangements in South Carolina, the money goes into either a bank trust or a whole life insurance policy.  The funeral home may claim the funds at the time of passing.

  1. Medicaid Spend Down

Many times, we outlive our financial nest egg. Prepaying allows that money to be set aside for funeral arrangements. Medical facilities, rogue family members, governmental institutions, ect… cannot take those funds. Even you cannot reclaim. You may, however, change the funeral provider.

  1. Cremation

Increasingly, people are choosing cremation as their final disposition. South Carolina has some of the strictest cremation laws. If you would like to be cremated, the best piece of advice is to sign the preneed cremation authorization form. If you have Power of Attorney (POA) for a loved one, sign the preneed form. POA CEASES at the time of passing. Once a passing has occurred, this order must be followed:

  • Spouse
  • Adult Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings

And then, we move onto the next closest relatives.

Problems that may arise:

1) Mom wants to be cremated. Child A will sign the cremation authorization. Child B and Child C do not want Mom to be cremated. Mom cannot be cremated unless her will stipulates. However, the will must go through probate proceedings before the funeral home can perform the cremation.

2) Neighbor and best friend, ‘Carrie’, has been caring for ‘Sally’ throughout her illness. Carrie has POA.  Sally would like to be cremated and Carrie knows Sally’s wishes. Carrie expects to sign as POA after Sally passes at the cremation arrangement conference. POA has ended at the time of passing. Sally’s children do not want Sally to be cremated. The funeral home cannot perform the cremation.

So give yourself peace of mind and protect your family/friends from the tough choices that need to be made. Contact a few local funeral homes, get their General Price List (GPL) and make pre arrangements for your funeral services.