September 10, 2009

The Thief in the Night

richardBy Richard J. Schillig, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF
Independent Insurance and Financial Advisor

Today I want to introduce you to an additional service our firm is making available for our clients. This service deals with providing funds and establishing a trust for end of life planning – funeral arrangements. Not a pleasant topic folks, huh?

We all know, often death comes as the bible says like a ‘thief in the night.’ Often it comes when we least expect it. And more often than not, death comes as an unprepared inevitability – an unprepared event. Many are just not prepared to deal with death. But we also know, that many of us have had to deal with death.

One of the unexpected aspects and realities of death is the cost that it brings. The cost of a funeral is sometimes a real jolt – and that jolt comes at a time when family members are just not prepared to deal with death – and then from necessity must also deal with the costs of a funeral. According to the US Federal Trade Commission, a traditional funeral including casket and vault, costs more than $6,000 – now that’s an average traditional funeral. And when we talk about averages, remember averages come from numbers higher and numbers lower. Extras like headstone, flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgement cards, and limousines – all of these can add considerably to the overall costs if a traditional funeral.

Cremation has become an alternative for the high costs of traditional funerals. And in the right circumstances, that may be an option. But there is a cost for this service as well. However is cremation a decision the family can make regarding a loved one?

In my practice over the years, I’ve experienced many families having to deal with death. During a very emotional time, often unexpected, many necessary decisions and choices need to be made at a time when we may least be prepared to make these decisions. Sometimes families are torn apart with conflicts on these decisions. Families during this heart rendering time should come together for mutual support rather than be torn apart by funeral plan decisions.

On the other hand, in my practice over the years, I’ve also experienced families whose deceased loved one has completed their own funeral arrangements during their lifetimes. What an awesome gift to family members and survivors to have arrangements prepared or finalized. Life insurance is a way of funding final expenses. Life insurance is a wonderful solution to final expense costs. However, life insurance does not deal with the actual plans for funerals – rather traditional funerals or cremation memorial services. Life insurance funds come after services are completed and do not deal with plans for services.

Alternative plans we encourage you to consider are to both fund your funeral in advance and not only allocate money to the costs of the funeral, but go one step further and establish a Funeral Trust that will specify arrangements according to one’s wishes. Consider these plans a real gift to one’s surviving loved ones.

Our firm has begun providing this service. Call us for additional details on this wonderful gift you may provide for your family.

We are continuing to make available a no-cost booklet : What Every IRA Owner Should Know. When you call our office ask for a copy.