Just so everyone reading this knows, in addition to being the Founder of our website, I have worked as financial planner for over 23 years and currently own my own Wealth Management practice.
I mention this only because the sad truth about the financial planning industry is that it largely overlooks and/or ignores End-of-Life Planning as an all-important addition to a financial plan. To prove this point, in all my years of studying, training, attending classes, and getting licenses and certifications, I have never once heard some talked about this subject, nor was I ever educate about.
Think about this. Has your financial planner discussed this with you? Does your financial plan include your plans and preferences, and maybe even a plan where you have pre-arranged your funeral expenses? I bet most of you don’t, and the worst possible time to be having this discussion is after the fact.
To share a personal experience, one of my toughtest days was losing my mother to cancer on Thanksgiving Day of 2008. After going through this entire experience, what I found to be true with each of our family members, including myself, was this… just about the time when it starts to “sink in” that your loved one is really gone, and your emotions really begin to elevate, the next step you are faced with is going to visit a Funeral Home and begin planning a funeral. For most families, this is probably the last thing they want to be doing at that time.
• How do you transport the body, where do you tranport it, and how soon?
• How soon afterwards should the service be?
• How do you determine which Funeral Home, Cemetery, or Funeral Director?
• What if they live out of town?
• Sitting down with a Funeral Director to review all the details and options
• Try to figure out what your loved one “would have wanted”
• Making some incredibly difficult financial decisions
• Trying to figure out what type of memorial service your loved one “would have wanted”
• Did they want to be cremated or buried?
• Choosing among many different types of caskets or urns
• Where did they want their body or ashes to be placed?
• How do you coordinate this with your religion/Church
• Who should be invited, and how do you invite them?
• Arranging travel and accommodation plans for out-of-town guests
• How will this be paid for?
• Who will speak at the memorial services? Which songs and prayers do you use?
• Do you have an gathering afterwards?
• How do you place an obituary? Who does this?
• Do you want flowers or donations?
• Arranging programs, sending “thank you” cards, and much more…
Another HUGE benefit to creating an End-of-Life Plan is the fact that, in addition to saving your family from going through all these emotional challenges and tough decisions, this thoughtful plan could very likely save your family thousands…or even millions…of dollars. The reason why is you have to remember that when someone passed, some of the financial issues that tie directly or indirectly with the funeral planning process are financial matters such as estate taxes, death taxes, capital gains taxes, income taxes, insurance policy proceeds, investments, real estate, bank accounts, and more.
A wise man once said, “The difference between failure and success is largely determined by the amount of time and preparation put into preparing for the future.” When putting together a sound and comprehensive financial plan, nothing could be further from the truth!
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