Top 10 reasons to pre-arrange your final plans and preferences

By Christopher P. Hill, RFC

Wealth and Income Group LLC and

Should you die, it should be obvious that your family and loved ones will be emotionally devastated as they try to cope with this grief and loss. So knowing this fact, one of the greatest gifts of love is to minimize (or preferably eliminate) as much of the emotional and financial pressures as possible.

The sad reality is that more than 70 percent of those who die today fail to leave behind as much as a Will for their family and loved ones. As unacceptable as that may sound, it gets even worse. More than 85 percent of those who die today leave their family with no knowledge of their end-of-life plans, preferences, or expenses.

Top 10 reasons to pre-arrange your final plans today

1. Upon your passing, most people don't have any idea how to get started, what they should know, or who they can turn to. Pre-planning your funeral or burial arrangements can significantly minimize the stress and pressure that can accompany such a difficult time of grief and loss.

2. This advanced planning offers you the opportunity to decide and control just about every detail of your memorial service and how you will be remembered.

3. By documenting your last wishes, you can ensure that you and your remains are handled, cared for, and placed somewhere that fits your preference.

4. By creating a plan for your final affairs, this can also minimize or eliminate any uncertainties or disputes among your family members. For example, one of the small details that can actually cause serious family disagreements is special family heirlooms.

5. Pre-planning takes the guesswork out of the common questions of what do we do next? or what would you have wanted? A properly structured preplan ensures that your loved ones know exactly what to do, and includes instructions on how to most efficiently implement your bequests.

6. After suffering the loss of a loved one, some of the biggest challenges your family will face are thing like time constraints, little or no experience with these matters, and limited access to the best possible help and guidance. Therefore, one of the biggest advantages of creating a sound end-of-life plan is that, if it is properly structured, it can reduce (or even eliminate) the large majority of these difficulties.

7. Through pre-planning your funeral, as well as paying for your funeral and/or burial expenses in advance, this creates a much better overall experience and memorial service for you, your family, and even your funeral director.

8. Since pre-planning reduces or avoids a great deal of the obstacles involved in planning a funeral, this extra time allows your family to work through other important matters such as dealing with the grief and loss, planning your memorial service, notifying your loved ones, creating your obituary, writing a eulogy, etc. The more free time your family has, the much more likely it is they can create a truly special celebration of your life and memories.

9. After completing your pre-planning preferences for your family, this actually ends up enhancing your future, too. By having these details planned out in advance, you can now enjoy the peace of mind to live every day knowing that you have taken the time to leave behind one of the greatest gifts of love.

10. By selflessly taking the time to create a comprehensive end-of-life plan, you will always be remembered in a special way. Your family and loved ones will never forget the fact that you sacrificed your time and resources to take care of these all-important details. In reality, what you've done is created an everlasting memory that shows just how much you truly love the ones you care most about.

Action item: Give your family what they deserve

When it comes to the things that are important in our lives, proper planning and preparation are some of the key to a successful outcome. In this situation, my sincere hope is that these 10 reasons serve as an inspiration and incentive to start this planning and preparation today, and become proactive about these all-important estate planning matters.

Although most families never talk about these kinds of things, just about every family member and loved one would prefer to have these plans in place. Quite frankly, I think they should demand this from you. So, at the very least, leave your family with two things they absolutely deserve:
    1. A last will and testament (or living trust)

    2. A comprehensive end-of-life plan, which includes pre-arranging your final plans, preferences, and also your expenses
I can assure you that your family will thank you, see how much you loved and cared about them, and also remember your efforts as being one of the greatest gifts you have ever given them.

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