Perhaps you've received a mailing, like the one below from Dignity Memorial, inviting you to a friendly meal to chat about planning for the inevitable. I’m not one to turn down a free meal, but beware, an invitation of this sort, while billed as educational, will likely come with a heavy-handed sales pitch. Committing yourself to the familiar, neighborhood funeral home before shopping around could cost you thousands of dollars. Pre-planning is smart, but pre-paying does not always “pay off”.
Follow this link to find out more about the benefits and dangers of pre-paying for a funeral and some safer alternatives.
It is very thoughtful to want to “take care of your funeral now so your children won’t have to” but we rarely die when, where and as we plan to. Circumstances change such that the funeral you envisioned isn’t always possible. People die while traveling, change their minds about funeral plans, or need emergency access to funds wrapped up in funeral arrangements and find that they cannot get a full refund. Many families are shocked by the outrageously high cost of an "opening and closing of the grave" charge, a cemetery expense that can rarely be paid for ahead of time. Others find that the casket that was purchased in a prepaid arrangement is no longer available and they often end up paying more for something they deem equivalent. The best thing you can do to prepare your family for your death is to talk to them about the options available and empower them to make confident decisions at a time of need.
For more advice on funeral planning visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.