50plus LIFE spoke with Michael C. Baublitz, funeral director/preplanning counselor at Etzweiler Family Funeral Service in York, to get some quick answers to common questions asked by those considering a preplanned funeral.
What are the general advantages of preplanning your funeral?
The services are specific to the individual’s thoughts, needs, and wants, while eliminating the burden to loved ones during a very stressful time.
I always enjoy creating a unique and one-of-a-kind service for individuals and their families.
How does preplanning help the person’s survivors?
Preplanning avoids confusion, anxiety, and conflicts during a very emotional time for families. Having a plan to follow allows the family certainty of a loved one’s wishes.
How lengthy is the usual preplanning process?
The preplanning consultation typically takes about an hour per person. The meeting can take place at either the funeral home or the individual’s residence, wherever they are comfortable.
What are some of the chief considerations for someone wishing to preplan?
There are many options available to choose from, such as traditional services, which typically include casket, viewing, religious service, and burial, or memorial service and cremation.
Another consideration is the amount of funds available to prepay for their final wishes. Prepaying options include lump-sum or a monthly payment plan.
Can changes be made to the plan after it’s been “finalized”?
Yes, the plan is a blueprint, as such, until the time comes to implement the services.
Does preplanning protect against cost inflation?
The simple answer is yes, if prepaid through a funeral home. Services and merchandise are guaranteed against any cost increases/inflation.
How are funeral prepayments protected? For example, what if the funeral home goes out of business?
The prepayment or money is protected by being placed into a funeral escrow account. It can be transferred at any time or for any reason.
Does an individual have the option of planning ahead without paying ahead?
Anyone has the ability to plan their own or loved one’s funeral; however, without prepaying, the cost is not guaranteed — but it does provide guidance to a family.
What advice do you have for someone wishing to broach the subject of preplanning with a loved one, such as a parent or spouse?
Broaching the subject of preplanning a funeral is half of the battle. It begins with educating oneself of the options available via a funeral pre-need counselor. This can make the conversation less stressful and more productive for the individuals.