How You Can Help Your Family Be Prepared
A Guide to Funeral Planning & Government Benefits
Why Should You Plan?
We usually plan for many aspects of life but, because most of us don’t like to think of death, we avoid making important funeral decisions in advance. There are, however, good reasons why you should plan.
- Your Family – Without a doubt, your family is the number one reason to plan ahead. Family members who must make arrangements immediately following a death are often upset and confused. Making a will and pre-arranging your funeral arrangements are tasks of great importance to our family. At Curvin K. Council Funeral Home, we’ll help with details and answer any questions you have about government death benefits and funeral planning. Once families understand what needs to be done, planning is not difficult.
- Peace of Mind – We often have special wishes as to where to be buried, who is to receive our personal effects, and how we are to memorialized. Making funeral arrangements today permits time for you to tend to every detail. You gain the confidence that results from making unhurried, informed decisions, and your family and others who care for you will be assured the arrangements reflect your true wishes.
- Lower Costs – Planning ahead prevents emotional overspending and protects your family’s interests. While many of us have life insurance or funds reserved for retirement, these are not intended to meet funeral expenses. You can plan ahead by investing in a funeral trust account or a final expense insurance policy. In most cases, funds invested today will be sufficient to cover the total cost of the funeral at a time of need.
- Social Security – Upon death, dependents and survivors may be eligible for certain benefits such as Death Payments, Survivor’s Benefits and Medicare. Qualifications depend on age, marital status, number of dependents involved and if employment was under Social Security. You should verify your Social Security account periodically to be sure contributions are properly posted. Payment is not automatic and benefits must be applied for. Since qualifications vary, we recommend meeting with us to discuss your particular situation.
- Veterans’ Benefits – There are many misconceptions regarding Veterans’ death benefits. Honorably discharged veterans may qualify for cemetery plot and burial allowances, headstone, and burial flag, as well as a pension for survivors. Since qualifications and benefits vary, we recommend a personal review of your situation.
- Medicaid – Few people are aware of provisions under Federal Title 19 whereby an individual can shelter for funeral arrangements. We can explain these options to you.
How To Plan
- A Will – People often delay making a Will because they feel they have little to leave behind. Yet, a Will is vital both to insure belongings are properly distributed and to avoid excess taxes. A Will allows you to name an executor – someone in whom you have confidence – to carry out your wishes. An attorney should prepare your Will to be certain legal requirements are met. Since a Will is most often read and administered after the funeral, the practical, safe approach is to have a separate document for funeral requests.
- Organize – Insurance companies report that life insurance benefits are often unclaimed because survivors were unaware a policy existed. All our important documents – military discharge papers, Social Security numbers, bank accounts, safety deposit box keys, insurance policies, relatives’ addresses – should be organized to eliminate frustrating hours of searching and to be certain everything will be found. We can give you a form to help organize your personal information, and we can assist you in making a permanent record of your wishes.
- Consider – Advance planning permits choices and valuable input from those closest to you. These are some considerations for your funeral service:
- Have you selected a cemetery or memorial location?
- Have you prepaid the funeral service?
- Are certain religious or fraternal customs to be followed?
- Do you wish a military service?
- Do you prefer a particular charity as recipient of memorial gifts?
- Do you wish to name pallbearers?
- Do you wish to be buried in particular clothing or jewelry?
- Are there any special readings, biblical passages, or musical selections you prefer?
- Would you prefer a casket of metal or hardwood; protective or non-protective?
- What type of monument or marker do you prefer?
- This list, while far from complete, gives you an idea of all that’s involved when planning a funeral.
- Decide – To protect your family, you’ll need to make some decisions and arrangements. As experienced funeral directors, we can assist you in all stages of planning, from completing paperwork to helping and counseling the bereaved. We retain a complete record of your plans to insure they’re carried out on your behalf. A funeral trust account or final expense insurance arrangement, can be an important benefit for your family. By deciding on funeral costs now, you help your family avoid emotional overspending and safeguard life insurance benefits. Finally, be sure to advise your family of your decisions and the arrangements you have made. Knowing everything is taken care of will give both you and your family peace of mind.
Questions You May Have
- What If I Move? – If you move, your funeral plans can be transferred. We can even recommend a reputable funeral home in your new community.
- What If I Die Away From Home? – Your survivors should contact our funeral home immediately if you are traveling or visiting another city when death occurs. We’ll make the necessary arrangements with a funeral home in that location to assist with transfer.
- What If I Change My Mind? – Our funeral home is established upon service to families. We respect your wishes and work hard to meet the special needs and requests from you and your family.
- What If Your Funeral Home Is No Longer In Business? – State and federal regulations protect your funds, regardless of operations at our funeral home. However, the Curvin K. Council Funeral Home has an impeccable reputation, and is committed to serving the many families who have placed their trust in us.
- Are Funerals Expensive? – The cost of a funeral depends on what you prefer. We offer many services to choose from and a wide selection of caskets, vaults, and other memorials. Knowing the costs is part of “being prepared,” so you’ll feel comfortable with the selections you make. We can discuss specific costs with you. Advance planning also helps you prepare for the expense and permits you to set aside the funds over a period of time.
- What Type Of Funeral Service Do Most Families Select? – Most people prefer a traditional funeral. However, we offer many other choices to make the service meaningful to the family. Memorial services, special musical requests, cremation, military and fraternal tributes are just a few of the options we make available. We try to honor any special preferences or requests.
- What About Monuments and Memorials? – Often families prefer to arrange for monuments or memorials in advance. It’s important to know the differences in quality, material, and workmanship, as well as cemetery requirements before the need arises.
- How Can You Help My Family “Be Prepared?” – As experienced funeral directors, we know what needs to be done, and can provide a pre-planning checklist to be certain no detail is overlooked. Our counselors can answer questions on benefits, help you choose cemetery property and other memorialization, give you valuable guidelines for selection of monuments or markers, and make complete funeral arrangements. We will explain the benefits of advance payment, help you organize, and even prepare a permanent record that outlines your wishes in detail. Because we realize individual wishes and situations are personal, we want to assure you of our high respect for complete confidentiality. We welcome the opportunity to meet personally with you and your family to discuss our services more fully. When you meet with one of our qualified funeral planning counselors, you will have taken the most important step towards “being prepared.”