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Why is the funeral arrangement process still so antiquated?

When sitting down to sort out your family finances, it’s tempting to just focus on there here and now. One thing we often forget to prepare for is the struggle that comes when you or a loved one dies.
You can never be truly prepared for death, but the process is made more difficult for us by the funeral industry itself. You may ask yourself whether enough cash was put aside for final arrangements. But answering that question might be harder than you think.

Funeral pricing and services are not straightforward

Despite regulations that were enacted in the 1980’s stating that funeral homes must provide a written list of prices and services to their customers, getting that information isn’t so easy. Unless you are sitting down at the funeral home’s office, getting a breakdown of costs is a struggle, according to a recent NPR investigation.
Almost no funeral home in the industry places their basic pricing online. Few will disclose the details of a service over the phone, either. Though industry professionals may consider that process vulgar or uncaring, their customers may take a more practical approach. Researching final costs then becomes much more difficult than a few minutes’ worth of internet research so that you can make a plan for a will or trust.

There may be more to just covering the check

Perhaps you or your family members have never given much thought to a final farewell. Nobody likes to think about their mortality, so it’s entirely understandable. However, if you are devoutly religious and leave the task of scheduling your funeral to your agnostic sister, your friends and family may not have the chance to say their good-byes in a comfortable or familiar context. Or if a family member passes and their estate goes through probate, you may have to foot the bill until court proceedings are completed.
Besides putting aside the cash for a funeral, there will be questions regarding burial, cremation, coffin, clothing, sermons and location. Maybe you want to avoid the somber traditional service and desire something more modern. You won’t have the chance to make the last stamp on your life if you avoid discussing the possibility now.

A time of grief shouldn’t be made worse by poor planning

If you lived your life in the present with your spouse, they may not face the myriad of decisions upon your death with confidence. Especially if your passing is sudden, grief and shock may prevent them from sorting through all the details. Facing unknown expenses created by a high-pressure salesman at the funeral home is not an unknown circumstance. Wouldn’t you prefer presenting your loved ones the chance to simply share their memories without being forced to make difficult decisions at the worst time possible?
Contacting an attorney well-versed in estate planning can help you wade through all details of funeral planning years before your mortality is ever questioned. You’ll have the time to set the budget and the details to your preferences and relieve your family of an onerous job at a difficult time.

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