Why should I preplan my funeral?

By Anne Meredith, Pre-Need Specialist at Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home

One of the most significant changes in the funeral industry is how prevalent it has become to pre-arrange your own funeral. It helps alleviate the emotional and financial burden on your grieving family by planning your own funeral in advance. There are only two times that decisions regarding a funeral can be addressed, pre-need or at the time of need. In my personal opinion, it is important to make major decisions with a clear mind without emotional stress or grief. “Peace of mind” comes with knowing that your wishes are documented at the funeral home and that you will be memorialized in the way that is meaningful to you and your family. At our firm, Maresh-Meredith & Acklam we do a “price guarantee” on the funeral goods and services, that is if your prearrangement is prefunded with a burial insurance irrevocable trust. In essence you will capture current prices. That is a savings to you and you haven’t left anyone with a financial burden when you pass away. A little advance planning will reduce the emotional and financial burden placed on your family.

Is it very popular for people to prearrange their own funerals?

One of the most significant changes in the funeral industry is how prevalent it has become to prearrange your own funeral. There are only two times you are able to plan a funeral “at the time of need” or “pre-need”. In my personal opinion, which I’m sure that most people would agree, it is better to make major decisions with a clear mind without emotional stress. People plan for others, because it is the right thing to do, you plan because it will ease the burden of your loved ones. A beautiful gift of love to your family is getting your affairs in order and pre-planning your own funeral.

Meaningful funerals are when they are personalized and this is where you get to choose your selection of music, scripture readings, where you want memorial contributions, I hope that when a grieving family walks into our firm that they can feel that their loved one who has passed on had a hand in the design of their funeral celebration.

Do I have to come to the funeral home to prearrange my funeral?

No, Sometimes people are nervous about visiting the funeral home or have health issues, or weather conditions, I am more than happy to come to their house where they feel more at ease and comfortable.

How do I select my casket or funeral merchandise?

I have a casket/vault book, cremation merchandise catalog that includes urns, jewelry With caskets you will have a choice between wood or metal, bronze, copper, stainless steel. The bottom line is, whatever you like and what fits your budget.

What are my funeral options?

I will share with you pricing and options for a Traditional Burial in a cemetery plot or crypt or perhaps you prefer Cremation. We own our own crematory, so your body never leaves our care. You will need to determine what type of cremation funeral service you desire, traditional cremation with your body present, memorial cremation, possibly with your ashes/urn present or Direct Cremation without any funeral service. It is simply your preference to choose your final disposition which I will document. Regardless of whether you choose burial or cremation your service options are the same: Visitation at the Funeral Home or church with or without viewing, Funeral or Memorial Service at the Funeral Home or at your church followed by graveside service or cremation, possible reception for family and friends after your funeral celebration. Imagine what a wonderful gift that is to your family, on one of the worst days of their life, when Mom or Dad die and they do not have to second guess your wishes and you have everything in order. You can plan your funeral to any level of detail.

What are my options for final disposition of my cremated remains?

It is important for you to decide who and where your cremated remains should go, so that, your family is not left wondering what you would of wanted them to do? Burying your cremated remains in a cemetery, niche, or columbarium needs to be determined by you. Placing your cremated remains in a decorative urn to be displayed on a mantel might also be an option or perhaps scattering your cremated remains where and by who needs to be documented.

Are there benefits to setting funds aside for my prearranged funeral a head of time?

Most definitely, You can set funds aside after itemizing your funeral plan. Like I mentioned earlier we do a price guarantee on the funeral goods and services which includes the funeral service fee you select and your funeral merchandise like your casket, vault or cremation urn/vault. This is quite a savings to you, because now you do not have to worry about the inflation of your funeral going up. You have in essence purchased a funeral at today’s cost for a funeral in the future. The items that I can’t do a price guarantee are the cash advance items such as, opening/closing of the grave/crypt/niche, clergy stipend, death certificates, flowers, newspaper obituary, luncheon, You are not allowed by law to write a check out to the funeral home, because if we were audited we are not giving you any funeral service today and God willing, not for some time. Your money will go into purchasing a pre-need life insurance irrevocable burial trust. Now this money is protected funds, meaning that a nursing home can not touch this money being that it is no longer your asset, it was assigned to the funeral home and will be paid directly to the funeral home at the time of death.

Am I protected if your funeral home goes out of business?

Yes, it states right on the paperwork that you retain the right to change your designated funeral home and beneficiary. Your funeral policy is transferrable to any other funeral firm in the United States, what you would lose is the Maresh-Meredith & Acklam price guarantee.

What if I die and I am on vacation, say out in Arizona?

Not to worry, my brothers who are the funeral directors have a directory of funeral homes and crematories all across the United States. They will follow your wishes that are documented and on file and your body will be shipped home that is if you chose a traditional funeral or traditional cremation. In this circumstance by state law we would have had another funeral home handle the embalming before you cross state line.

How does my funeral plan affect my Medicaid eligibility?

First off, Medicaid is a health insurance program for certain low-income families or individuals, including children and their parents, pregnant women, people 65 or older and people with disabilities. Prepaying for your funeral may be an effective way to reduce or “spend down” your assets to qualify for Medicaid benefits. There is no “look back” period for this type of transfer.

By prepaying your prearranged funeral plan the funds that you have set aside are made irrevocable and permanent, so therefore, are not counted as an asset by Medicaid. Does Social Security provide my family a with a funeral benefit? A onetime death benefit from Social Security of $255 will be paid to the surviving spouse, or child.

Are there special benefits to being a Veteran?

There are many benefits available to our local Veterans at no cost. Locate your discharge papers and preregister out at our VA cemetery in Union Grove. If you choose to be buried your gravesite, grave vault, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care as a national shrine, burial flag, honor guard salute, taps Preplanning is still necessary and a benefit to you and your family, because it gives you the opportunity to define your wishes and fill in the gap in government provided benefits, such as your funeral service fee, casket, cash advance items.

Why have a Funeral Service?

Helps us to acknowledge that someone has died, allows us to have a celebration of their life and say Good-bye, it is a RITUAL. The funeral also helps the bereaved begin their journey of healing. It helps fill an important emotional need that we have as human beings. A funeral ceremony allows for all of us to reflect on the meaning of life and our own mortality and what legacy we leave. The gathering of family and friends at a funeral celebration also provides a support group in our community. Funerals are for the Living paying tribute to their loved one.

Thank you for allowing me to shed some light on this topic of “the importance of pre-planning your funeral.” Don’t be reluctant to call me and ask me questions or schedule a time when we could meet either in the comfort of your home or over a cup of coffee at Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home. It is my honor as well as rest of the Meredith Family to help educate and serve our Racine Community.

Learn how to personalize your funeral that will be meaningful to you and your loved ones by calling Anne Meredith, Pre-Need Specialist (262) 634-7888 at Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home

People have questions about funerals, especially their own, but are hesitant of where to turn for answers. Getting your personal affairs in order, not only for yourself, but, also for your loved ones is a great gift of love. Learn how to personalize a funeral that will be meaningful to you and your loved ones by pre-planning.

Planning Ahead

  • Ensures Peace of Mind
  • Removes the possibility of financial burden on your family
  • Reflects your personal wishes and funeral choice
  • Provides an essential gift to your loved ones at a time of grief and stress