Today I’d like to discuss the financial decisions families face when they lose a loved one. On occasion, like the recent passing of my mother, my siblings and I had sufficient time to reflect and share our thoughts.
When you lose a loved one suddenly and you’re much more emotional, it’s especially difficult to make critical decisions that involve money. So let’s look at some of the financial considerations that need to be dealt with when you lose a family member.
For years I’ve stressed that people need to keep their emotions in check when making financial decisions. I believe it’s safe to say that emotions are all over the board when a family loses a loved one. When I recently lost my mother, a lot of decisions had to be made. And most of them involved spending money.
Fortunately, my siblings and I were all on the same page. We were able to get through both the hospice expenses and funeral process without any disagreements.
We had already chosen a gravesite prior to my mom’s passing. So there was no need to discuss the cost of burial vs. cremation. It is a decision that has to be made, however, and the price difference can be quite significant. And whichever you choose, a funeral home must also be selected.
I’ve discovered that you can’t really shop funeral homes solely on price. Price certainly is a factor, but it’s more about service and the ability to work with the home on various options.
Funeral homes are pretty much like much other business in that they’re all about customer service. I was a bit surprised when the home my family had worked with for several years simply didn’t return our phone calls. That’s the epitome of poor customer service. Naturally we chose a different funeral home.
I’ve been through the funeral process many times and I’m still surprised at how many styles of caskets there and the wide range of prices attached to them. As I told my siblings prior to our visit to the funeral home, there’s no reason to feel guilty about selecting less than the most expensive one.
An inexpensive casket will work just well and in no way is it a reflection on your feelings for your deceased loved one. At the funeral home you’ll be making plenty of choices, from the casket and memorial services to transportation and flowers.
I feel that professionalism is another attribute a funeral home should have. I certainly appreciated the detailed and clear-cut price disclosures on all of the options we chose. Not once was there any pressure to select the most expensive items. In other words, I suggest you seek a reputable funeral home that’s service oriented and does not pressure or embarrass you into selecting the top dollar options.
Providing a loved one with a proper sendoff takes a lot of money. The clergy, musicians, vocalists, food service workers, cemetery personnel, it all adds up.
That’s why I strongly recommend life insurance. Especially since funeral and end-of-life medical costs have increased so much in recent years. Having adequate life insurance and knowing there will be sufficient cash to cover those costs certainly makes it easier to get through a difficult time.
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