Resolve to Make an After-Life Plan in 2020
With the coming of a new year, many resolve to get in shape or end bad habits. But creating an after-life plan might be the best resolution you’ve ever made because it will take the weight off family members in the future and give you peace of mind right now.
Here are 5 things to do for your after-life plan.
- Set up a “payable upon death” death bank account.
Instead of pre-paying for funeral plans, jump start your after-life plan by setting up a bank account that will cover the expenses of your chosen funeral or memorial service and your cremation or burial. According to AARP, prepaid funerals can be a mistake, but a bank account offers these benefits: “It will earn interest, be available for an emergency, and still provide financial support to your family when you pass away.”
- Organize your personal information.
The Solace Cremation Organization Worksheet will give you a place to begin. Pulling together all of your important personal and financial data, names and numbers, will help your loved ones notify people and companies (including your insurance provider and social security) when you pass away as well as making it easier to fill out a death certificate when the time comes.
- Plan your own funeral or memorial.
This Solace Cremation Remembrance Worksheet will help you put down your funeral wishes and plans for those who you leave behind. You can choose what type of service you’d like, who you’d like to invite, what kind of music or readings you think represent you and what types of traditions, rituals or ceremonies you’d like to include. Whether you are organizing a funeral for yourself, or your loved one will after you pass, including all of this information in your after-life plan, will make it easier and better represent you.
- Choose your final disposition
Choosing cremation vs. burial is a choice best made ahead of time. Cremation is the most popular option in the Northwest and the most affordable. According to a Dec. 2019 report by the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral with a viewing and ceremony followed by burial is $7,290 in the Northwest, while a similar service followed by cremation runs is $4,808. You may also want to weigh the environmental impact: for example,Solace Cremation offers a carbon-neutral option. Whatever option you choose, call around and find out about prices and services in your area and make sure there are no hidden fees.
- Talk to your family about your after-life plan
Perhaps the easiest thing on your list, and in some ways, the hardest, is to talk to your family and friends. In today’s culture, it has been taboo to talk about death, but end-of-life experts say it is important for family members to know where you’ve gathered your legal and financial documents, what you’ve planned for yourself or would like planned for you and how you feel about hospice care. Consider hosting or attending a “Death Over Dinner” or “Death Cafe” to get comfortable with the topic.
One last piece of advice: Whatever documents you fill out, make sure to label them clearly and tell loved ones where to find them.
By taking action on these five items, you will give your friends and family an incredible gift in the (hopefully very distant) future and you can give yourself a pat on the back for getting your act together.
Photo by Ian Schneider