During our family’s annual All Saint’s Day celebration, we visited the grave of three of our departed loved ones. I overheard the elders talking about the “structure” they’re planning to build. I thought they were talking about buying a rental property. My aunt told my mom that it would be better if the structure is big and spacious so it could “fit all of us.” Little did we know that they were talking about building our family’s mausoleum.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Who loves to talk about dying and planning one’s funeral? No one. However, we, mortals, can never run away from the truth: We’ll all die eventually (hopefully not soon). The question is, are we prepared for it?
Let’s skip tackling death in a spiritual sense; let’s talk finance. Next to life insurance, one of the best gifts you could leave your dependents is memorial plan. The product enables the plan holder to pre-pay memorial services in the future at a lower cost today. It’s safe to say that a memorial plan isn’t for the dead; it’s for the living, as it takes the heavy burden off your grieving family members.
1. Understand memorial plan
Buying a memorial plan is comparable to buying a real estate property; its value appreciates over time, thus gives great benefits to those who buy them early. It is a hedge against the increasing prices of caskets, grave plots, and funeral services you’ll inevitably need many ages from now.
Understand the plan’s inclusions (and exclusions). The package often includes a memorial service in accredited mortuaries (embalming procedures, a casket or funerary urn for the deceased, and chapel for the wake), death certificate processing, assignment or transfer of the plan, and insurance protection. Interment rights for burial plots and mausoleum crypts, as well as grave digging and cemetery care, aren’t included in the package.
Next to understanding what a plan contains, see the requirements for availing and claiming of the memorial plan, and how long will it take for the documents to be processed.
2. Pay only what you can afford
As much as we encourage you to buy memorial plans as early as possible, there’s no need to starve yourself to death with premium payments. Know how much you can afford. Start with the most affordable plan and then upgrade the payment later as your cash flow increases. They are flexible and can be done on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual basis.
3. Look for benefits
Here are the basic memorial plan package inclusions:
- Traditional burial or cremation
- Casket or urn
- Chapel or mortuary
- Pick up service of the body from the residence or hospital
- Embalming procedures
- Processing of transfer permit
- Processing of death certificate
Next to assessing the basic packages for memorial services per se, see if they offer other additional benefits. You can have both a memorial plan and a life insurance plan at the same time in just one package. Other benefits include dividend pay-outs, money back features, and financial assistance to beneficiaries. These benefits set one company apart from others, so make sure you get more out of the money you pay.
4. Assess each company thoroughly
It takes one unstable to send all your money down the drain so make sure you entrust your premiums only to the credible ones.
See if the company is registered. Consider how many years they’ve been in the business. Check out their branches, as well as the number of their affiliation with other chapels and mortuaries. Knowing more about the company from their past clients’ perspectives also help.
5. Shop around
Don’t let one company’s flowery words force you to close the deal. It’s their job to sales talk and it’s our job to look around, compare, and decide on which company offers the best packages in terms of quality, price, ease of payment, and number of benefits.
6. Pre-plan details of your own funeral
Uncomfortable as it may seem, you should start preparing for “the day” and ensure a peaceful exit for the benefit of the ones who’ll be left behind.
Do you want to rest on a wooden casket? Or have your remains cremated? How do you want the wake to be handled? Do you want to keep it formal and solemn, or a bit laid-back?
If you want something specific to happen on your last days, then you better get that in writing and communicate your wishes to others. Not only will it ensure you get what you want while taking away the headache of planning for your family; getting your needs and wants in detail is also a cost-effective way to plan your exit. Every product should have a reason, so be specific and know which particular need would it answer.
Author Bio: Ina Salva Cruz is a resident writer for Insurance Advisernet, one of the largest and most credible general insurance businesses in Australia and New Zealand, providing high-quality risk management advice for business owners. Being an enthusiast of pursuing financial security herself, she writes and shares self-help articles focused on finance and business.