Preplanning cremation with your loved ones, or as part of a cremation society, allows you to communicate your final wishes, an act of generosity to your family at the time of need.
In documenting those wishes, you’re helping loved ones, as well as funeral and crematory service providers, ensure they are fully and appropriately fulfilled. The process of what happens before, during, and after a loved one passes away can be overwhelming in multiple ways to all those involved, so it’s a comfort to know decisions are already made before the time of need.
In preplanning, the first step is to choose a cremation service provider you trust, who is considered reputable and is able to fulfill your wishes. With your spouse or family, make a list of questions and concerns to ask the provider.
In the preplanning process, include family members, friends, or other loved ones. The more everyone knows about the process, the easier it will be to avoid confusion, disagreement, or hurt feelings.
Loved ones can help make the difficult decisions of where to be cremated and have memorial services. They can help choose a funeral director and the type of funeral service.
In working this process out with loved ones, document what you decide, either in your will or with the crematory/funeral home you have selected.
When you’ve settled on your decisions, it’s best to pay for the arrangements so there are no doubts or mistakes later. Your life insurance company (if applicable) should be contacted. Although the company won’t provide payment at this point, you and your loved ones will get information on how, and if, insurance will cover the arrangements. With this in mind, it’s easier to plan the entire process.
If family or loved ones are paying for the arrangements, coming to agreements with them is a crucial part of the preplanning process. Make sure everyone understands who is assuming financial responsibility, what you’ve budgeted, and go forward accordingly.
Most burial benefits provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are limited. Many families find that additional funding is necessary in order to provide the type of funeral or cremation service their loved one wanted. Under certain conditions, the SSA provides a one-time death benefit to the spouse of an eligible recipient. The VA also offers burial benefits and one-time burial allowances for the surviving family members of eligible veterans to help offset funeral and burial costs.
To learn more about these benefits, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-722-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov. For assistance with veterans benefits, contact the VA at 1-800-827-1000 or go to www.va.gov. A local Dignity Memorial® provider can also assist with applications for government benefits.