We plan ahead for most important events in our lives: baptisms, confirmations, graduations, marriages and anniversaries. For many reasons, planning for our funeral is even more important.
At Ballou & Stotts Funeral Home, Inc., we understand that discussing death is difficult during a time of grief and making funeral arrangements can be overwhelming if you're not sure of what's involved. That's why we've prepared this section of our website: to help you understand the facts about funeral arrangements, as well as the benefits of planning ahead. We hope it will help you decide if planning in advance is right for you and your needs.
Why Plan Ahead?
Advance planning is also referred to as "pre-planning or pre-arranging" and with that, we would like you to consider some important thoughts. Unless you have been through the experience of arranging a loved one's funeral, it is difficult to imagine the added emotional stress facing family members who are left with this responsibility. It may be more difficult if there were no previous discussions regarding a loved one's wishes.
A funeral is one of the most personal and precious ceremonies that we will experience in our lives. Yet, many people will have to make all of the important arrangements in the space of 24 hours or less. These hours that are already filled with grief can be further burdened with more than 50 important decisions which must be made.
We believe it makes sense for people to plan ahead. Advantages of planning ahead include the following:
- Allows you to make decisions at your convenience and your decisions can bring peace of mind knowing that your personal wishes will be honored and respected. (This is true for all, but especially for those without immediate family available to make responsible decisions.)
- Helps you to understand the costs associated with the many types of funeral services available today.
- Spares your family from facing decisions that can be emotionally difficult at a time of grief and they can have the reassurance that they acted in accordance with your wishes.
- Advance planning can help minimize conflict among survivors by encouraging discussion and dialogue about the funeral service at a time when grief and emotion do not come into play.
- You can advance plan as little or as much detail as you desire and advance planning does not require you to have to pay in advance. However, once you have decided exactly what you want, you may wish to take advantage of the benefits of paying in advance. (Please see our pre-funding section of our web site for more information on advance payment.)
- Are you applying for Medicaid? If so, they will require you to pre-arrange and pre-fund the funeral expenses. This lets you set aside protected funds so you are assured of receiving the funeral services of your choice, Under Kentucky law, we are allowed to give you helpful information and thoughtful guidance. (See the pre-funding section Irrevocable Funeral Trust for more detailed information.)
Did you know that you can pre-plan funeral arrangements and pay in advance? This will relieve the family members of undue burden, when you pass.
- Revocable Trust: This form of trust account is used when you pre-fund your own or someone else's funeral. Funds must be deposited in a Trust account in the name of the beneficiary (person whom pre-funded funeral arrangements are being made), with their social security number in trust for the funeral home. At any time and for any reason, the trust can be canceled and money refunded (the bank may charge a penalty for early with drawl of funds) or you can change the beneficiary funeral home at any time without any cancellation or transfer fee.
- Irrevocable Trust: This form of trust account is used only when applying for Medicaid and is used primarily for sheltering some of the Medicaid recipient's assets for funeral expenses. This trust account is set up the same way as a revocable trust, except this account can not be cancelled or refunded as per Medicaid laws in Kentucky, which is why it is an irrevocable account. However, the purchaser may change the beneficiary funeral home, thereby retaining the portability of their funds to their chosen funeral home.
What does that mean for you?
When you pre-fund a funeral account, funeral expenses are itemized and paid at their current General Price List charges at the funeral home. As with everything else in life, the cost of funeral service increases a small percentage every year. So, in 5, 10 or 15 years, etc. the funeral that was pre-funded will actually cost more than when you originally pre-funded the account.
Where to Begin
Once you've decided to pre-plan, what's next? Whatever your beliefs or preferences, it's important to make sure that your funeral home can provide you with complete information, so you can make confident, informed decisions regarding pre-planning.
We also encourage you to discuss your funeral preferences with your family, and include them in your planning. In any thoughtful funeral service, your plans should address their needs as well as your own wishes.
Please feel free to ask questions and share your thoughts with us. Together we can help you make choices that are appropriate for you and your loved ones.
If you would like more information on pre-planning, simply call us at (270) 864-3791 to arrange a convenient time to meet at your home or our funeral home or fill out and submit our FREE secure online pre-planning form (see below). You are under no obligation and you can make changes anytime as required. You may also print a copy for yourself to store with your important papers.