It may not be on the short “to do” list for many people, but making funeral arrangements well in advance for themselves or loved ones has its benefits, according to local funeral home officials.
“The biggest benefit is that it puts things in motion (in advance),” said Mike Hoy, funeral director for Hoy-Kilnoski Funeral Home and Crematory.
Michael Maher, owner of Maher Funeral Homes, added that it gives the family peace of mind. On average, it’s about three days between the time a loved one passes away and the funeral, he said. During that time, there’s plenty to do besides funeral arrangements, such as phone calls to family and friends, accepting condolences from friends, and the like, Maher said. And, it usually comes under emotionally-trying times.
“It’s a busy time,” Maher said. “(With pre-arrangement), it’s one less worry. And, the further ahead, the better.”
Arlene Tannahill, a pre-arrangement counselor for Cutler-O’Neill-Meyer-Woodring Funeral Home and Crematory, agreed.
“It relieves a lot of emotional decisions that have to be made at the time of death,” she said. “If done ahead of time, it makes it easier for the family.”
Most of her clients are the individuals making their own arrangements, instead of their children doing it, Tannahill said.
“They don’t want to burden the kids with that,” she said, adding that it eliminates family disagreements that could occur on the type of funeral plans if they wait until the time of death.
It also eliminates “emotional” spending by family members honoring their loved one at the time of death, she added.
“With pre-planning, they can think on a more practical basis,” Tannahill said.
Obituaries can be written up at that time, also, she said.
Pre-arrangement details aren’t set in stone, either, Hoy said. Changes in the casket model, for example, can be changed years later if requested, he said.
Another advantage of pre-planning is that financial arrangements can be made right then and there, all of these experts said. The costs can be made in one lump sum or paid in partial amounts over time and the cost of the funeral at that time will be locked in, regardless of inflation as time goes by, they said. The payments are usually put into a trust that generates interests to cover rising costs, they said.