Necessary Planning May 19, 2014Posted by Mitchell in Death & Taxes, Home.
“No one here gets out alive.” So sayeth Mr. Jim Morrison and he would certainly know. It’s not often I’d agree much with anything in The New York Slimes but this is definitely worth a read: Lifting from Others the Burden of Your Own Death. Yes, if you haven’t already planned (and PAID!) for your funeral now is the time to start.
About three months ago I got a visit from a door-to-door funeral salesman. Well, he doesn’t call himself that but that was what he was doing: going through the neighborhood, ringing doorbells and asking if you’d thought about planning your funeral. Actually it had been something in the back of my mind for awhile*, so I had him come in and shoot me his pitch.
He is a rep from Palm Mortuary and he laid out some basic facts: Sooner or later IT is going to happen which WILL set certain things in motion, primarily that Somebody Else is going to have to tie up Your Loose Ends. Funeral costs can be VERY expensive, depending on what you want to do and they will only get considerably more expensive as time goes on. If you don’t have a plan in place then Somebody Else has to decide Everything very quickly. Also ALL funeral costs have to be paid UP FRONT. No, you don’t get to finance a funeral post-mortem. If you don’t have enough money in the bank to pay for everything then Somebody Else does. Speaking of which, if you dropped dead tomorrow would anybody know where all your financial assets are? Email and other online accounts? Passwords for all of these things? Sure ok your spouse, but what if you both got hit by a bus? Do you have a will? If not then everything becomes MUCH, MUCH more complicated. Even if it is just you and your spouse has a notion of what you want (assuming y’all have actually discussed it much) he or she will be burdened with making lots of decisions while also dealing with grief.
If you love your Loved Ones you will not put them through this. Another thing too – if you die outside of the country then again everything becomes more a great deal more complicated and of course expensive if nothing was worked out in advance. Palm Mortuary is one (if not THE) biggest funeral services in the country and have networks all over the world. For a very reasonable one time insurance fee they’ll arrange and pay for your body’s transportation. This is a no-brainer, look for something like this. Even inside your own country transportation cost can be considerable if you’re inconsiderate enough to die out of state.
So we had another meeting where Arrangements were finalized, monthly payments lined up and signatures made upon the Line Which is Dotted. This package also included a simple will done with a local attorney. Also included is a booklet where you lay out where all of your bank accounts, credit cards, etc. so that whoever is your Somebody Else who has to close out your books has a place to start. After this I spoke with the Parental Units and while they have wills made out they haven’t actually done any advanced funeral planning so I referred him to them. They met with the guy and now they’re squared away too. As I’m their Somebody Else this is a great relief to me.
As human beings we don’t get any say about how we come into this world, but we do have a responsibility to arrange how we bow out of it.
*A couple years ago the parents of a co-worker at the office were on a cruise and her father died in his sleep on the ship. She had to drop everything and fly to the U.K. to help her mother to do the necessary things to have him brought back. It was all very expensive and “a complete nightmare” as she said.