Criminal lawyer

The Importance of Funeral Planning within Your Estate Plan

The idea of planning for your own funeral and burial may sound particularly appealing to you; however, it may be one of the most important gifts you give to yourself and your loved ones. Not only would you undoubtedly prefer to spare your loved ones from having to go through additional grief and stress following your own death, but you also want to ensure that your wishes are honored when it comes to your funeral and burial. A Murfreesboro estate planning attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains how incorporating a funeral planning component into your comprehensive estate plan canCriminal lawyer help accomplish both important goals.

Death Is Surprisingly Expensive

While you may not be comfortable thinking about your death in financial terms, the reality is that death is expensive. As of 2023, the average cost of a modest funeral was around $8,000. Adding in additional services or more elaborate upgrades (such as a more expensive coffin) can easily increase the cost to over $20,000. The cost of your funeral and burial alone should encourage you to address the issue within your estate plan. When you add in the desire to ensure that your wishes will be honored when the time comes the importance of a funeral planning component becomes apparent.

How Do My Loved Ones Benefit from Funeral Planning?

When you pass away, your loved ones will experience a period of grieving that could last weeks, months, or years. While you cannot shield them entirely from the grief they will experience following your death, having a funeral plan in place will help your loved ones in several important ways, including:

  • Less pressure to make difficult decisions: When someone passes away, family members and surviving loved ones are often left to make difficult yet important decisions while they are not in the best emotional frame of mind. Making matters worse is the fact that these decisions cannot wait. They must be made within hours or days of your passing. Not only do you not want your loved ones to have to make decisions under these conditions, but they will likely not make the best decisions. Discussions you may have had about your wishes may be entirely forgotten in the fog of grief. People who normally can be counted on to make sound, practical financial decisions will instead make impulsive, erratic decisions. Having a funeral plan in place relieves your loved ones from the pressure to make these decisions.
  • Protection from financial exploitation: Some venders in the funeral and burial business count on customers making bad decisions while grieving the loss of a loved one. They intentionally exploit that grief by overselling burial items and upselling services. The best way to protect your loved ones from being taken advantage of when they are at their most vulnerable is to already have a funeral and burial plan in place, thereby removing the need to deal with these unscrupulous venders. 
  • Preventing conflict within the family: When you mix grief with the need to make funeral and burial plans, you often end up with conflict. Family members cannot agree on what the decedent would want, causing disputes among family members. Those disputes can quickly escalate, causing a division within the family – right when the family should come together and support one another. Creating a funeral plan yourself takes the guess work out of planning your funeral and burial. When your family members do not have to decide what you would want, there is nothing to argue about, eliminating the possibility of conflict. 
  • Eliminating a financial burden: While there is not much you can do to prevent the emotional turmoil your loved ones will face following your death, you can eliminate the financial burden many survivors face. Within your funeral component, you can arrange to pay for your funeral and burial.  Purchasing a pre-paid funeral plan is an option; however, you should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of doing so before entering into a pre-paid funeral contract. Another popular way to pre-pay for your funeral and burial is by establishing an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT). Not only does this allow you to pay for everything but it also lets you use the terms of the ILIT to ensure that your wishes will be honored.

How Does Funeral Planning Benefit You?

Along with providing several important benefits to your loved ones, incorporating a funeral planning component in your overall estate plan provides you with benefits as well. The most important of those benefits is the peace of mind that comes with knowing your wishes will be honored after you are gone. If you choose to create an ILIT you will appoint a Trustee to administer the trust, meaning you get to decide who will oversee your funeral and burial. The terms of that trust can also be used to express your wishes those, and your Trustee is obligated to abide by those legally enforceable terms. 

Contact a Murfreesboro Estate Planning Attorney

If you have additional questions or concerns about funeral planning in your estate plan, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro estate planning attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.


Dinah Michael