Pre-arranging funerals can ease grief at difficult time
Planning and paying for a funeral can be difficult after the death of a family member. An increasingly popular alternative is to plan and finance the service ahead of time.
Jennifer Metzger, secretary for Baker Funeral Home in Peabody, knows about the pre-arranging process from personal experience.
Metzger’s grandfather prearranged his funeral in the 1990s, which decreased the Metzgers’ responsibilities.
“It makes the funerals go a little smoother,” she said. “You just lost your loved one, so it helps not having to worry.”
Some clients prefer to pay for their funerals years advance.
Planning funerals early has become the family standard for Susan Flaming. Flaming is a Salina resident, but one of her brothers and both of her parents, who were Hillsboro residents, planned their funerals with Jost Funeral Home.
“During that time, there is so much that you’re thinking of with the grief and someone dying,” Flaming said. “Having that pre-thought-out and not having to make those hard decisions was much easier.”
In the case of Flaming’s parents, the process, even down to picking headstones, was finished a decade ahead of time.
Flaming’s brother died 1½ years after his parents, but his service was planned five years earlier.
“Even though his death was more unexpected, the decision was already made,” she said. “We could have changed a couple of things, but it was what was thought out and what was decided before, so we didn’t have to do a whole lot.”
Money for a funeral goes into an earmarked account, which earns interest at the same rate as inflation, according to Jared Jost, owner of Jost Funeral Home.
The funeral home has offered prearranged funerals since the ’80s, when it was Goertz Funeral Home.
As with the cost of higher education, the cost of funerals is something that should be prepared for, said Jon Wiggins, owner of Miller-Ott Funeral Home in Goessel.
“When they’re going to college is not the time to be thinking about expenses for college,” he said.
Pre-arrangement doesn’t have to involve finances immediately, Wiggins said. Instead, clients can review their options ahead of time without writing a check.
Pre-arranging and pre-financing have become more popular in recent years, Wiggins said.
“I think today people are more comfortable talking about it,” he said. “It gives them an opportunity to express their wishes rather than pass that on to the family members.”