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After a death, there are three main types of burdens left behind for surviving family members to deal with: emotional, financial, and legal. For those who have planned a loved one’s funeral or closed out an estate, you know how complicated things can get. However, with a little preplanning, you can create a plan for both your funeral and estate, ensuring that everything goes much smoother for those left behind.

Let’s talk about each of the three burdens and how advance planning can ease the stress family members may feel after a death.

Young Asian couple who are experiencing emotional stress, sitting on the couch at home

1. Emotional

While nothing will stop family and friends from feeling grief after the death of a loved one, advance planning can decrease emotional stress. By recording your funeral wishes in writing and putting together a legal will, you give your family a roadmap to your specific wants and desires. In other words, they won’t have to guess what you want and then stress over whether they made the right choices.

Without a clear plan, families may overspend on a funeral or argue with each other over the best way to plan the service or distribute the estate. Both of these situations may increase emotional tension and create unfavorable experiences for everyone. To reduce the possibility of these emotional stressors, take time to put your preferences in writing, so no one can dispute your wishes.

To learn more about the benefits of planning ahead for your funeral wishes, check out these helpful articles:

What is Advance Funeral Planning?
5 Emotional Benefits to Funeral Preplanning
What to Expect at a Preplanning Appointment
How to Get Started with Funeral Preplanning
10 Reasons to Plan Ahead

Person putting coin in a piggy bank, preplanning and saving up for future financial needs

2. Financial

Another big burden after a death is financial. For those who do not preplan or pre-pay for their burial or cremation plans, the emotional and financial burden will fall on surviving family members. And for many families, the cost of a funeral can be heavy, especially if they don’t have extra funds readily available.

However, you can remove this burden from your family by preparing in advance. For your funeral plans, you can either set aside funds in your bank accounts to be used when needed or you can set up a prepaid funeral insurance policy. Many people also choose to use a life insurance policy to pay for a funeral. However, keep in mind, it could be 6-8 weeks before the money is available. This means your family will still need to come up with the funds on their own and be reimbursed by the insurance company later.

To learn about prepaying for a funeral or setting aside funds, check out these resources:

6 Ways You Can Save Money with Funeral Preplanning & Prefunding
3 Funeral Insurance Options You Should Know About
Understanding Prepaid Funeral Insurance Policies
The Truth About Life Insurance and Funeral Expenses
10 Questions to Ask Before You Prepay Your Funeral

Shaking hands with an attorney

3. Legal

The final burden relates to legal matters, particularly surrounding a lost loved one’s estate. Some estates are simple while others are very complicated. But no matter which one is you, having a plan in place will only make things easier for your successors. Perhaps the most important document is a legal will, which outlines how you want your estate distributed. Without this document, it falls to the state to decide what happens to your property. If that happens, your property and assets may not go to the people you want.

So, to prevent future headaches and heartaches for your loved ones, talk with an estate planning attorney. With a professional by your side, you can put together a comprehensive plan that protects your assets and ensures that everything goes to the right people.

To learn more about estate planning and how to get your affairs in order, read the following articles:

How to Make an Estate Planning Checklist
Getting Your Affairs in Order
The 5 Most Important Estate Planning Documents
Estate Planning for the Blended Family
4 Reasons to Keep Your Beneficiaries Up to Date

Mature African American man makes phone call from his home; prepping for preplanning

What’s Next?

The death of a loved one brings many different challenges with it. By preplanning in a few key areas, you can reduce the emotional, financial, and legal burden your family may feel. And remember – you won’t be on your own during this process.

For any funeral needs, choose a trusted funeral home in your area. The funeral staff will help you understand what details to plan and how to pre-pay (if you wish). And for estate planning, always consult an attorney licensed in your state. They can ensure that all the right documents are created to your specifications and meet state requirements.

With your funeral and estate plans in place, your family will be set up for success and will have an easier time after your passing.

DISCLAIMER: Individual circumstances and state laws vary. Only undertake estate planning with the help and assistance of an attorney licensed in your state. 

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