Preplanning

Sun beaming behind three lone trees in an open field.

Losing a loved one is hard enough. Add in the many logistical and financial decisions that come with arranging a funeral or memorial service, and it can feel overwhelmingly stressful. By planning yours in advance, you can remove these extra burdens from your loved ones during an already difficult time, and allow your family the space to remember, connect, and begin to heal.

By making your final arrangements ahead of time, you also save your family an added financial burden. Not only does it eliminate the difficult question of who will pay, preplanning locks in inflation-proof rates for years to come. We also offer flexible payment plans, making advanced planning a more convenient option.

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Funeral Preplanning Resources

“I don't want anyone making a fuss over me after I'm gone…”
“I worry about my children, I want to know they will be ok without us.”
“Do I really need to think about this right now?”

For most of us, the topic of death and our mortality is something we’d rather not dwell on.

Yet, we are reminded of it more than we’d like to admit…

A former co-worker unexpectedly passes away, news reaches us of a distant relative with a serious illness, we reconnect to a high school classmate we haven’t talked to in ages who has just lost a parent.

It’s tempting to avoid the topic, but thinking about and planning for our own goodbye can actually help to ensure peace of mind in a variety of ways. Preplanning and prepaid funeral plans can make sure your wishes are followed and that family, friends, and loved ones have time to focus on cherished memories and stories as they say goodbye. And it’s a smart financial decision, too.

Did You Know: French Funerals and Cremations has guided and assisted families in New Mexico since 1907, with locations serving Albuquerque, Taylor Ranch, Rio Rancho, and the East Mountains?

Whether you’re considering cremation, a pre-arranged funeral, celebration of life, or anything in between, here are a few ways making funeral arrangements in advance can make the burden of losing a loved one a little less heavy on your loved ones:

A meaningful goodbye that is unique to you

You might be surprised to hear that the best time to discuss funeral preplanning is actually well before you need it, when you’re healthy and vibrant.

In many cases, we’ve found families immediately feel at ease once they take the step of planning for a goodbye with a clear head and without the pressures of time or medical challenges. By preplanning, you also get to say goodbye in a way that reflects your own needs, wants, and beliefs, without any room for error from your family.

For example, many of the families we serve choose prepaid funerals with customized options, including flexible payment plans, burial service, memorial and funeral planning, travel protection coverage, honoring a Veteran with burial in a national cemetery, personally meaningful music, floral arrangements, prayer cards, online photo albums, and more.

At French, over 100 years of working with our community has taught us that honoring and remembering each life is important, and we take pride in our ability to help you create a meaningful remembrance.

Easing the burden on your children and family

Losing a loved one is never easy. In the first days afterward, sometimes called the “Acute Loss Period,” family and friends go through the process of sharing, seeing, gathering, connecting, reflecting, and celebrating, all of which help to psychologically process grief and say goodbye.

By planning ahead, taking the time to prepay your funeral, and making your wishes known, you give the gift of time and space for your family and friends to share stories and remember their time with you, instead of focusing on the stress of paying for a funeral and managing the many details.

One preplanning option many of the families we work with choose is a funeral trust, which allows you to set agreed-upon costs ahead of time for future funeral or burial services. A prepaid funeral trust essentially guarantees that costs won’t change, and you can choose a revocable trust (which can be changed and revoked by you at any time) or an irrevocable trust (which can’t be changed or adjusted except to remove money to pay for funeral services).

Irrevocable funeral trusts can also go toward qualifying you for long-term care benefits via Medicaid. For example, these trusts may be funded with assets that would otherwise be countable resources for Medicaid (i.e., included in determining Medicaid eligibility, and are often purchased through an insurance company [and funded with life insurance]).

A smart investment

Over the course of your life you’ve probably learned to make financially responsible decisions, planning for vacations, putting children through college, retirement, etc.

Taking the time to plan your own funeral and consider options makes good financial sense, since the average cost for a full-service adult funeral can range from just under $3,000 to around $28,000, depending on the services and options selected.

Choosing a plan that fits you reduces uncertainty, protects your existing savings as an estate for loved ones to share, and ensures your wishes are met even if unexpected medical costs reduce the size of your estate. And by planning ahead of time, you avoid paying the inflated prices the future inevitably brings.

If you’ve served our country in the armed forces, the VA also offers a reimbursement or allowance for a portion of burial and funeral expenses for eligible veterans, their spouses, and their dependent children. Our staff are knowledgeable about veterans programs and can help you understand your options, and whether you choose basic or enhanced arrangements, we can help you complete a plan.

How we work with you to preplan

We’ll work with you on a personalized checklist and provide a Final Wishes Organizer to help you communicate all of your wishes and preferences. Here are examples of items you may find helpful to include:

  • Gather personal information for your obituary
  • Choose a charity to direct donations to, if desired
  • Make note of any special instructions you desire for your services and final disposition
  • Choose burial or cremation
  • Choose the location and type of service
  • Decide whether you’d like to have a viewing or visitation
  • Select music and hymns, if desired
  • Select a style for your stationery and memorial register book
  • Consider any customs, traditions, or religious rites that are important to you and your family

Families that we partner with also have access to grief support. Our resources include short-term counseling and education, a daily message of support via email, diverse support groups, and guidance on resources for families and young children.

While these are just a sampling, we are here to help you preplan and/or answer any questions you may have. You may have started reading this thinking, “Planning my own funeral sounds like something I’d like to avoid.” We hope this information has helped to change your mind and for you to take the next step.

Please feel free to connect with us at any time, whether to request a free, no obligation conversation, to request more information by mail, or simply to ask any questions you may have.

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