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cremation preplanning

Oftentimes, when caring for the future of our loved ones we secure saving accounts, college funds, health and life insurance or retirement plans. But what often gets overlooked, is our own funeral arrangements. This may be a grim topic we choose not to think about as we focus on our busy, daily lives, but handling funeral arrangements is a heavy burden left on our loved ones. Cremation pre planning, is a way to lift that burden and take care of those arrangements ahead of time, even when we are well and healthy. 

Pre-arranging a cremation and funeral service, allows you to get to know your options and make your own decisions in a pressure free environment, so that your loved ones won’t have to do so later, during a dark period of grief and sorrow.

What is funeral and cremation preplanning?

Funeral and cremation pre planning is simply making decisions about your own funeral arrangements in advance. This can be done at any point in your life, preferably when you are not under stress due to an illness and can take your time with the decision making process. This can be as simple as making note of your preferences regarding cremation and burial site, or as detailed as organizing exactly how and where you’d like your entire ceremony to take place.

What should you know about cremation preplanning

If you’ve decided to preplan your funeral arrangements, here are a few things you should know and steps you need to take for your wishes to be respected and carried out post-passing.

Properly document your wishes

It’s important to understand that funeral and cremation pre planning is not the same thing as writing a will. A will discloses instructions regarding your estate, belongings or business establishment, while a living will states your wishes for your medical treatment. These two legal documents do not impact your actual funeral service.

Your wishes regarding your funeral arrangements should be written down on a separate document, discussed with your loved ones as well as an attorney. Things to consider and include in this document is how you wish your body to be disposed of and where do you wish your remains be stored. Your personal and religious beliefs may play a key role in the decisions you make and how you’d like your funeral service to be organized. If your beliefs vary from those of your loved ones, writing your personal wishes down clearly will help avoid difficult situations after your passing. 

Consider prepaying for arrangements

Prepaying for your arrangement takes the financial burden off of your surviving family members in the future. It also locks in the current prices which may rise once the time arrives for your arrangements to be fulfilled.

Funeral and cremation service prices will vary from place to place so it’s ok to shop around and choose a funeral home you feel confident in. This should be a professional establishment that will provide an itemized receipt for your loved ones to have a copy of.

If you have life insurance, you may think the money paid out to your family members after your passing will be sufficient to cover the funeral arrangements but this may not be the case. Insurance policies are subject to inflation and while the prices for services and products will rise, your policy coverage will not.  

A prearranged service may be Medicaid exempt

According to “Rules established under Medicaid enable recipients to earmark funds for their own funeral and burial. Under these rules, such funds are excluded from the accounting of assets recorded when determining eligibility for benefits. Medicaid recipients are permitted to set aside money in a separate account or prepay a funeral home.” 

In other words, prepaying for a funeral arrangement can actually aid in your qualification process to receive Medicaid. Though certain laws regarding how much money specifically can be set aside for a funeral arrangement, will vary depending on the state of your residence, this is another factor to consider when preplanning your funeral and cremation arrangements. 

In the state of Florida a Medicaid applicant, recipient or their spouse, may set aside up to $2,500 each for anticipated funeral costs or related burial expenses. These funds must be set aside in a separate bank account, labeled or verbally identified as for funeral or burial expenses. However, funeral arrangements can add up to be much more than $2,500. Fortunately, Medicaid applicants in the state of Florida may enter into a prepaid funeral or burial contract, for any amount, if you can provide an irrevocability addendum from a funeral director. In this scenario, no matter how much you end up prepaying for your funeral arrangement, it will not count as an asset.

Talk to an expert

Even when planning your arrangements well in advance, making these decisions and gathering the right information can still feel quite overwhelming. Talking to an expert in this field can prove to be a huge relief and guiding light so that you may pre plan your arrangements confidently with a peace of mind that your loved ones will not need to carry this burden in the future. As your Funeral director at Cremations of Greater Tampa Bay, TJ Cohen is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to promptly answer any questions you may have. 

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Florida law states “A cremation may not be performed until a legally authorized person gives written authorization for such cremation,” (FS 497.607).  Furthermore, the law defines whom the “legally authorized person” is and sets up the order of priority of next of kin. We require a written authorization before scheduling any cremation or funeral services. The “Authorization for Cremation and Disposition” form must be signed by the next of kin in the following order: spouse, son or daughter (of legal age), parent, brother or sister, grandchild, grandparent.

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