Your estate planning focus is likely on how you want your estate distributed after your death and/or on how to ensure that loved ones are provided for in your absence. While these are certainly necessary and common priorities in an estate plan, a comprehensive estate plan will include additional considerations as well. Funeral planning may not be something you wish to spend much time thinking about; however, there are several reasons why it should be included in your estate plan. Toward that end, the Grand Forks trust attorneys at German Law explain how your estate plan might benefit from the inclusion of a funeral trust.
Your Funeral and Burial Will Likely Be Expensive
Experts in the industry tell us that an average (modest) funeral and burial will run over $10,000. If you choose to purchase a more expensive casket or headstone, and/or the service memorializing your death is larger and/or more elaborate than average, that cost can easily double or triple. Because you will obviously not be available to assist at the time, your loved ones will be responsible for figuring out how to pay for everything involved in your funeral and burial if you failed to plan. They won’t have much time to figure it out either. Making matter worse is the reality that the salesperson working with your loved ones knows the stress they under and the grief they are dealing with – and may use that to his/her advantage. Unfortunately, many grieving survivors end up paying way more than they should for funeral and burial services simply because they weren’t thinking clearly when they signed the contract or negotiate the purchase.
How Can Funeral Planning Help?
Do you have strong opinions about what happens to you after your death and/or about how your passing is honored? For example, do you want to be cremated or buried? Do you want a small service or a large one? Should there be music and videos of your life or a somber tribute? Who should speak at the service? Is there a special poem or message you want read? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, funeral planning should be part of your estate plan.
Regardless of how frequently and thoroughly you have discussed your feelings on issues related to your own funeral and burial, there is a very good chance that things will not be handled according to your wishes absent a funeral planning component in your estate plan. The death of a spouse, parent, or other close loved one makes thinking clearly difficult, increasing the likelihood that your loved ones will not remember and/or act on your wishes.
How Can a Funeral Trust Help?
An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is a special type of trust that is funded by the proceeds of a life insurance policy. As the Trustor, you create the trust and appoint a Trustee to administer the trust. You then purchase, or transfer in, a life insurance policy, the proceeds of which pay out immediately into the trust upon your death. Those proceeds then fund your funeral service. Along with providing the funding, however, you can also use the trust terms to ensure that your burial and funeral are carried out according to your wishes. For instance, you can use the terms to specify where you want to be buried or that you want to be cremated. You can be extremely detailed — providing a list of music, dictating the guest list, and choosing the flowers – or keep it general. Your Trustee will be legally obligated to abide by those terms once the trust activates. By including an ILIT in your funeral and burial plan you ensure that your wishes will be honored while simultaneously preventing family conflict by removing the need for loved ones to make decisions and struggle to locate funds.
Contact Grand Forks Trust Attorneys
Please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have additional questions or concerns about funeral planning or creating a funeral trust, contact the Grand Forks trust attorneys at German Law by calling 701-738-0060 to schedule an appointment.