Make Sure Estate Planning and Funeral Planning Are Among Your New Year’s Resolutions

By: VGFS
Sunday, December 23, 2018

It’s once again the time to start thinking about those new year’s resolutions. While most resolutions tend to focus on self-improvement, we‘re suggesting a more practical idea that’s actually achievable, too.

This year, get your ducks in a row by including funeral planning and estate planning among your resolutions. Having an estate plan in place ensures that your assets are protected if you lose your mental capacity and are distributed according to your wishes after your death. Advance funeral planning allows you to design your funeral or memorial service just as you wish while easing the burden on your grieving family members.

If you don’t have a will or estate plan in place, you are like 60 percent of American adults. While planning for the end of your life may not be on your bucket list, it’s one of those things you know you should do. The basic elements of an estate plan include the following:

A will: A will or living trust outlines how you want your assets divided after your passing. If you leave no instructions for surviving family members as to how to divide your property they will have to make educated guesses to honor your wishes. Or worse,  the state may even make those decisions about your assets should be distributed.
Durable Power of Attorney: This document allows your designee, or agent, to take control of your financial and legal matters.
Healthcare Power of Attorney:  This document allows your designee, or agent, to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Living Will: This document includes specific instructions regarding what kind of medical care and treatment you want or do not want, if the medical determination has been made that there is no realistic hope of your significant recovery from your end-stage condition. If you don’t want to use life support devices or wish to donate your organs, this document would state those choices.

Being proactive about planning for the end of your life isn’t fun, but it ensures your wishes are made clear regarding your money, property and medical treatment. Contact a qualified estate planning attorney for assistance in creating these important documents. If you already have an estate plan in place, make it a point to review the documents and beneficiary designations to ensure they still reflect your wishes.

There are plenty of good reasons to funeral planning on your list of new year’s resolutions, too. Most people like to feel in control over decisions that affect their lives, and often that extends to their end-of-life choices. While no one can predict the time and circumstances of death, many take comfort in knowing they’ve selected the type of burial, location and funeral they want.

Pre-planning lessens the likelihood of family conflict. Have you ever planned a family party or reunion? If you have, then you know that know that suggestions and differing opinions abound. Factor in the intense emotions surrounding a loved one’s passing, along with personality clashes among multiple family members, and you’re looking at the recipe for some serious family squabbles. While you can’t guarantee your family members will abide by your choices, advance funeral planning documents and checklists outline your funeral wishes and provide a helpful guideline.

Reducing the stress for your loved ones is a wonderful, thoughtful gift.  Making funeral arrangements is a massive undertaking for grieving family members who are physically and emotionally exhausted. If some or all of the funeral service planning has been done in advance, the burden of making rapid, costly choices at a difficult time is eased.

You can find plenty of helpful information about funeral preplanning on our website. If you have additional questions or want to learn more, please reach out to us anytime. Our knowledgeable, compassionate funeral directors are always happy to assist you.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved one. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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