You will have many discussions in your lifetime. There’s a good chance, however, that one type of discussion that has never come up is dealing with the death of a loved one before that loved one has actually passed. It’s an uncomfortable event to think about and the thought of talking to your loved one about their wishes when it comes to getting older and dying can be quite unnerving. Not only is it awkward for you, but it can be just as awkward for your loved one. Talking with them about their end of life wishes and what they would like after their death is an essential discussion, one that can help to avoid a lot of unnecessary confusion, arguments, and financial complications. As part of your discussion, final expense insurance should be included.
Covering Funeral and Burial Costs
Final expense insurance, or state final expense insurance, is a type of insurance that is there to cover the costs of a funeral and burial or cremation of a person after they have died. You might be wondering why not just take out a state life insurance policy? Life insurance policies are little different. These policies are made for people who have more financial obligations, such as a mortgage and providing for dependent children. Not only does it provide for these needs, it also provides money to help cover the costs of a funeral following the policyholder’s unexpected death. Also sometimes called state burial insurance, final expense insurance is designed for those who don’t have those same obligations, particularly seniors. It covers only the costs of a funeral and burial or cremation. A state senior life insurance policy may be taken out, but life insurance policies generally cost more than what most seniors want to pay or can afford. Final expense insurance is a much more affordable option.
Pennsylvania Death and Burial Facts
There are close to 1,800 funeral homes in the state of Pennsylvania and approximately 1,000 cemeteries, as well as 500 crematories. 70% of funerals in the state are burials. In more rural areas, people are still opting to use family plots.
The cost of a funeral in Pennsylvania is close to the lower end of the national average. Where the national average ranges from $7,000 to $10,000, funeral costs in Pennsylvania average $6,206. Medical costs associated with death, however, are upwards of almost $12,000.
In the state of Pennsylvania, anyone can obtain a death certificate if the death has occurred at least 50 years ago. For more recent deaths, the only way to obtain a copy of the death certificate include being an immediate family member, an extended family member who can show direct relationship, or a legal representative.
Pennsylvania does have some rules when it comes to embalming. The body must be embalmed and placed in a sealed casket, or refrigerated, if the body is not disposed within 24 hours after death. If you are choosing to have the body cremated, there is a mandatory 24 hour waiting period. There are no regulations regarding the scattering of ashes. Pennsylvania has some beautiful landmarks and also has 120 state parks. Ashes can be scattered in these parks, but Bureau permission is required.
Be Prepared for Death
There are plenty of things you don’t mind, or even enjoy, planning for. Who doesn’t love planning a vacation or other fun activities? Death is one of those things that most people don’t exactly want to plan for, which often leads to it getting put off. Unfortunately, putting off planning for death can actually be quite harmful. Unprepared, you and other family members might find yourselves scrambling to find documents, get things in order, and pay for the funeral. This can lead to confusion, arguments, and more heartache. Planning properly helps to avoid these issues.
Start early, while your loved one is still able to make their own decisions. It will probably be a little awkward to have these discussions at first, but there’s a good chance your loved one feels just as strange. The good thing is that by starting early, you don’t have to go through everything in one sitting. You can spread the discussion out over multiple visits. The good thing is that talking about, and planning for death will get easier over time.
There are a few key things that should be discussed. First, find out what your loved one wants as far as long-term care. Do they want to stay at home or would they prefer to downsize and move to an assisted living facility? Can you or one of your other family members take them in when they can’t live alone anymore? Make sure that all of their financial and legal documents, including their will, are updated, organized, and stored in a safe, secure place. Your loved one should also designate a power of attorney to make decisions on their behalf.
You should also take the time to discuss what your loved one wants after death. Do they want to be buried or cremated? Is there a particular funeral home or other place where they want their services held? Going over these items can be helpful in determining an estimated cost, so you won’t be blindsided after their death. This will also provide you with the perfect opportunity to discuss the importance of final expense insurance and the benefits (as well as peace of mind) it can bring your loved one and surviving family members.
Compare Multiple Insurance Quotes
When shopping for final expense insurance, you don’t have to settle on the first quote you come across. There are actually several different insurance companies that provide this type of coverage. Take the time to do some research and get several quotes. After getting your quotes, take the time to go over what each company offers and what you are getting for the premiums they charge. With thorough research, you will be able to help your loved one get the best policy for the most affordable price.
Losing a loved one is an emotionally devastating time. Don’t let it become more difficult by trying to locate documents you’re not sure even exist, dealing with any final affairs that may have been left unaddressed, and trying to plan, and pay, for a funeral. Taking the time to talk with your loved one about their wishes and discussing the benefits of final expense insurance can help to provide everyone with peace of mind and help to avoid unnecessary stress as well as potential financial distress.