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Guest Blog: 

Pre-Planning Your Funeral

Written By: Jeff Klemmer, Owner & 4th Generation Funeral Director, Heritage Funeral Homes

Funeral Pre-Planning

Whenever I have the opportunity to discuss pre-planning a funeral, I am asked a lot of questions. Everything from “How soon does the funeral have to happen from when I pass?” to “Can my ashes be spread at Lambeau Field?”. Below I address the top 3 questions received from families during a funeral pre-planning meeting.

How much does a funeral cost?

This is the most frequent question I am asked about funerals and the answer is not easy. Funeral costs can vary quite a bit as every funeral is unique and there are many options to consider. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) on funeral home fees, the median cost for a funeral is $7,848 and the median cost for a funeral with cremation is $6,970. While this survey indicates the average funeral home costs, total funeral expenses may easily surpass $10,000 when including cemetery fees, flowers and luncheon costs.

What are some advantages to pre-planning a funeral?

1) Funeral pre-planning allows your family and friends more time to support each other, grieve and be together. It alleviates the stress placed on them of having to make so many funeral planning decisions.

2) Advanced planning can save money. By documenting what your decisions are in advance, your family is able to save money by avoiding unnecessary funeral selections. Additionally, if you elect to pre-fund your funeral during the planning process, many funeral homes will cost guarantee their products and services, which can save you thousands.

3) Pre-planning is a gift to your family. By letting them know what your wishes are, it takes the guesswork out of deciding what they think you may want. When a family experiences the loss of a loved one, it is a very emotional time. If your wishes are not known, family members may have different ideas from one another on what to do, leading to regret, anxiety and doubt with their choices. By creating peace of mind for your family, they are confident and able to focus on helping each other through an already emotional and stressful time in their lives.

What happens with my money if I decide to pre-fund my funeral?

In the state of Wisconsin, all monies that are used to pre-fund a funeral through a funeral home are held in a funeral trust in your name. This is done to protect you as a consumer. All monies in the trust and any growth earned stay in your name and are transferable. This means if you decide to move to a new area or if the funeral home you pre-arranged through were to go out of business, 100% of what you put towards the funeral and any accumulated growth can be transferred to another funeral home. I also encourage the funds held in the trust be made irrevocable. What this does is dedicate this money for the use of your funeral expenses. This is advantageous for many people as once it is mark irrevocable, the state cannot touch it if you were to go into a care facility like a nursing home or if you were to ever apply for state assistance programs. This allows you to have the funeral you planned without worrying about who is going to pay for it.

Heritage Funeral Home Logo

Heritage Funeral Homes is one of Southeastern Wisconsin’s premier funeral and cremation providers. A local, family owned and operated funeral home with 6 locations throughout the area, serving the community for over four generations. If you would like more information about funeral or cremation pre-planning or would like to attend one of our monthly pre-planning lunch-and-learns please call 414-321-7440 or visit our website: